Las Vegas’ top 10 real estate deals of 2018

Las Vegas’ real estate market draws no shortage of wheelers and dealers.

Investors are always buying, selling, building — and, if things go south, facing lawsuits and other problems.

Here is my list of Las Vegas’ top 10 real estate deals of 2018:

1. Buddhist temple

When it comes to land on or near the Strip, developers usually set out to build casinos, condo towers or other big projects. (Whether they build anything is another story.) But this summer, a different buyer emerged with very different plans.

The World Buddhism Association Headquarters bought a mostly vacant 12-acre lot at Sahara Avenue and Paradise Road, just east of the Strip, for $17.5 million. The sale closed in July.

The Southern California-based group plans to build a Buddhist temple. But the organization “has very limited funds,” and “there is no possibility of quickly beginning” construction, its attorney said this summer.

2. Hard Rock Hotel

British billionaire Richard Branson, the flamboyant founder of the Virgin Group, and partners acquired the Hard Rock Hotel, with plans to make it a Virgin-branded resort by the end of 2019.

The sale was announced in March. The price was not disclosed, but a person familiar with the matter said the 1,500-room hotel-casino sold for about $500 million.

3. Lucky Dragon foreclosure

It wasn’t a sale, but the Lucky Dragon traded hands – and I doubt anyone celebrated.

San Francisco developer Enrique Landa’s Snow Covered Capital, the resort’s main lender, foreclosed on the shuttered hotel-casino in October.

The 203-room Chinese-themed property opened in 2016 but struggled to draw big crowds, went bankrupt and closed its doors. Its demise was perhaps the fastest in Las Vegas in decades.

4. Mandarin Oriental

Panda Express is known for slinging broccoli beef and chow mein at malls and airports, but the fast-food chain’s founders also bought a luxury piece of the Strip this year.

Andrew and Peggy Cherng, co-CEOs of Panda Restaurant Group, teamed with hotel investor Tiffany Lam to acquire the Mandarin Oriental for $214 million. The sale closed in August.

The 47-story tower with hotel rooms and condos is now a Waldorf Astoria.

5. Station land

In a throwback to the pre-recession days, Station Casinos bought around 40 acres of land in the Skye Canyon community, in the upper northwest valley, for $36 million. The sale closed in November.

It was unclear if Station had any project plans, but the casino operator added to its sizable land holdings in the Las Vegas suburbs.

6. Raiders neighbor

With the Raiders building a 65,000-seat football stadium in Las Vegas, a small industrial site across the street became lucrative real estate.

Osprey Real Estate Capital and Huntington Hotel Group bought a 2-acre industrial property just west of the stadium for $6.5 million. The sale closed in November.

Osprey founder Sean Dalesandro said his group was planning a mixed-use project with a hotel and retail space.

7. Lotus

Months after the first renters moved to Lotus, developer Jonathan Fore sold the luxury Chinatown-area apartment complex for $76.7 million.

The purchase, by Green Leaf Partners, closed in November. It amounted to $260,000 per unit, double the market average as tracked by Colliers International.

8. Pinball Hall of Fame

In another unexpected deal for the resort corridor, operators of the Pinball Hall of Fame bought a 1.76-acre parcel of land at the south edge of the Strip for more than $4.5 million. The sale was recorded in August.

Charlotte Owens, who launched the Las Vegas arcade with her husband, Tim Arnold, said they want to build a 27,000-square-foot facility that would look, on the outside, like a pinball machine.

9. Google Henderson

Google acquired 64 acres of land in Henderson to build a data center, but the internet-search giant did it all under a shroud of secrecy.

An obscure entity called Jasmine Development LLC bought the project site in January for $19 million. The Review-Journal first reported in October on the data center and the rumors that Google was behind it, but public records did not show which company was behind Jasmine or any definitive links to Google, and the city of Henderson’s spokeswoman was mum on the developer, citing “confidentiality reasons.”

Google’s name eventually surfaced through the Governor’s Office of Economic Development, which approved $25.2 million in tax incentives for the project in November.

10. Mayweather mansion

Las Vegas’ luxury housing market notched a big sale in October, when, property records show, boxing superstar Floyd Mayweather bought a suburban compound for $10 million.

It includes a 16,357-square-foot mansion, two guesthouses, a pool house, small vineyard, underground garage, gym, wine cellar and indoor spa with a current that allows for stationary swimming, according to listing broker Kamran Zand, founder of Luxury Estates International.

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

Business Videos
Former Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz at Las Vegas convention
Former Starbucks CEO and potential presidential candidate Howard Schultz spoke at the Epicor Insights user conference at Mandalay Bay Convention Center Wednesday, April 17, 2019. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @KMCannonPhoto
Drew Las Vegas to open in the second quarter of 2022
The 67-story Drew Las Vegas is slated to open in the second quarter of 2022 at the north end of the Las Vegas Strip. (Michael Quine/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
NAB Day 1 (Time Lapse)
NAB kicked off at the Las Vegas Convention Center on Monday, April 8, 2019. (Mat Luschek / Review-Journal)
National Association of Broadcasters Show shows 1mm thick 8K TV with 22.2 channel digital sound
Japan’s NHK Science & Technology Research Laboratories booth featured a 1mm thick 8K TV system used in conjunction with a 22.2 channel digital sound system at the National Association of Broadcasters Show at the Las Vegas Convention Center. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @KMCannonPhoto
Nevada shoppers react to Smith’s no longer accepting Visa credit cards
On March 1, Smith’s announced that it would no longer be accepting Visa credit cards at any of its 142 supermarkets, including the 45 in Nevada.
Massachusetts Gaming Commission asks how long Wynn executives knew about misconduct
Business reporter Rick Velotta gives an update on the adjudicatory hearing on the suitability of Wynn Resorts to retain its gaming license in Massachusetts.
Henderson app developer part of Startup in Residence
Henderson based developers of the app On Point Barricade are taking part in Startup in Residence, a North America program dedicated to pairing tech companies with governments. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @KMCannonPhoto
Sam's Town employees and customers talk of their love for the iconic casino
Longtime Sam's Town employees and customers love each other and love their casino. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @KMCannonPhoto
Las Vegas apartments rents
Las Vegas’ apartment market has accelerated in recent years. Developers are packing the suburbs with projects, landlords are on a buying spree, and tenants have filled buildings.
William Boyd talks about the birth of Sam's Town
On the eve of the 40th anniversary of Sam's Town, William Boyd, executive chairman of Boyd Gaming and son of hotel namesake Sam Boyd, talks about how the casino became one of the first local properties in Las Vegas. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @KMCannonPhoto
High Roller observation wheel turns five
The world’s tallest observation wheel celebrates it’s fifth year on Sunday, March 31, 2019. (Michael Quine/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @Vegas88s
Escape Room Industry Growing In Las Vegas
Escapology employees discuss the growing escape room industry in the U.S. and Las Vegas. (Bailey Schulz/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Impact of parking fees on visiting the Las Vegas Strip
There are no data showing a relationship between Strip resort and parking fees and the number of out-of-state visitors to Las Vegas. But there are data showing a relationship between Strip parking fees and the number of local visitors to the the Strip. ‘’As a local, I find myself picking hotels I visit for dinner or entertainment, based on whether they charge for parking or not,”’ said David Perisset, the owner of Exotics Racing. ‘’It is not a matter of money, more of principle.’’ A 2018 survey by the Las Vegas Global Economic Alliance found 36.9 percent of Clark County residents reported avoiding parking at Strip casinos that charge for parking. 29.1 percent reported avoiding using any services from a Strip casino that charges for parking.
MGM's sports betting deals
MGM Resorts International signed a sports betting sponsorship agreement with the NBA in July It was the first professional sports league to have official ties with a legal sports betting house. The deal came just two months after the U.S. Supreme Court overturned a law prohibiting sports betting in most states. In October, MGM became the first gaming company to sign a sports betting partnership with the NHL. In November, MGM became the first gaming company to sign a sports betting partnership with the MLB. Financial terms of Tuesday’s deal and earlier partnerships have not been announced.
Faraday puts Las Vegas land on the market
Nearly two years after Faraday Future bailed on its North Las Vegas auto factory, the company has put its land up for sale. (Michael Quine/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
El Cortez owner Kenny Epstein on running the iconic property
Kenny Epstein, owner of the El Cortez Hotel in downtown Las Vegas, talks about Jackie Gaughan mentorship and answers rumors about bodies in the basement at the mob-era casino. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @KMCannonPhoto
LVCVA recommends construction of underground people mover
The Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority announced the recommendation for an underground people mover for the convention center. The system would have the potential to expand and connect Downtown and the resort corridor all the way to McCarran. (Michael Quine/ Las Vegas Review-Journal)
LVCVA/Boring Company Press Conference
The Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority announced a collaboration with Elon Musk's The Boring Company to develop and operate an autonomous people mover system for the Las Vegas Convention Center District.
International Pizza Expo includes green and gluten free
The International Pizza Expo at Las Vegas Convention Center included companies focused on vegan and gluten free, and plant-based pizza boxes. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @KMCannonPhoto
International Pizza Expo kicks off in Las Vegas
The first day of the International Pizza Expo at Las Vegas Convention Center is everything Pizza. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @KMCannonPhoto
T-Mobile program aids guests with sensory needs
A program at T-Mobile Arena is designed to provide a more sensory friendly experience for guests.
Photo Booth Expo
Danielle May talks about how Simple Booth transformed her Volkswagen bus into a business.
Nevada Gaming Commission's highest fines
The highest fines assessed by the Nevada Gaming Commission, according to commission Chairman Tony Alamo: 1) Wynn Resorts Ltd., $20 million, 2019 2) CG Technology (then known as Cantor G&W Holdings), $5.5 million, 2014 3) The Mirage, $5 million ($3 million fine, $2 million compensatory payment), 2003 4) Stardust, $3 million, 1985 5) Santa Fe Station, $2.2 million ($1.5 million fine, $700,000 compensatory payment), 2005 6) Las Vegas Sands, $2 million, 2016 7) CG Technology, $1.75 million, 2018 8) CG Technology, $1.5 million (also $25,000 in escrow for underpaid patrons), 2016 9) Caesars Entertainment, $1.5 million, 2015 10) Imperial Palace, $1.5 million, 1989 11) Peppermill Casinos, $1 million, 2014
Tiny Pipe Home vs Shipping Crate
A Tiny pipe home was displayed at the International Builders Show this week in Las Vegas.
Auto repair shortage affects Las Vegas
The auto repair industry is facing a national shortage of workers.
Franchising industry booming
Experts say Las Vegas is a hotbed for the franchise industry.
Africa Love owner talks about his store in Las Vegas
Mara Diakhate, owner of Africa Love, gift and decor store, talks about his store in Las Vegas. (Bizuayehu Tesfaye/ Las Vegas Review-Journal) @bizutesfaye
Developer gets approval to build homes at Bonnie Springs
The Clark County Planning Commission has approved a plan to build 20 homes on the site of Bonnie Springs Ranch. (Michael Quine/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Dig This opens new location In Las Vegas
Remember when you were a kid and played with construction toys in the sand box? Dig This Las Vegas has the same idea, except instead of toy bulldozers, you get to play with the real thing. (Mat Luschek/Review-Journal)
Town Square developer Jim Stuart building again in Las Vegas
Las Vegas’ real estate bubble took developers on a wild ride, something Jim Stuart knows all too well. (Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Home Front Page Footer Listing