Recent reports are that the long-awaited Drew Las Vegas may be opened sooner than initially thought after it received its licensing recommendation form the state board. On Wednesday, Steve Witkoff, a New York-based businessman, appeared before the Nevada Gaming Control Board (NGCB) to give updates on the project’s progress.

He also seeks to have the project recommended by the board, so that he can be issued with a gaming license once the renovation is complete. Progress updates indicate that facelift work is at its advanced stages.

After meeting with the board, he released a statement saying that the board had given its licensing recommendation. According to a news article posted in, the final recommendation and approval will be given on January 23 by the board. He will now comfortably move forward with the renovation and hopes to have the building commissioned by fall 2022.

Witkoff further explained that his team had thoroughly assessed the entire building before commencing work and that renovation will be of the highest quality possible. It will cost not less than $3 billion for the work to be complete. Financing is already underway.

The building was initially owned by Fontainebleau Resorts and billionaire Donald Soffer. Construction began in 2005 but halted due to the Great Recession of 2009. Since then it has sat there with 70 percent completed work. In the same year, billionaire Carl Icahn purchased it for $156 million after the bankruptcy was declared.

However, Icahn had no plans whatsoever to continue with the construction. Instead, he held it as an investment and has been spending $10 million every year to have the building maintained in good condition.

In August 2017, Witkoff bought the property from Icahn for $600 million. Witkoff praised Icahn for doing a great job at maintaining the property. He says that once the project is completed it will have 3,780 rooms. Due to the property’s favorable location, close to the Las Vegas Convention Centre, Witkoff is confident in the hotel market.

He plans to build a bridge through the Elvis Presley Boulevard in a bid to connect customers with the resort and the convention center.

Across the Drew, there is a new resort being built. The Resorts World Complex will be worth $4.3 billion and is set to open in 2021 during summer.

Another interesting set of news also hit the headlines. Apparently, Witkoff named the Drew after his deceased son who died of a drug overdose in 2011. The death left Witkoff miserable and it was in this pain that he sort help from a medium. The medium informed him that his father and son would visit him now and then in the form of two blackbirds.

Coincidentally, Witkoff was visited by two blackbirds while at his Miami home. As a result, named the subsidiary companies of the Drew as the Two Blackbird Holdings and the other as the Two Blackbirds Hospitality Management.