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That 63-story empty tower on Las Vegas' Strip? Three new hotels are planned, but not for a while

That 63-story empty tower on Las Vegas' Strip? Three new hotels are planned, but not for a while
Architectural wrap partly obscures the unfinished exterior of the building on Las Vegas Boulevard that once went by the name Fontainebleau. (Mark Damon/Las Vegas News Bureau)

What's old is new again in Las Vegas. Two resort projects that have been languishing on the Strip for years will receive a reboot and bring thousands of new hotel rooms to the city.

The first is the empty 63-story tower that was initially called the Fontainebleau. Developers announced Monday that a new hotel called the Drew is expected to open in late 2020.

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The original almost $3-billion project shut down in 2009 before it was finished. The hulking resort, with its blue-tinted windows and rusting girders, has sat abandoned ever since.

Last summer, Steven Witkoff, a New York real estate developer known for turning around undervalued properties, bought the building for $600 million.

When completed, the resort's 3,900 rooms will offer guests three different hotel experiences. The JW Marriott will become the luxury brand's second Vegas location and the first on the Strip. The company's exclusive, boutique chain, Edition, will also occupy a portion of the resort, as will the Drew.

The JW Marriott will be the largest of the three hotels. Marriott, a giant in the hotel industry, boasts more than 100 million members in its loyalty program.

The resort will feature 20 restaurants, a large pool deck and a casino. In addition to its own convention space, the Drew will be connected to the recently announced expansion of the Las Vegas Convention Center along Elvis Presley Boulevard.

The unfinished resort sits along the northern end of the Strip, just across from Circus Circus.

Nearby, construction has resumed on a second stalled hotel-casino project, Resorts World, designed to attract Asian visitors. It is being built on the site once occupied by the Stardust, which was imploded in 2007.

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