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Failed Ferris wheel project site on Strip for sale again

Updated May 14, 2022 - 9:46 am

Towering out of the ground across from Mandalay Bay, Las Vegas’ failed Ferris wheel project site is up for sale again.

Real estate brokerage CBRE Group recently started marketing 26 acres along the south edge of the Strip. The spread includes the land with SkyVue, a never-finished observation wheel project that for years has consisted of little more than two giant concrete columns.

The property owners are seeking $7 million an acre, or $182 million total, said listing broker Michael Parks of CBRE’s global gaming group.

The SkyVue site has been up for sale before, including a few years ago through bankruptcy court when Seattle-area businessman Wayne Perry, a lender in the failed tourist attraction, acquired the property and nearby parcels with a credit bid.

Still, the latest offering comes as real estate sales and development plans gain momentum in and around Las Vegas’ famed casino corridor, amid the tourism industry’s continued rebound from the pandemic.

Parks said he is seeing increased interest from investors in property on Las Vegas Boulevard, noting he sold two plots on the north Strip over the past several months.

He also said the south Strip property is near pro sports venues Allegiant Stadium and T-Mobile Arena as well as the Tropicana hotel-casino, which the Oakland Athletics have reportedly been eyeing as a potential new ballpark site.

Perry, founder of Shotgun Creek Investments, acquired nearly 20 acres along the south Strip in 2020, and all his holdings are now up for sale, Parks confirmed. The offering through CBRE also features a separately owned apartment complex.

Perry’s son Greg, general counsel for Shotgun Creek, said in email that the firm was initially “a small lender” for SkyVue and made additional loans to protect its original investment.

“Never in a million years did we imagine that we would end up owning a big piece of the Las Vegas (Strip),” he wrote. “But after a lengthy bankruptcy, here we are.”

He also said his group is “very excited to see this property rise from the ashes and be a part of the action” on the south Strip.

Perry further stated that they haven’t encountered any interest from people to restart the SkyVue project and that the concrete columns “very likely will be knocked down to make way for a hotel casino. In the meantime, we are exploring ways to improve the look of the property.”

SkyVue developer Howard Bulloch of Compass Investments had envisioned a $100 million-plus project with a 500-foot-tall observation wheel, a roller coaster and retail and restaurant space. His team announced in 2011 that the project was “about to get off the ground,” and in 2012, the first phase of construction finished.

The project, however, reportedly ran into financial problems and was never completed.

Bulloch owned 38.5 acres along the south Strip, and by 2015, the spread was for sale with a reported price tag of more than $10 million an acre, or more than $385 million.

It didn’t sell.

Bulloch said in an email Friday that he had the site “in escrow numerous times” in years past but buyers “were just not able to arrange their financing as they had promised.”

We’ll find out soon enough whether someone buys the SkyVue site, and if so, what they do with the unfinished project and surrounding land.

Until then, don’t be surprised to keep seeing a smokestack-looking property on Las Vegas Boulevard.

This story has been updated with comments from the seller about the SkyVue site.

Contact Eli Segall at esegall@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-0342. Follow @eli_segall on Twitter.

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