Vegas could be ready for a gay hotel-casino
By STEVE FRIESS
Andrew Fonfa doesn’t want me to write this. He knows I have to, he knows I want to, but he also wants us to know that everything in this column is entirely speculative. This is a real-estate story, after all, and there is absolutely nothing in this awful real-estate era that is predictable.
Yet it’s also a story of a potential social revolution and, in that respect, cannot be ignored. If Andrew Fonfa and his lesbian sister, Gudren, pull off what they’ve long hoped and dreamed, they will have rocked the travel market and redefined a piece of Las Vegas in a profound way.
So let’s get right to it: The Fonfas want to build a $1.2 billion, 1,000-unit, 45-story hotel-casino catering primarily and openly to gays and lesbians and managed by the Wyndham hotel chain. It would boldly be called the Q, as in “queer.” And it would stand tall and proud by early in the next decade at the northwest corner of Sahara and the Las Vegas Strip as the first of its kind in the world.
Ordinarily, I wouldn’t cover something so iffy. I don’t have enough fingers and toes to count the announced Vegas development projects that have died. And the Fonfas themselves insist this one may never come to fruition, either.
But they also have earned a certain credibility that makes what they say and do matter, having already built the 41-story Allure Las Vegas on the same corner as the maybe-future Q. The only other folks who have completed such condo buildings on the Strip are MGM Mirage and Trump, which puts the Fonfas in good company. And Andrew Fonfa, who is not gay, already operates a casino in Indian Springs and has owned the Sahara-Strip property for decades.
The Fonfas haven’t formally announced the Q plan largely because there’s no telling when the American credit market will dig out of its crater. But they’ve begun to quietly spread the word.
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