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Howard Stutz

Traffic Concerns Delay Fontainebleau Vote

21 September 2006

LAS VEGAS -- Clark County commissioners Wednesday postponed a vote on the zoning for the proposed $1.5 billion Fontainebleau, saying they wanted the hotel-casino's developers to address traffic concerns raised by residents of the neighboring Turnberry Place.

The developers of Turnberry, along with former Mandalay Resort Group President Glenn Schaeffer, have proposed building a 2,929-room hotel-casino on the 25-acre site of the old El Rancho and Algiers casinos, just west of Turnberry.

Commissioners were concerned about the traffic flow the hotel-casino would bring along the Strip and Riviera Boulevard, in addition to access in and out of Turnberry Place, a 778-unit high-rise community of four 40-story towers that has one entrance off Paradise Road.

Clark County Commissioner Myrna Williams, who represents the area, said she was flabbergasted that Turnberry was approved with only one entrance and exit for residents and guests.

"How this got by the Fire Department, the planning commission and (the County Commission) amazes me," Williams said.

She asked Fontainebleau's zoning consultant, Greg Borgel, to have the project's developers meet with Turnberry residents to address their concerns about traffic and access.

Borgel told commissioners that Turnberry residents and their guests would be allowed to use the Fontainebleau's proposed 5,745 parking spaces. Commissioners agreed with Borgel that Turnberry might have to make changes so that traffic congestion concerns could be addressed.

Borgel told commissioners the Fontainebleau's developers would pay the costs for any road improvements to the Strip or Riviera Drive to help with traffic flow.

The Fontainebleau was announced in May 2005 when Schaeffer was named president and chief executive officer of Fontainebleau Resorts, a privately held company founded by Jeff Soffer, a principal with high-rise condominium developer Turnberry Associates.

The company bought the famed Fontainebleau in Miami Beach, south Florida's largest hotel.

According to material approved in August by the Clark County Planning Commission, the Las Vegas version of the Fontainebleau would have a 735-foot high-rise hotel tower, a casino, restaurants, meeting space, show rooms and other amenities.

In addition to 2,929 hotel rooms, Fontainebleau would have 959 condominiums.