Fontainebleau Resort Las Vegas
|Fontainebleau Resort Las Vegas|
|Address||2755 Las Vegas Boulevard South|
|Number of rooms||3,889|
|Total gaming space||100,000 sq ft (9,300 m2)|
|Architect||Carlos Zapata Studio
Bergman Walls Associates
Fontainebleau Las Vegas is a US$2.9 billion, 3,889-room, 68-story unfinished resort and casino development near the north end of the Las Vegas Strip on the 24.5-acre (9.9 ha) site previously occupied by the El Rancho Casino in Winchester, Nevada. It was intended to be a sister property to the well-known 1950s-era Fontainebleau Miami Beach. The building is currently the second tallest in the Las Vegas Valley.
The project, upon completion was expected to include: a 95,000 sq ft (8,800 m2) casino, a 60,000 sq ft (5,600 m2) spa, 3,300-seat performing arts theater, 1,018 condo-hotel units, 180,000 sq ft (17,000 m2) of retail space, 400,000 sq ft (37,000 m2) of indoor and outdoor conference space, nightclubs, and 24 restaurants and lounges.
The building was designed by Carlos Zapata Studio with Bergman Walls Associates as the architect of record.
The Fontainebleau was announced on May 12, 2005, as a casino and 4,000-room hotel, planned to be opened by 2008. The project would be a sister property to the Fontainebleau Miami Beach. Groundbreaking was officially announced to have begun on April 30, 2007. The tower was topped out in November 2008.
Fontainebleau Resorts CEO Glenn Schaeffer, the former chief financial officer of Mandalay Resort Group, which generated record profits before it was sold to MGM Mirage in 2005, left Fontainebleau Resorts without comment in May 2009. Schaeffer was primarily responsible for securing more than US$3 billion in loans for the project.
Also, Bank of America, in its capacity as agent for a syndicate of term lenders, refused to disburse additional funds for construction around this time; as a result, the resort's operator, Fontainebleau Las Vegas LLC, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in June 2009. Litigation against Bank of America ensued, alleging that it had wrongfully withheld such funds, but the case was resolved in favor of Bank of America in 2012.
In a move seen as an attempt to force creditors to supply funding, Fontainebleau's owner sued himself in the form of the general contractor suing the hotel ownership company - both controlled by the same individual, Turnberry Associates CEO Jeffrey Soffer. Construction work has stopped on the project, which is about 70 percent complete; the grand opening had been scheduled for October 2009. In July 2009, the resort sought permission in bankruptcy court to cancel events that were scheduled for the first half of 2010, as well as permission to cancel a lease for office space which was to be used for Fontainebleau's employee recruitment center.
In October 2009, Penn National Gaming was considering purchasing the partially completed resort and the 24.5 acres (9.9 ha) of land for US$300 million. At that rate the land was being sold for US$12.25 million per acre. Two years earlier land was going for over US$30 million per acre on the Strip. Over US$2 billion has already been invested in the topped-out building on the site. Penn National has been looking for an opportunity to enter the Las Vegas gaming market.
Carl Icahn purchase
However, in bankruptcy court in Miami, Florida on November 23, 2009, corporate raider and financier Carl Icahn who until 2008 controlled major casino/resort operator American Casino & Entertainment Properties offered US$156 million in cash and financing, outbidding Penn National Gaming for control of the Fontainebleau. Icahn's bid includes a US$51 million debtor-in-possession loan, which, until the resort is auctioned, will provide funding to stabilize the building, cover employees' salaries, cover previous costs and eliminate the need for the resort to ask the bankruptcy court each week to borrow and spend money. Penn National dropped out of the bidding after going as high as US$145 million; they had offered US$101.5 million in cash and loans.
As of November 2009, the cost to complete the resort is an estimated US$1 to 1.5 billion.
On February 18, 2010, Carl Icahn assumed part-ownership of the project without an auction by being the only qualified bidder, paying US$150 million.
In October 2010, Icahn auctioned off the furnishings previously intended for the building. For example, the Plaza Hotel & Casino in Downtown Las Vegas bought rugs, furniture and mattresses from the sale and used them in a refurbishment that was completed in late 2011. 
In November 2015, Icahn listed the hotel for sale at an asking price of $650 million. The hotel is listed through the CBRE Group. According to CBRE Group, "It will cost about $1.2 billion to finish Fontainebleau. Combined with a purchase price of $650 million, it would take less than $2 billion for a buyer to enter or expand on the Strip market. That's about $500,000 per room, just half of the $1 million or more per room to build new." CBRE Group expects great interest in the property.
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- online Dominion supplementary material "An Introduction to Vega: The Citizens Handbook"