For New York developer Steven Witkoff, the tax overhaul signed today by President Donald Trump will have an immediate effect: he’s plowing ahead with his plan to develop the stalled Fontainebleau resort in Las Vegas.
“Now, we’re not going to be patient,” Witkoff said in a phone interview. “We’ve basically pressed the ‘go’ button to do everything necessary to finish design on the project and take down a construction loan.”
As soon as it became clear to Witkoff that the bill had a good chance of clearing both houses of Congress, he began seeking financing for as much as 60 percent of the estimated $3 billion in development costs, he said. He plans a resort with 4,000 rooms, a casino and a restaurant on the property, purchased for $600 million in August, more than seven years after billionaire Carl Icahn acquired it out of bankruptcy. The project will create 6,000 hotel jobs and 5,000 construction jobs, Witkoff said.
The Fontainebleau, on roughly 27 acres (11 hectares) at the north end of the Strip, was about 70 percent complete when Icahn won court approval to take it over.
Witkoff was motivated by a provision in the new law that allows full and immediate expensing of capital investments. He said the plan’s passage will usher in a period of sustained economic growth, which would benefit the hotel and travel industries.
“You can just feel it,” said Witkoff, who’s been friends with the president for more than 30 years. “You can feel the pent-up fervor that’s happening out there, and it hasn’t even seeped through the system yet. And I’m not a Republican ideologue, for God’s sake.”
©2017 Bloomberg L.P.