LVCVA to vote on the sale on Tuesday

Fontainebleau developer to acquire additional Strip land for $112.5 million

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The developer of Fontainebleau Las Vegas is purchasing five acres of land near the hotel-casino on the Strip for $112.5 million. The Las Vegas Convention & Visitors Authority (LVCVA) approved the sale at its meeting on Tuesday.

"Almost six months into operations, we are already seeing positive and encouraging results for Fontainebleau Las Vegas. This acquisition, which is strategically located for future growth, underscores our confidence in the Las Vegas market. We look forward to disclosing more details in the near future," Fontainebleau chairman and CEO Jeffrey Soffer said in a statement.

The land in question is part of a larger 10-acre site that once housed the Riviera hotel. The LVCVA bought the entire 26-acre Riviera site in 2015 and demolished the property in 2016. Currently, a partnership between Brett Torino of Las Vegas and New York’s Paul Kanavos, known as 65SLVB, is under contract with the LVCVA to purchase 10 acres for $125 million.

The LVCVA voted unanimously to split the 10 acre-parcel at Elvis Presley and Las Vegas boulevards to 65SLVB and the development group behind neighboring Fontainebleau resort-casino. The Torino-backed group will purchase the five acres directly adjacent to Las Vegas Boulevard, dubbed the Front Five Acres, for $12.5 million and Fontainebleau Development will purchase the Back Five Acres from Torino’s group for $112.5 million.

Torino and Kanavos have not disclosed their plans for their portion of the land, which fronts Las Vegas Boulevard. However, the LVCVA stipulates that the development must complement the rest of the new projects on the north Strip, including high-end condominiums. Ed Finger, LVCVA’s chief financial officer, told the board he expects the sale to close on or before Nov. 1, reports the Las Vegas Review-Journal.

The site has been through several sale agreements since the LVCVA purchased it in 2015. Steve Hill, president and CEO of the tourism authority, attributed the back-and-forth to pandemic disruptions. The land originally was to be sold to Chilean developer Claudio Fischer for $120 million, but the sale failed to close in 2022.

The blue-tinted, 67-story Fontainebleau resort, which opened with a celebrity-studded event last December, had been in development for about 18 years. Conceptualized by Soffer in 2005 alongside the historic Miami Beach hotel acquisition, the Las Vegas location was about 75 percent complete when the 2009 economic downturn halted progress. Following years of bankruptcy, ownership changes, and new visions, Soffer’s team re-acquired the nearly finished building in 2021 with partners in Koch Real Estate Investments.

Despite a rocky start with the departure of multiple senior executives and viability concerns of the 3,644-room resort, industry experts have suggested the property needs more time to stabilize. Maurice Wooden, a 36-year veteran in hospitality and gaming with experience at Wynn and Encore resorts, was hired in February, indicating potential changes at the resort. Additionally, the resort has extended a loyalty tier matching program until September 2.

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