I know nothing stays the same; but if you're willing to play the game, it will be coming around again.
Carly Simon, “Coming Around Again” (1986)
Sure, when Carly Simon wrote and recorded “Coming Around Again,” in 1986, it was as the theme for the Mike Nichols film, Heartburn (1986), a dramedy loosely based on the marriage and subsequent divorce of ‘70s power couple, Nora Ephron and Carl Bernstein. * But, some thirty-five years later, its chorus rather deftly sums up what’s been happening to the resort that’s been in the works for roughly 16 years, on the site of the former El Rancho Vegas, itself the first full-service resort on the Las Vegas Strip, which opened in 1941 on Las Vegas Boulevard and Sahara Avenue (then known as Highway 91 and San Francisco Avenue, respectively).
“It’s kind of a crazy story, but I’m back,” observed developer Jeffrey Soffer, coyly, of the circuitous path taken by the teams behind the once and future Fontainebleau Las Vegas, these past sixteen years; a path that has included a much-heralded announcement, construction that petered-out at roughly 70%, bankruptcy, being purchased out of bankruptcy by corporate raider-cum-activist investor Carl Icahn, a sale by Icahn to Witkoff Group, a renaming by Witkoff to The Drew (now 75% completed), a halt called due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and the sale by Witkoff to Jeffrey Soffer, who—as Chairman/CEO of Fontainebleau Developments, and in partnership with Koch Real Estate Investments—is once more at the helm of what is once again intended to become the sister property to the iconic Fontainebleau Miami Beach.
Having been brought to the stage, in front of the north side of the property, by Fontainebleau Resorts president, Brett Mufson—who graciously thanked the Las Vegas community for its longtime support of the project, telling the 150 or so of us who had gathered, “You’ve welcomed us with open arms back to the marketplace, and we really appreciate it,”—Soffer, looking every bit the dapper developer, smiled at the group that had assembled for this symbolic ‘groundbreaking,’ on ground that had been broken a few times since the mid-aughts.
“It’s a great building, it was always a great building,” continued Soffer, from behind a pair of mirrored aviator sunglasses, “but this has come full circle back to us and we’re very honored and excited about it as a company.”
Located on twenty-five acres on the north end of the Strip, the 67-story Fontainebleau Las Vegas will offer guests direct access to the Las Vegas Convention Center and the Las Vegas Global Business District, when it opens in the fourth quarter of 2023; thanks to Richardson Construction, who has been retained to finish the remaining 25% of the resort. A job, mind you, that they estimate will bring 3,200 jobs to the Las Vegas economy. **
But don’t take my word for it! Here’s what some notable Nevadans had to say, that morning:
Governor Steve Sisolak: “To have it rebirthed is just absolutely incredible. Today is a testament that no challenge is too difficult to overcome.”
Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority President/CEO Steve Hill: “You can see their eyes light up…and they see the opportunity that this property brings to the convention center and Las Vegas.
Clark County Commissioner Tick Segerblom (District E): “W.A. Richardson Builders, contractor, and our staff are going to work together to make sure this place is open by the Super Bowl [which Las Vegas will host] in 2024.”
But the day—highlighted for me by kibbitzing with US Congresswoman Susie Lee (a treat in any setting), by wondering just how much I’m bothered by Tick Segerblom’s uncanny resemblance to Steve Bannon (though, as I write this, it occurs to me that it’d be more accurate to posit that Bannon looks like a bloated and bedraggled version of Segerblom who’s been ridden hard and put away wet); and meeting Nancy Shulman [no relation], a member of Team Mufson, who was bedecked in a gobsmackingly stunning opera-length strand of perfectly-matched 18mm South Sea pearls—was perhaps best viewed from behind Jeffrey Soffer’s mirrored shades, where, one would assume, things had taken on a particularly rosy hue.
I don’t know about y’all; but, for the first time in a decade or so, I can’t wait to see what’s gonna happen, here, next!
Fontainebleau Las Vegas
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Get into it!
[Editor’s Notes: Starring Meryl Streep and Jack Nicholson as characters loosely based on Nora Ephron and Carl Bernstein, Ephron had adapted the screenplay from her autobiographical novel, Heartburn (1983), based on the breakup of her marriage to Bernstein // Once opened, the Fontainebleau Las Vegas will employ nearly 6,000 permanent workers.]