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Another Addition to the North Strip: Fontainebleau Casino

By Chuckmonster on Saturday, 14th May 2005 3:24pm
  » filed under Las Vegas  comments: 0


Miami swank meets Las Vegas glitz as the newly formed Fontainebleau Resorts announced plans Thursday to build a $1.5-billion, 4,000-room mega-resort on the Las Vegas Strip.

The company's property, to be named after the legendary hotel in Miami, will be on the north end of the Strip, tucked between an old water park and the Riviera hotel-casino.

The project is scheduled to break ground next year and open in the second half of 2008.

Former Mandalay Resort Group President Glenn Schaeffer will help lead the Las Vegas-based company as chief executive and president.

MGM Mirage Inc. bought Mandalay in a $7.9-billion deal that was completed last month, leaving many of Mandalay's most creative and experienced executives rich but unemployed.

"So much for the retirement," Schaeffer, 51, said Thursday. "It was perfect timing."

Schaeffer said about 30 former Mandalay executives would join Fontainebleau Resorts as it sought to bring its well-known brand to the competitive Strip.

Fontainebleau eventually will go public, Schaeffer said.

Jeffrey Soffer, founder and chairman of Fontainebleau Resorts, said his company would renovate and expand the historic Fontainebleau Hotel in Miami Beach. Soffer also is chief executive of property developer Turnberry Associates, which agreed in January to buy the Miami hotel from Stephen Muss.

The Las Vegas project will have a condominium element, thanks to an alliance between Fontainebleau and Turnberry, which has sold more than $2 billion in condominium projects in Miami and Las Vegas in the last five years. Turnberry has been a leader of the high-rise condo craze in Las Vegas.

Schaeffer said the Las Vegas mega-resort would be built on 25 acres, 21 of which Turnberry previously owned. Schaeffer declined to say how much the additional four acres cost.

Andrew Zarnett, a casino industry bond analyst for Deutsche Banc in New York, said the deal had some formidable elements. "It's a serious deal because you have Turnberry behind you, the land is already owned and part of the management team comes from Mandalay."



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