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Witkoff kick starts Fontainebleau project in Las Vegas after tax signing

Developer said new provisions on capital investments spurred decision
December 22, 2017 01:45PM

Steve Witkoff and the Fontainebleau

Developer and Donald Trump pal Steve Witkoff is racing ahead with the long-stalled Fontainebleau casino and resort in Las Vegas after hearing the president signed the tax bill into law Friday.

He restarted the project because of a provision in the new law that allows full and immediate deductions on capital investments, according to Bloomberg. Witkoff said he “pressed the ‘go’ button to do everything necessary to finish design on the project and take down a construction loan,” ending speculation about what he planned to do with the site after his August of it.

Witkoff partnered with Vector Group subsidiary New Valley LLC to buy the Fontainebleau site for $600 million from investor Carl Icahn, who picked it up for $150 million in 2009. It was one of the many Las Vegas projects that ground to a halt during the recession, but until this year was one the last-remaining orphan projects that hadn’t found a taker.

The Fontainebleau was originally meant to be a $2.8 billion, 3,815-room resort complete with 24 eateries, a 3,300-seat theater hall and retail. The project was led by Jeffrey Soffer of Turnberry and Glenn Schaeffer, formerly of the Mandalay Resort Group. Construction started in 2007 with a completion date in 2009, but it went bankrupt that year before Icahn swooped in, according to the Las Vegas Review-Journal.

Witkoff also told Bloomberg that the provisions in the new tax law will spur sustained economic growth that will benefit the hospitality industry. [Bloomberg] — Dennis Lynch