Las Vegas Fontainebleau Gets New Owner





Anthony Curtis’ nationally syndicated weekly column.

Jan. 27, 2010

Billionaire financier and casino veteran Carl Icahn is the new owner of the shuttered Fontainebleau, after his $156.5 million bid was accepted over two unidentified competing bids. Reportedly, Icahn hasn’t decided whether he’ll restart construction or sit on the 70%-completed building till better times arrive. However, he’s already stated that he won’t turn the resort into a condo-hotel, as was originally planned, nor into condos exclusively, as was later announced as a possibility. Roughly half the rooms are carpeted and wallpapered, with furniture in storage. A skeleton crew, paid by Icahn’s $50 million in temporary financing, is maintaining the property. It’s estimated that maintenance, security, and taxes on the structure, even closed, will run $25 million per year.

Station Deals: Two of the Station casinos are offering good dining specials. At Texas Station, the excellent Austin’s steakhouse has a prime rib deal for two for $30, Sunday-Tuesday from 5 to 7 p.m. It comes with two of Austin’s famous sides. Palace Station’s Pasta Palace runs “Early Bird Pastabilities” every day from 4 to 5:30 p.m. It’s a complete dinner with all the pasta you can eat for $8.99.

Seafood at M: The Studio B Buffet at M Resort now serves a special seafood buffet on weekends. The buffet runs Friday-Sunday for $29.95 and includes unlimited beer, wine, and liqueurs for after-dinner coffee drinks. The M serves what many consider Las Vegas’ best buffet for the money, with lunch for $14.95 and dinner $22.95 on weekdays.

Venue of the Decade: According to Billboard magazine, it’s the Colosseum at Caesars Palace (capacity of 5,000 or less). Having hosted the likes of Celine Dion, Elton John, Bette Midler, and currently Cher, the Colosseum has equaled the gross of the numbers 2, 3, 4, and 5 venues combined, and it’s only been open since 2003.

Question: Last week you wrote that Harrah’s may soon have up to 23,000 rooms on the Strip. Is that the most?

Answer: That’s a lot, but it’s not even close to the most. With the opening of CityCenter, MGM Mirage now has more than 41,000 rooms on the Strip.

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