The plan to open The Drew Las Vegas as the newest casino resort in southern Nevada has reportedly taken another blow following news that its owner has sold the under-construction property owing to a coronavirus-related downturn in its finances.
According to a Thursday report from the Las Vegas Review-Journal newspaper, Witkoff Group LLC spent approximately $600 million some 43 months ago in order to buy the half-finished Las Vegas Strip development that was to be known as The Fontainebleau. The New York City-headquartered firm purportedly had plans to finish construction so as to premiere its new-look The Drew Las Vegas complete with a 3,780-room hotel and a 95,000 sq ft casino by the end of 2020.
However, the newspaper reported that this timeline was later scuppered as the coronavirus pandemic devasted Las Vegas’ main economic driver, tourism, and left the firm looking around for someone to take the 24.5-acre site off of its hands. Headed by American real estate mogul Steve Witkoff, the developer was purportedly known to have secured roughly $2 billion in outside financing from the likes of a subsidiary of Hyundai Motor Group and South Korean casino operator Kangwon Land Incorporated to help it complete the grandiose undertaking.
Nevertheless, the Las Vegas Review-Journal reported that Witkoff Group LLC has now offloaded the planned $2.5 billion project for an undisclosed amount to a consortium consisting of the real estate unit of American multinational Koch Industries Incorporated and Florida entrepreneur Jeffrey Soffer (pictured). This latter individual is purportedly in charge of Miami-based Fontainebleau Development, which had begun the ill-fated The Fontainebleau project way back in 2005.
Jake Francis serves as President for Koch Real Estate Investments and he reportedly disclosed that his firm will now hold a 75% stake in the long-stalled Las Vegas project but declined to give details as to what the future may hold for the 63-story property.
Reportedly read a statement from Francis…
“We believe strongly in the Las Vegas market and see the property as a great opportunity to contribute to the long-term success and positive trajectory of this vibrant and innovative region.”
For his part and Brett Mufson, President for Fontainebleau Development, reportedly told the Bloomberg news service that his firm had originally hoped that the $2.8 billion The Fontainebleau would serve as a sister venue to its luxury Fontainebleau Miami Beach property. Nonetheless, he too purportedly declined to comment on what the new owners now intend to do with the blue-tinted skyscraper or whether they will stick to the original plan of using the site to host a world-class casino resort.
Mufson reportedly told Bloomberg…
“We’re currently evaluating all of our options and looking forward to being part of the advancement of the world-class Las Vegas entertainment industry.”