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May 3, 2015

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Executive: No plans in place for stalled Fontainebleau project on Las Vegas Strip


Sam Morris / Las Vegas Sun

The stalled Fontainebleau project is seen Jan. 15, 2010.

Fontainebleau Resort

The Fontainebleau, construction stopped, is seen dark along the Strip. Launch slideshow »

A representative of the owner of the Fontainebleau property on the Las Vegas Strip told gaming regulators Wednesday that there’s still no plan to complete construction of the dormant 68-story, 3,889-room building.

“We’re confident Las Vegas will come back at some point, but we have no specific plans for the Fontainebleau at this time,” Daniel Ninivaggi, president of Icahn Enterprises G.P. Inc., told members of the state Gaming Control Board.

Ninivaggi was appearing before the board on a separate licensing matter, but Control Board Chairman Mark Lipparelli took the opportunity of having him before the board to ask about the structure that sits as a grim reminder of the city’s struggle to emerge from the grip of the Great Recession.

When financier Carl Icahn acquired the Fontainebleau out of bankruptcy in November 2009, he said he expected to hold onto the property and not complete its construction until market conditions improved.

Since that time, Icahn executives have appeared before regulators on various matters and have provided updates on the status of the Fontainebleau. Today, it was Ninivaggi’s turn when he appeared on an application for a finding of suitability as an officer and director of Tropicana Entertainment Inc. He said the Fontainebleau is considered to be part of Icahn’s real estate holdings, not part of the gaming portfolio.

Furnishings that were ordered and delivered to Fontainebleau have since been sold to other hotel-casino properties.

Icahn holds a 51 percent interest in Tropicana. Ninivaggi is a temporary replacement for Scott Butera, who resigned from his Tropicana position in December. Ninivaggi said a permanent replacement for Butera would be named in the weeks ahead.

The Control Board unanimously recommended Ninivaggi for licensing as an officer and director, which will be considered Feb. 24 by the Nevada Gaming Commission.

In other business, newly appointed board members joined Lipparelli in recommending denial of a license for a West Wendover executive, a first for new board members who took office in January.

The board unanimously recommended denying a license to Robert Patterson, former casino manager of Leisure Gaming Inc.’s Pilot Wendover. Patterson was fired for embezzlement and Control Board investigators questioned some of his statements on a key employee license application.

Patterson said he plans to move out of state and did not oppose the recommendation for denial, which, if approved by the Gaming Commission, would put him on the so-called “gray list” banning him from working in the casino or contracting with an operator.

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  1. Should be condemned by the government as blight and a public nuisance and sold to someone that would complete it, or it should be torn down. It is like some of the homes in Hildale-Colorado City that are not completed to avoid taxes.

    A big firetrap. If it catches fire, the County should not put out the fire.

  2. Make it Las Vegas' first official and legal Hotel Casino and massage parlor. It will be successful, guaranteed. Next thing, import 5000 Chinese dealers and "massage therapists", and here they come back, the big whales and baccarat lovers. I am sure it would be a blast.

    From Switzerland

  3. The stalled Fountainebleau project will never be as orginally intented. There is no market for this project. The best move would be to implode and sell the debris and clear the land for future development.

  4. As a PanAmerican Building it would probably qualify, because of the nice color. Oops, PanAm has been broke for years and is no longer in business.....Well, how about Nevada Water Authority then? As a nice office tower for countless real estate brokers and perhaps Wells Fargo or Bank of America or....Exxon or BP, how about this then?

    From Switzerland

  5. There is no way this building will sit unused. It can be used in a variety of ways. Steve Wynn could end up buying it and making very it profitable. Or it could be sold to a variety of companies and made into something successful. It will open someday!

  6. Well, it is ugly.

  7. Seems I read that Icahn bid the property for pennies on the dollar and when he obtained it they were finishing a majority of the inside, sealing off many of the top floors and making it a 2 star hotel rather than a 5 star. I thought he bought it at fire sale prices so the contractors could be paid and progress with the construction.

    As he so often does,...Icahn buys distressed properties cheap, finishes them and turns them over for a profit. I know I didn't dream this,...or did Carl find he can't finish & flip it for as much as he first thought,...cuz it is all about the money.

  8. The Building is an eyesore for the entire Northern Strip and should be Torn Down, Or the exterior completed and then it should be Taxes as a fully operational Property. There is no reason why any unfinished property should be able to sit for what will be a Decade. Or it could solve the Homeless Veterans problem in one swoop.