The Fontainebleau Gets New Life as The Drew

The resort on the north end of the Strip plans to open (finally) in late 2020

 Susan Stapleton

The new owners of the Fontainebleau made their plans about the fate of the second tallest building in Nevada official today. New York-based global real estate firm Witkoff plans to open the 68-floor resort as The Drew with nearly 4,000 rooms and suites managed by Marriott International, 500,000 square feet of convention and meeting space, and entertainment, nightlife, retail, and dining in late 2020.

John Unwin, the former CEO of the Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas, heads up the project with his Two Blackbirds Hospitality.

The resort sits near the Circus Circus and SLS Las Vegas on the north end of the Strip. Construction halted on the $2.9 billion resort in 2009, leaving the hulking blue eyesore 70 percent complete. Carl Icahn and his firm, Icahn NV Gaming Acquisition LLC, spent $150 million to buy the property out of bankruptcy in 2010, and Witkoff and Miami-based investment firm New Valley LLC purchased the property for $600 million in August.

Originally, the Fontainebleau planned to open in 2009 with restaurants from Alfred Portale, who was going to open Gotham, Scott Conant and his Italian restaurant Scarpetta, and Jose Garces from Philadelphia with Amada. Scarpetta headed to the Cosmopolitan instead, and Conant is no longer managing that restaurant. Instead he’ll open Masso Osteria this week at Red Rock Resort. Even Hakkasan originally planned to open at Fontainebleu, instead heading to the MGM Grand with a five-level, 75,000-square-foot restaurant and hotel.

While The Drew didn’t announce restaurant plans, the original footprint called for nightclubs and 24 restaurants and lounges.