Category Archives: Las Vegas Hotels

Fontainebleau Will Be The Drew Las Vegas, Strip’s First JW Marriott

The abandoned Fontainebleau project has been given another shot at success, this time with the name The Drew Las Vegas.

Yes, The Drew.

We had the same reaction, but it will presumably have a casino, so we’ll cut them some slack.

Fontainebleau wrap

Fontainebleau will now be named after the past tense of “draw.”

Developers say The Drew will open in 2020, a partnership between real estate firm Witkoff and Marriott International.

Construction was halted on Fontainebleau in 2009 due to the economic downturn, and because Las Vegas occasionally needs failures to make its successes all the more impressive. The building was about 70% complete when work stopped, and Fontainebleau has been a running gag ever since.

Fontainebleau

No, really, this is the last time we’ll share this.

As we were the first to report, Fontainebleau was sold in August 2017 for $600 million to Witkoff and another real estate firm, New Valley.

The resort is located across from Circus Circus, next to the former Riviera casino, currently a parking lot.

Riviera demolition

Yep, that former Riviera. The Drew Las Vegas will be at left.

On a somber note, The Drew Las Vegas appears to be named after Andrew Witkoff, the son of real estate mogul Steven Witkoff. Andrew “Drew” Witkoff died of an OxyContin overdose in 2011. Read more. Bit of a buzzkill there, not going to lie.

Moving on.

The Drew Las Vegas will have 4,000 rooms and 500,000 square feet of convention and meeting space.

Plans for The Drew also include entertainment, nightlife, retail and dining venues, including an aspirational 20 restaurant options.

The Drew will mark the debut of Marriott’s high-end “Edition” brand in Las Vegas, whatever that might be.

Marriott’s massive customer database, estimated at about 100 million members, is likely to be key to the resort’s success.

Fontainebleau wrap

The Drew will be the tallest building in Las Vegas, excluding the Stratosphere.

Also involved in The Drew project will be John Unwin, who previously helped open the Cosmopolitan.¬†Interestingly, Cosmopolitan is currently part of Marriott’s Autograph Collection. We also don’t know what that means.

The Drew Las Vegas joins a number of major projects happening on the north end of the Las Vegas Strip, including Resorts World, All Net Resort and Arena, Wynn Paradise Park, the Sphere from Las Vegas Sands Corp., an expansion of the Las Vegas Convention Center and others.

We’re excited to see The Drew Las Vegas become a thing! Having a powerhouse like Marriott onboard certainly doesn’t hurt its chances.

Uninspired names we can get used to, hulking eyesores, not so much.

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Wynn Resorts Confirms It Will Build New Hotel on Alon Site

In a corporate earnings call, Wynn Resorts confirmed our story of Dec. 2017 that the company will build a new hotel on the former Alon site.

We love when that happens, especially when “experts” said Wynn planned to “warehouse” the land. Suck it, experts.

Wynn Resorts purchased the abandoned Alon site (before that it was the site of the New Frontier) for $336 million.

The tentative name for the new Wynn project is Wynn West.

Wynn Encore

They should invent a Las Vegas version of the sunglasses in “They Live.” Yes, we drink a lot.

Wynn West will have 2,000 to 3,000 rooms, and will be connected to Wynn and Encore by means of an “umbilical hallway,” whatever that might actually be.

Actually, dibs on Umbilical Hallway as a band name.

During the earnings call, Steve Wynn said the new project will move relatively quickly, as analysis and design have been happening for some time, and renderings for Wynn West will be shared in the coming months.

Wynn West will be just one element of Steve Wynn’s big picture plans for the north end of the Las Vegas Strip. Check out our list of what’s going on in the neighborhood.

Other projects include Wynn Paradise Park, an attraction already under construction on the former Wynn Golf Club land.

Wynn Golf Club

Later, Wynn Golf Club.

Wynn Paradise Park will feature a mile-long lagoon and will take up 26 acres. By comparison, the fountain attraction at Bellagio is eight acres.

Yes, there will be ziplines.

Steve Wynn SlotZilla

Easily one of our most surreal Las Vegas moments of all time: Steve Wynn flying on the SlotZilla zipline.

Steve Wynn is a fascinating dude, and you, a mere mortal, can listen to him speak enthusiastically about all things Wynn while saying things like, “God lives in the details.” He also says “Nevada” and “Alon” wrong. Go here.

Feel free to ignore all the Macau talk, although the success of Wynn Resorts in China is a key reason the company can afford these projects in Las Vegas.

Here’s a fun read about Why Wynn Wins.

Wynn Resorts always seems to deliver the goods, so we’re excited to see what the company has in store for Las Vegas.

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Lucky Dragon Closure Shakes Loose SLS Las Vegas Sale

As we’ve reported on the Twitters, the sale of SLS Las Vegas to its announced buyer, Alex Meruelo and his Meruelo Group, recently seemed very much stalled.

Now, all that’s changed.

A source with knowledge of the SLS sale says news of the closure of Lucky Dragon’s casino and restaurants caused an immediate change of course in the negotiations, with the seller (Stockbridge Capital Partners) suddenly highly motivated to meet Meruelo’s demands and seal the deal.

It’s expected Meruelo Group will take over SLS Las Vegas in late Feb. 2018.

SLS 3-D legs

Let’s hope Meruelo Group got this awesome video display as part of the deal.

It seems Alex Meruelo is a non-nonsense negotiator, and once he and his team got into the specifics of the physical condition of SLS and its finances, they pushed for more favorable terms for the sale.

Initially, Stockbridge dug in, and Meruelo’s team pulled the plug on scheduled meetings, bringing the negotiations to a screeching halt.

Out of the sad news Lucky Dragon would close its casino came a renewed interest in pushing forward with the sale. Essentially, Stockbridge caved. (Don’t expect to see the word “caved” in the news release.)

While no sale price has been floated, we suspect Alex Meruelo got a solid value, and he’ll have ample resources to give the resort (formerly the Sahara) an overhaul, including a rebrand.

SLS Las Vegas

Curious what these SLS monkey vests will go for on eBay.

We trust the deal will include a happy ending for 60 Chinese investors who recently filed a lawsuit because SLS Las Vegas has never made a profit. (The casino has consistently made about 50% of original estimates. Translation: Welcome to the Big Hurt.)

At the time of the lawsuit, Stockbridge said it didn’t think the lawsuit would deter the sale, and they were apparently correct.

SLS chandelier

If there’s a garage sale, dibs on this SLS chandelier made from the Sahara’s door handles.

According to insiders, the ownership transition is likely to involve another personnel “purge.”

Another fascinating element of this sale is how it plays into the boom taking place on the north end of The Strip, a burst of activity that includes the start of construction of Wynn Paradise Park, actual progress at Resorts World, the sale of Fontainebleau and the Alon site, an approved Las Vegas Convention Center expansion and another development about to get a boost.

We hear project next door to SLS, All Net Resort and Arena, is going to get a surprising new (wait for it) cheerleader: Alex Meruelo.

All Net Arena

All Net Arena’s ample supply of nothing could turn out to be a good deal of something.

Meruelo is expected to be a vocal proponent of All Net Resort and Arena, as it could become a draw along the lines of T-Mobile Arena, including the potential of housing (wait for it) an NBA team.

The tide is rising on the north Strip, and nobody wants to be the guy in a dingy. Or something.

Here’s us talking about all this on KLAS, because you can never have too much us.

While we feel for the employees of Lucky Dragon (they were informed of their termination when they showed up for work on the morning of Jan. 4, 2018), the demise of the Asian-themed casino has sparked intriguing new possibilities in a success-challenged neighborhood.

Expect more news about the sale of SLS Las Vegas through official (yawn) channels soon.

Update (1/7/17): On the heels of our story, Meruelo Group is now featuring SLS Las Vegas on its Web site.

Meruelo Group SLS

Boom.

More to come!

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Lucky Dragon Abruptly Closes Casino and Restaurants

The struggling Lucky Dragon resort has closed its casino and restaurants.

We were the first to report Lucky Dragon was recently put up for sale, and while the resort’s hotel continues to take reservations, entrances to the casino have “Casino Temporarily Closed” signs.

Lucky Dragon closed

“Temporarily” sounds a little optimistic at this point.

Lucky Dragon’s casino and restaurants closed on Jan. 4, 2018.

Lucky Dragon has had a tumultuous history, including ongoing questions about whether the Asian-themed, boutique resort would be financed or completed.

Lucky Dragon

Even a massive dragon couldn’t change Lucky Dragon’s fortune.

Lucky Dragon officially¬†opened Dec. 3, 2016, thanks in great part to EB-5 financing. With EB-5 financing, investors (typically from Asia) contribute funds to projects and get green cards in return. In the case of Lucky Dragon, those investors will henceforth be referred to as “the monumentally screwed.”

Here’s a statement from Lucky Dragon.

Lucky Dragon closed

Every time a Las Vegas casino closes, an showgirl loses her tassels.

Optimism for the win!

Despite a strong opening, Lucky Dragon failed to attract its intended customers (including snagging local Asian customers who frequent casinos like Gold Coast and Palace Station), and has made a number of changes to its restaurant offerings.

Lucky Dragon

Normally, this would provide some consolition, but not so much.

Lucky Dragon’s challenging location, on Sahara, just off The Strip, near the Bonanza Gift Shop and SLS Las Vegas, made the resort an long shot, but sometimes in Vegas those pay off.

A Lucky Dragon insider says wild swings in baccarat were major factor in the closure of the casino. Whales (however few) would win big, then leave for bigger resorts on The Strip with more amenities. Casinos obviously rely on guests staying on-site for a chance to win some back.

Lucky Dragon

Remember, Las Vegas was built on miracles. We hope that’s what the future holds for Lucky Dragon.

We were rooting for Lucky Dragon, but haven’t visited in some time, despite the great rooms (we were quoted a rate of $45 for early February), welcoming casino and top-notch (although limited) cuisine.

We’ve heard Lucky Dragon would need at least $90 million from a buyer to cover its first and second (EB-5) tier investors.

It’s unknown what’s next for Lucky Dragon, but here’s hoping employees find other options as the resort tries to change its luck.

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Wynn Resorts Confirms Purchase of Alon Site

Wynn Resorts has officially confirmed it will buy the former Alon project site, and it’s a pretty big deal.

Wynn Resorts said the purchase, which includes the acquisition of 38 acres of prime real estate on the Las Vegas Strip, cost $336 million.

Fun fact: El Ad Properties paid $1.2 billion (yes, with a “b”) for the land in 2007 from bajillionaire Phil Ruffin, owner of Treasure Island.

The asking price for the Alon site was $400 million.

Alon Las Vegas

It’s not much to look at, but wait and see what Steve Wynn has in store.

We’d like to set aside this sentence for some self-panegyrizing, as we were the first to report Wynn’s purchase of the Alon site back on Dec. 6, 2017. And, no, we were not aware “panegyrizing” was a word until 12 seconds ago.

A release issue by Wynn Resorts contained a number of tasty nuggets: “The agreement completes a unique assembly of contiguous real estate of approximately 280 acres that spans from the Las Vegas Convention Center on Paradise Road from the east, to Industrial Road on the west. The combined frontage on the Las Vegas Strip is over 3,500 feet, including rights to approximately 1,000 acre feet of water. It is adjacent to nearly six million square feet of convention and exhibition space. The average cost of the full assembly of 280 acres is less than $3 million per acre.”

The most intriguing part of the news release, of course, alluded to future plans for the Alon site (before that abandoned project, it was the site of the New Frontier casino).

Wynn funny chip

The Wynn empire just expanded. Again.

The release boldly states: “The future development of the land will further change tourist visitation patterns in Las Vegas drawing more visitors to the north end of Las Vegas Blvd. and its collection of luxury resorts, including the existing Wynn Las Vegas and the Paradise Park development slated to begin construction in January 2018 on the site of the former Wynn Golf Course.”

That Steve Wynn is quite a tease.

The Wynn Resorts purchase isn’t completely straightforward. Wynn is buying 18.4 acres from its previous owner, Crown. It’s renting another 16.2 acres from the Elardi family (they were leasing it to Crown). A small piece of the Alon land is being sold by Phil Ruffin, owner of TI.

The purchase of the Alon site is yet another sign the north end of The Strip is experiencing a boom. Check out everything new along that stretch of the world’s sexiest boulevard.

We’re talking about Las Vegas Boulevard. Please try and keep up.

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Resorts World Project Shows Long-Awaited Progress

It’s time to check in on the long-awaited Resorts World project.

Watching the construction activity at Resorts World is akin to watching paint dry, but lately, there’s quite a bit more paint. Or something.

Resorts World

The sloth is Resorts World’s spirit animal.

We got a little excited when we spotted a couple of cranes on the site, but now there are several, so we’re optimistic there’s some momentum building.

Resorts World

And not just cranes. Other stuff, like crane parts.

During our recent visit to the Resorts World site, we spotted actual construction dudes doing construction things.

We saw perhaps a dozen construction workers. A resort this size would typically employ hundreds of workers, so things are still moving at a modest pace.

The president of Resorts World Las Vegas has said 1,000 construction workers will be on the site “by 2018.”

Resorts World

You go, construction dudes. Yes, they’re dudes. We can’t solve all of society’s injustices. We are just a blog.

Resorts World sits on the site of the abandoned Echelon project, which was supposed to take the place of our beloved Stardust.

Resorts World

Much of the work that’s been done at Resorts World has been behind-the-scenes, and that’s the story they’re sticking to.

Resorts World will be an Asian-themed resort, and while the anticipated opening date has been a moving target so far, executives say the hotel-casino will open in 2020.

Update (12/16/17): Look at all the cranes!

Resorts World cranes

It appears Resorts World is officially, undeniably a thing.

Let’s look around the Resorts World site.

Resorts World Update: Legit Cranes

[img src=https://vitalvegas.com/wp-content/flagallery/resorts-world-update-legit-cranes/thumbs/thumbs_resorts_world_112817_1.jpg]1050
[img src=https://vitalvegas.com/wp-content/flagallery/resorts-world-update-legit-cranes/thumbs/thumbs_resorts_world_112817_2.jpg]1000
[img src=https://vitalvegas.com/wp-content/flagallery/resorts-world-update-legit-cranes/thumbs/thumbs_resorts_world_112817_3.jpg]950
[img src=https://vitalvegas.com/wp-content/flagallery/resorts-world-update-legit-cranes/thumbs/thumbs_resorts_world_112817_4.jpg]870
[img src=https://vitalvegas.com/wp-content/flagallery/resorts-world-update-legit-cranes/thumbs/thumbs_resorts_world_112817_5.jpg]830
[img src=https://vitalvegas.com/wp-content/flagallery/resorts-world-update-legit-cranes/thumbs/thumbs_resorts_world_112817_6.jpg]830
[img src=https://vitalvegas.com/wp-content/flagallery/resorts-world-update-legit-cranes/thumbs/thumbs_resorts_world_112817_7.jpg]760
[img src=https://vitalvegas.com/wp-content/flagallery/resorts-world-update-legit-cranes/thumbs/thumbs_resorts_world_112817_8.jpg]740
[img src=https://vitalvegas.com/wp-content/flagallery/resorts-world-update-legit-cranes/thumbs/thumbs_resorts_world_112817_9.jpg]700
[img src=https://vitalvegas.com/wp-content/flagallery/resorts-world-update-legit-cranes/thumbs/thumbs_resorts_world_112817_10.jpg]660
[img src=https://vitalvegas.com/wp-content/flagallery/resorts-world-update-legit-cranes/thumbs/thumbs_resorts_world_112817_11.jpg]630
[img src=https://vitalvegas.com/wp-content/flagallery/resorts-world-update-legit-cranes/thumbs/thumbs_resorts_world_112817_12.jpg]770
[img src=https://vitalvegas.com/wp-content/flagallery/resorts-world-update-legit-cranes/thumbs/thumbs_resorts_world_112817_13.jpg]670
[img src=https://vitalvegas.com/wp-content/flagallery/resorts-world-update-legit-cranes/thumbs/thumbs_resorts_world_112817_14.jpg]580
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