LAS VEGAS, Nev. (FOX5) – A massive moment on the Strip this week. A property that stood empty and unfinished for more than a decade finally opened its doors Thursday morning. It was a star-studded affair at the Fontainebleau now standing tall north of the Convention Center. It’s a major piece in the evolution puzzle of the North Strip as billion dollar businesses along with small business continue to reshape the area.

In 2020, there were broken out windows and large gaps in the building when the structure was called the Drew back at the site of the second El Rancho Las Vegas built after the first El Rancho, (the Strip’s first true full service resort) burned down.

After the project was planned for, and started and stopped multiple times over two decades, it is now finally complete and open as Fontainebleau Las Vegas, a two billion dollar casino and resort.

“I think it has cleaned up a lot towards this end of the Strip brining in these bigger, nicer casinos,” contended June Martin, an assistant manager at the Iconic Peppermill Restaurant which opened all the way back 1972, 51 years ago this year this month across from what was then the Stardust until it was knocked down in 2007 making way for Resorts World, another multibillion dollar property North Strip.

“It’s great. Business is always great,” Martin said.

“Oh my gosh. So many changes since I’ve been here, I’ve seen Resorts World go up and then the Fontainebleau just opened,” exclaimed Erica Horton, a nail tech at Vegas Nail Spa in the Gold Key Shops. Horton told FOX5, not only are the mega resorts that surround the salon breathing new life into the North Strip area, so too are small shops like a new ice cream business next door and Tacos El Pastor which opened in 2020.

“It’s been a lot of foot traffic. We have a lot more clientele and this end of the Strip is doing really good,” Horton shared.

There is a large plot of vacant land across from the Wynn owned by Wynn Resorts. In 2018, Steve Wynn announced a hotel venture called “Wynn West” but construction never began. When and if something new will be built there remains unclear.

Fontainebleau has also brought thousands of new jobs to the area. President Marc Tricano told the Gaming Control Board and Gaming Commission the property intends to hire 7,100 people in total and was aiming for 6,500 on opening day.


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