That big blue eye sore at the north end of the strip may soon see some action again. The fate of Fontainebleau is heading to bankruptcy court on Thursday with several interesting bidders salivating at the court doors.
Fontainebleau sits where the old Wet and Wild water park used to sit. I miss that place…. And blocks the Sahara’s view of the Strip. It’s an ugly thing, a big eyesore. But we kind of got used to having eye sores on the strip lately.
Anyway, last year the bankers yanked its financing with 70% of the building completed. The developers at the time, shuttered the place and have filed lawsuits against themselves and anyone else involved in the project. It’s Vegas, the stranger it sounds, the more normal it is.
So now as the clock winds down, you have several interested parties, each with their own colorful background bidding for the glass tank. Vegas always attracts the weird and the unusual characters, even in BK court.
The cool thing is that all the identified bidders are trying a revolutionary new approach to buying and developing property on the strip. It’s this amazing invention called CASH!
I know. These guys are really cutting edge. Thinking outside the box in order to get this valued piece of real estate. Who knew such a thing would ever find its way into Las Vegas. Cash… the new currency!!
First up is Carl Icahn. You know him. The guy who bought TWA and other major corporations. Than guts everything in them including the executive bathroom. After he cleans out the bank accounts, he lets them do a financial melt down before filing for Bankruptcy. Yea, That Carl Icahn.
Although he has cleaned up his image a bit in recent years. He did buy the Stratosphere and a couple of other small casino. Actually hanging on to them awhile before off loading them onto Goldman Sachs for a $1Billion profit.
From what he has stated he would do with the property, you can figure one of two things; The world’s largest Motel 6 or a massive recycling project. Mainly for the copper in the all the electrical and glass for a new Green Energy, government grant project he’s probably cooking up with the good Senator from Searchlight, Nevada.
The other interesting bidder is Luke Brugnara. A San Francisco developer with land holding on the Strip. He bought the Silver City Casino in 1999 for $30 million dollars. But was refused a license by the Gaming Control Board for some IRS issues.
So he ripped down the casino and put up a Walgreen’s and Ross Dress for Less on the site. Plus has land in back for future development. The only thing standing between that land and the Fontainebleau would be the Riviera. And we all know that property is on everyone’s Monopoly Board as a “Must Have.”
Both bidders claim to have cash in hand and ready to buy it. Like I said, these guys are trying all the newest ways to buy property. Neither one says they will open the hotel part right away. Brugnara wants the retail open to help pay for the future hotel.
Icahn opening bid is $156 million and Brugnara says he has $180 million. The Las Vegas Sun has an early story out pointing toward Icahn as the winner. My money is on the other guy.