Jeffrey Soffer and Brett Mufson

Brett Mufson and Jeffrey Soffer.


Jeffrey Soffer and Brett Mufson

Chairman and CEO; President at Fontainebleau Development

Last year's rank: 55

Jeffrey Soffer and Brett Mufson
By February 18, 2024 9:00 AM

The prognosis for the company today known as Fontainebleau Development looked bleak shortly after the Great Recession hit in 2008. It declared bankruptcy on a 67-story resort in Las Vegas that was in the midst of construction. The half-built property went down in infamy as one of the worst real estate failures of the financial crisis and tied up Fontainebleau in litigation for years.

Today, with the bankruptcy a distant memory, the picture could not look more different for Fontainebleau, which made a triumphant return to Las Vegas last year. It bought back the resort with Koch Real Estate for an undisclosed amount and will complete the property.

“Life’s all about timing,” Jeffrey Soffer said. Yet he insists, “There’s no emotion in this whatsoever. It was the right fit.”

The outlook for the resort looks promising. It’s slated to open in late 2023, just before Las Vegas hosts the Super Bowl, and the casino is less than a mile from the city’s convention center. Soffer will also open a nightclub, re-teaming with the king of Miami nightlife, David Grutman, whose LIV establishment situated inside the iconic Fontainebleau hotel in Miami Beach continues to be the city’s hottest venue.

The pandemic, which devastated the hospitality industry, represented only blip for Fontainebleau. In terms of revenue before tax, 2019 was a record-breaking year for the company, Brett Mufson said. So were 2020’s January and February before COVID-19 took the country hostage. This year the company is on track to break yet another record.

The virus accelerated the trend of Northerners relocating south to Miami, something that Fontainebleau had spotted early on. Before COVID-19, “Miami was only getting better,” added Mufson. “The pandemic was the catalyst toward where we thought that the market was going to head anyway. It just kind of happened a little bit faster.”