With 2019 behind us, here are Las Vegas’ top 10 real estate deals of the year, as ranked by yours truly.
New York financial giant The Blackstone Group, which has been on a real estate buying binge in Southern Nevada for years, purchased the Bellagio for more than $4 billion — by all appearances the most expensive sale ever of a Las Vegas resort.
Blackstone bought the Bellagio’s real estate from MGM Resorts International and leased it back to the casino operator. The sale closed in November.
2. Rhodes mansion
Developer Jim Rhodes sold his Las Vegas megamansion for $16 million to a buyer shrouded in mystery.
Rhodes sold the 2-acre spread with a roughly 19,800-square-foot main house in July to an entity called Dacia LLC. It was one of the most expensive home purchases ever in the valley, and public records gave no indication who was behind it, rare for Las Vegas.
Even Rhodes said he was in the dark on the buyer’s identity.
“I’ve been asked that question a million times, but I do not know,” he said.
3. Bleutech Park
Months after announcing a futuristic mini-city, the developer reached a deal to buy a project site for more than $300 million.
Bleutech Park Properties reached a purchase agreement for 210 acres at Las Vegas Boulevard and Cactus Avenue, south of the Strip, for more than $1.5 million per acre.
At $7.5 billion, Bleutech Park Las Vegas is the most expensive and complex development pitched in Southern Nevada in recent memory, and its backers have used an arsenal of buzz words to describe the tech-heavy proposal.
The land deal, announced in November, has not closed yet.
4. Sullivan Square
A Minnesota fitness chain bought a giant hole in the ground across from Ikea for $14 million, breathing life into a failed bubble-era site.
Life Time Fitness purchased nearly 15 acres of land at Durango Drive and Sunset Road from Ireland-based Harcourt Developments in November.
Harcourt had partnered with a Las Vegas firm in 2006 to build Sullivan Square, one of numerous high-rise proposals from Las Vegas’ bubble days that never materialized.
5. George Clooney’s former land
Southern California firm 3D Investments bought nearly 60 acres of mostly empty real estate just east of the Strip for $130 million in February. Like countless other parcels around town, it has seen big plans come and go.
Investors in 2005 announced plans for the $1.7 billion W Las Vegas, and soon after, movie star George Clooney, Miami condo developer Jorge Perez and others unveiled an adjacent $3 billion project called Las Ramblas.
The W’s developers bought the Las Ramblas site in 2006, and a diamond magnate’s group acquired the whole spread in 2007, property records indicate.
Nothing was built, and lenders foreclosed on the site in late 2014.
6. Faraday land
Faraday Future, after bailing on its much-hyped car plant in North Las Vegas, sold the project site at a steep discount.
The electric-car maker sold 913 acres of land at Apex Industrial Park to Toronto-based H&R REIT for $16.9 million in September. It initially listed the spread for $40 million.
Faraday drew up plans for a 3.4 million-square-foot factory and landed $335 million in state incentives. It broke ground in 2016, but construction stalled amid reports of financial troubles.
It backed out of the project in 2017, saying it wanted an existing facility instead.
7. Lucky Dragon
The shuttered Lucky Dragon was purchased by an unlikely hotel operator after numerous wannabe buyers took a look.
Don Ahern, chairman and chief executive of Las Vegas construction-equipment firm Ahern Rentals, purchased the off-Strip property for $36 million in April from lenders who foreclosed in 2018.
The Chinese-themed resort had closed less than two years after it opened. It drew tremendous interest from prospective buyers, but mostly people who had no chance of closing a deal.
“It was very weird,” listing broker Michael Parks of CBRE Group said of the response.
8. Huntridge Theater
Developer J Dapper reached a deal to buy the Huntridge Theater, raising hopes the rundown venue will be renovated and reopened.
The Las Vegas City Council voted in November to facilitate Dapper’s purchase of the long-shuttered theater from its owners, the Mizrachi family, for $4 million.
Dapper told the council he wants to “restore the theater back to its original glory,” but if he finds out he can’t save the World War II-era building, his interest in buying it “would go away.”
The sale has not closed yet.
9. Haas Automation
Gene Haas, owner of machine tool builder Haas Automation, purchased 279 acres of land for almost $27.4 million from the city of Henderson in November.
He has filed plans to build 4.3 million square feet of commercial space a few miles from the M Resort, including a 2.3 million-square-foot manufacturing facility for his company.
The massive proposal is one of dozens of projects in the fast-growing west Henderson area at the southern tip of the valley.
10. Bonnie Springs
Bonnie Springs Ranch, the replica Old West town with mock gunfights and hangings and a petting zoo, was sold to a developer with plans for luxury housing.
Developer Joel Laub purchased the 64-acre desert attraction west of Las Vegas for $25 million in April. Bonnie Springs had closed in March amid the pending sale and drew big crowds through its final weekend.