Fontainebleau, Echelon, and St. Regis Ordered to Veil Construction to Beautify Vegas Strip

Fontainebleau Casino on Vegas Strip

Fontainebleau Has Been under Construction Since 2009.

The Fontainebleau casino-hotel development is going to be veiled in order to prevent the eyesore on the Las Vegas Strip, according to the Las Vegas Review-Journal. Chris Giunchigliani, the Clark County Commissioner, called for the half-finished 63-story building to be covered up, because the development “is really that gaping hole that faces Las Vegas Boulevard.”

The decision came after the owners of the Fontainebleau casino, Icahn NV Gaming Acquisition LLC, asked for an extension of a time limit on an off-site improvement bond. The $2.9 billion casino-resort went bankrupt in 2009 at the height of the Global Recession. That same year, activist investor Carl Icahn bought the property for $150 million.

Trying to Beautify the City

Outside construction on the casino ceased in 2009, leaving the city with an blot on an otherwise showy and tourist-friendly Las Vegas Strip. Commissioner Giunchigliani told CDC Gaming Reports, “I’m trying to at least beautify.”

According to the commissioner, the inside of the casino development is “beautiful”, but a building which has looked like a worksite for 6 years is not attractive. The site is inspected once a month and has no structural issues, according to the commissioner.

Echelon Covered Up, Too

Buildings from the Echelon project were also ordered to be covered up. Echelon also went backrupt in the time of economic dissolution in 2008-2009. The property is now owned by Genting Limited Group of our Malaysia. Genting plans to make Echelon a part of its $4 billion Resorts World Las Vegas, which will be the most expensive Las Vegas casino ever build. For now, Echelon needs to be veiled.

Venetian Casino’s St. Regis Tower

An unfinished tower on the site of the Venetian casino also was order to be veiled. The tower is supposed to add condominiums to the complex, which is the second-largest casino in the world and the largest in Las Vegas. The Venetian serves as the corporate headquarters for the Las Vegas Sands Corporation, too.

The 400-unit, $600 million St. Regis condominium project stopped construction in November 2008, at a time when the Las Vegas Sands Corp faced bankruptcy. St. Regis later became known for the “million-dollar tarp” which covered it for 3 years. LVS President Michael Leven said the casino company planned to do something with it when it did away with the tarp in April 2014. Whether the million-dollar tarp is set for a return is anyone’s guess.

Fontainebleau Project Development

As for the Fontainebleau, the commissioner’s order is the latest in an start-and-stop development process. Five times in the past six years, Icahn NV Gaming has sought off-site bond issues and received them.

In 2014, the request was denied. The commissioner’s office ruled “the developer has had sufficient time to complete the project.” Carl Icahn’s people argued that the time was not right to restart the building project.

Because Resorts World Las Vegas and Alon Las Vegas Casino Resort are each planned for a 2018 opening, it is considered a bad time to open a new casino. Both Resorts World and Alon are considered mega-resorts which would outshine the more understated Fontainebleau casino.