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The Grueling Truth - Where Legends Speak / Fontainebleau Las Vegas casino construction finally gets underway with $2.2 billion funding

Fontainebleau Las Vegas casino construction finally gets underway with $2.2 billion funding

Publish Date: 12/24/2022
Fact checked by: Mike Goodpaster

Fontainebleau Las Vegas’ chances of being finished have greatly improved since the developer secured financing to complete the multibillion-dollar project.

A 67-story blue tower that was first envisioned in 2005 remains unfinished 17 years later. There have been several changes in ownership since 2005.

Carl Icahn acquired the bankrupt project in 2010 for $151 million, making him the longest-running owner. It was not Icahn’s intention to finish Fontainebleau, rather he held on to it until he could find a buyer who would pay considerably more for it than he did.

Icahn returned to his investment in 2017 when he sold the unfinished resort for $600 million to Steve Witkoff and the Witkoff Group. A memorial to his son Drew Witkoff, who died of an Oxycodone overdose in 2011, Witkoff intended to finish the casino and open it as The Drew.

Witkoff blamed COVID-19 for ultimately ending his Las Vegas Strip dreams. He sold the property to Jeff Soffer’s Fontainebleau Development and Koch Real Estate Investments (KREI) in early 2021.

Fontainebleau Financing Secured

Soffer was a member of the original development team for Fontainebleau Las Vegas. One of the first integrated resorts in the US is owned by Soffer’s family, the Fontainebleau Miami Beach. It was opened in 1954.

As part of the Fontainebleau brand expansion, Soffer sought to bring the brand to Las Vegas. Despite completing about 75% of the sprawling resort, Soffer’s Las Vegas development arm filed for bankruptcy in June 2009.

Unlike last time, Koch Real Estate has backed Soffer this time. As a subsidiary of Koch Industries, a privately owned multinational conglomerate based in Wichita, KREI had little difficulty securing the roughly $2.2 billion required for Fontainebleau Las Vegas to be completed.

Fontainebleau Development and KREI announced today that they have secured a $2.2 billion financing deal through a financing group. Goldman Sachs, Guggenheim Partners, JP Morgan, SMBC Bank, and VICI Properties will be the casino’s final financiers. Caesars Entertainment owns VICI, a real estate investment trust.

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