Drew Las Vegas developer plans to close $2 billion loan soon

Drew Las Vegas owner Steve Witkoff expects to close a construction loan of about $2 billion within the next month and trigger a boom in construction activity thereafter.

Witkoff, who bought the partially constructed tower in 2017, told the Las Vegas Review-Journal on Thursday that he plans to secure the construction loan for the North Strip hotel-casino project, formerly the Fontainebleau, near the end. February or early March.

The unfinished skyscraper is one of the tallest buildings in Las Vegas and still appears calm to passers-by. However, Witkoff said the interior is a “hive of activity” with hundreds of workers, and he thinks people will “see a much larger construction presence” on the property from June, with perhaps be 2,000 workers there.

Opening November 2022

It plans to complete the 67-story complex by November 2022.

Witkoff, founder of his eponymous development company, spoke to the Review-Journal outside the Nevada Gaming Commission hearing room in Las Vegas after the regulatory committee cleared the way for him to obtain a gaming license. casino by issuing a preliminary finding of suitability.

His project, named after his son, Andrew, who died of an OxyContin overdose in 2011 at the age of 22, opens a new chapter for Las Vegas’ towering monument to the recession.

The blue-hued resort has remained unfinished since the original developer pushed it into bankruptcy more than a decade ago, constantly reminding of Southern Nevada’s wild housing boom and devastating crash.

Witkoff told the Gambling Commission that since the financial crisis he had not seen a property in a major market that could be rehabilitated, but had not been except for this one. He attributed this in part to the complexity of the project – it was about 70% complete when it went bankrupt – and “all sorts of rumours” circulating around the tower.

“Unpleasant Rumors”

He told the Review-Journal last year that he had heard “150 unpleasant rumours” about the Fontainebleau before buying it, including that it was falling and plumbers were pouring concrete down the pipes. In truth, he said at the time, the building was in “exceptional condition”.

He also said it would have cost significantly more to develop the project from scratch than to complete the partially built structure and that Las Vegas has “one of the healthiest hotel markets” in the country, with little news. offers since the recession.

At the time, he said Drew’s total price tag was $3.1 billion.

“We think this is the best deal we’ve seen in the last six years,” Witkoff told the Gambling Commission on Thursday.

Fontainebleau’s first developers started in 2007 and are due to finish in 2009. But the real estate bubble burst, sinking the economy, and the project went bankrupt in 2009 after a group of lenders reportedly backed out of funding commitments .

Billionaire Carl Icahn bought the mothballed project in 2010 for around $150 million. After leaving it largely untouched, he sold the Fontainebleau for $600 million to Witkoff and Miami real estate company New Valley, a subsidiary of cigarette maker the Vector Group.

Witkoff unveiled the tower’s new name in 2018 and announced in November that longtime Las Vegas casino executive Bobby Baldwin had been hired as the Drew’s CEO.

Contact Eli Segall at [email protected]urnal.com or 702-383-0342. To follow @eli_segall on Twitter.

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