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Debate continues over the fate of the shuttered Fontainebleau

Reported by: Gerard Ramalho
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Updated: 4/30/2013 7:15 pm
LAS VEGAS (KSNV & MyNews3) -- Tonight News 3 has new information about what might happen to the shuttered Fontainebleau Resort project.

We all know the back story. It was built during the boom years but has sat empty since then, but will it ever be completed?\

News 3's Gerard Ramalho joins us in studio tonight with part 2 of his series. Some people are in favor of imploding it.

That's the feeling of at least one county commissioner. The current owner, Carl Icahn, paid $150 million for it in 2010. It may be worth more as scrap metal now, believe it or not.

We're going to give you another look inside and we'll show you what some say needs to be done with this building that has sat empty for the past five years.

Is it an eyesore or a thing of beauty? The debate over the valley's largest structure has many offering opinions including county commissioner Chris Giunchigliani.

“I would prefer to see it gone, and I think my constituents would and I think even the Strip properties would," said County Commissioner Chris Giunchigliani.

Guinchigliani has said publically more than once she'd prefer to see the Fontainebleau imploded.

Since its topping-out in 2008, the building has sat empty. Icahn is offering no hints as to what he intends to do with it.

Our requests for interviews and a tour of the property were denied, but News 3 did obtain some amateur video taken by self-proclaimed urban historians.

The duo admits they snuck past security to capture these images of empty rooms and corridors. Not so much as a light fixture or a piece of furniture, but an impressive building nonetheless especially the top floor, which was supposed to be a restaurant and lounge offering one-of a kind views of the city.

But questions remain whether the unfinished Fontainebleau will ever become even a remnant of what was initially planned.

A recent article in the Dallas Morning News reported Chinese buyers "may be willing to pay almost $200-million" to dismantle the tower for scrap.

“Those are economic decisions. There is nothing that would cause me from my duty as a building official to issue a condemnation of it,’ said Clark County building director Ron Lynn.

Lynn says although the building is currently uninhabitable, it is structurally sound.

Inspectors conduct monthly checks at a cost that is covered by the owner and not the county. But, as news 3 reported this week, Icahn does receive an annual tax-break of nearly $4 million.

"If Mr. Icahn's listening let's work together, but I think in the long run he can make his profit back.. and at least get to ground level, that property, that land is still going to be very worthwhile," Giunchigliani said.

Commissioner Giunchigliani would like something settled soon since the empty building, eyesore or not, it is a cost to the community both monetarily and as an ongoing reminder of a city still struggling to recover from recession.

Commisioner Giunchigliani says she's in a bit of an ongoing battle just to get the giant crane removed from the building. She's hopeful we'll at least have some resolution on that very soon.

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