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Abandoned Las Vegas Strip Building Will Open As JW Marriott In 2023

Koch Real Estate Investments Bought The Property From Steven Witkoff, Who Had Plans To Open A Casino Named After His Late Son

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The biggest eyesore on the Las Vegas Strip is expected to open as a JW Marriott property in a little more than two years from now.

According to a Las Vegas ABC affiliate, the tallest building on Las Vegas Boulevard will open as JW Marriott Las Vegas Blvd in the fourth quarter of 2023. The building has been abandoned since construction halted on the 63-story hotel tower in 2008, when it was supposed to open as the Fontainebleau Las Vegas.

The building has been plagued with bad luck since the initial pause 13 years ago. The building sits on the north end of the Las Vegas Strip and has undergone several changes in ownership, as well as several starts and stops on new construction plans.

Miami-based developers Turnberry Associates initially broke ground on the building in 2007, but lenders of the deal backed out in the wake of the 2008 financial crisis, ending the initial idea of mimicking the iconic Miami property in Sin City.

Billionaire Carl Icahn purchased the property in 2010 for $150 million. He let the building sit empty for seven years before selling it to Steven Witkoff in 2017 for $600 million.

Witkoff planned on turning it into the city’s newest casino and would’ve named it after his son, Drew, who died of a drug overdose in 2011. The Drew suffered several setbacks on the construction front as well, but as recently as January 2020, it was still on track to open in 2022.

But following the shutdowns related to the COVID-19 pandemic, there were more delays and eventually Witkoff began defaulting on loan payments for the property. The building was once again abandoned and in search of new ownership.

Last February, Charles Koch-owned Koch Industries partnered with Fontainebleau Development, one of the original developers of the property, to purchase the once again empty building from Witkoff. According to a Bloomberg report, financial terms weren’t disclosed.

“We believe strongly in the Las Vegas market and see the property as a great opportunity to contribute to the long-term success and positive trajectory of this vibrant and innovative region,” said Jake Francis, president of Koch Real Estate Investments, in a statement at the time of the purchase.

Even though part of the original team is back onboard, it will not become the Las Vegas version of the Fontainebleau. The JW Marriott property will have 3,700 hotel rooms, more than 500,000 square feet of convention space, as well as a casino and all of the typical amenities that come with as Las Vegas Strip gaming operation.