Steve Witkoff is really attached to the Fontainebleau. He revealed some new ventures this year in Florida after his unsuccessful attempt at getting the Las Vegas Fontainebleau Resort up and running under a different name. One of the new ventures is just down the street from Fontainebleau Miami Beach.
Witkoff Has His Eye on South Florida
Witkoff has his own real estate development business, Witkoff Real Estate. It has plans to rebuild the Shore Club in Miami Beach, a once-popular hotel that was closed following the COVID-19 pandemic. It’s located about two miles from Fontainebleau Miami Beach.
The Las Vegas Review-Journal reports that, according to plans filed last fall with Miami Beach, Witkoff’s company seeks to demolish certain parts of Shore Club, reduce the size of the hotel and build an apartment tower.
Jeffrey Soffer acquired the Fontainebleau Miami Beach in 2005. He then announced plans for the Fontainebleau on Las Vegas Boulevard that very year. To bring the plans to life, Soffer teamed up with former Las Vegas casino executive Glen Schaeffer.
However, with the real estate bubble bursting in 2008-2009, the Las Vegas Fontainebleau went bankrupt in 2009. It was bought by billionaire Carl Icahn, who paid $150 million for it. Then, he sold it four years later to Witkoff with his partners for four times his purchase price.
On Top of the World
That allowed Witkoff to be able to claim, for a while, to be the owner of one of the tallest buildings in Vegas. The idea was to build a massive hotel-casino under a new name, Drew Las Vegas. At this point, it seemed like everything was in place and the property would be able to open in 2020.
Then COVID-19 hit and the launch date was moved to 2022. Despite having announced approval for a construction loan of around $2 billion, Witkoff would subsequently call off the project completely.
Soffer, at this point, re-entered the picture. He purchased the Fontainebleau from Witkoff this past February using a process that allows people to avoid foreclosure. Unless the property’s bad luck continues, Soffer plans to open Fontainebleau’s 67-story skyscraper by 2023.
Witkoff and Soffer Share the Same Grounds
Witkoff and Soffer don’t ever seem to be too far away from each other. Witkoff is from South Florida and has his main office in Miami – Soffer’s Fontainebleau Development company is also based in Florida. Soffer still owns the Fontainebleau Miami Beach and Witkoff’s Shore Club development is only two miles away.
If Florida can ever figure out what it wants to do with its chaotic gambling environment, it’s likely that these two will be competing for a piece of the action.