Updated January 8, 2021 - 11:03 am
Joe Sorge isn’t your typical Las Vegas real estate developer.
He has a medical degree from Harvard, founded a company that produced gene-analysis and cell-biology products, and boasts an executive producer’s credit for “Workin’ Moms,” a comedy show on Netflix.
He also developed a luxury Las Vegas apartment complex and sold it for more than $100 million and is now building a massive mixed-use project nearby.
Construction is underway on Evora, Sorge’s 42-acre project along Buffalo Drive between Post Road and Patrick Lane in the southwest valley. Plans call for 1,343 residential units, around 240,000 square feet of commercial space, and underground parking.
Work crews started excavating the site in the fall of 2019, and Evora is slated to be built in phases and completed in probably 6½ years, project manager Curt Schriner of Grand Canyon Development Partners told me in November.
Sorge told me recently that the market for multifamily housing and mixed-use ventures is not great because of the pandemic, but it isn’t the “disaster that some people had been predicting.”
He hopes to lure tenants with a big mix of amenities. Evora is slated to include retail, restaurant and office space; a 1.5-acre public plaza; a 1-mile perimeter walking trail; and a recreational facility with gym space, sauna and steam rooms, and sport courts, according to its website.
According to securities filings, Sorge graduated from Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1975 with bachelor’s degrees in biology and chemistry and then from Harvard Medical School in 1979. He was a resident surgeon at Brown University from 1979 to 1980.
Sorge told me he considers himself more of an inventor, and, when determining his medical career, went into research. His business ventures have included biotech firm Stratagene Corp., which he sold for around $250 million in 2007.
That same year, property records show, he bought an 8,702-square-foot house in Las Vegas’ Summerlin community for more than $7.7 million.
Sorge indicated he ventured into entertainment after selling Stratagene, noting he had some friends in Hollywood and always loved comedy. He also directed a 2014 documentary about the divorce industry called “Divorce Corp.”
According to Variety, the film was “a vigorous but clumsily argued expose” with “slick graphics, smart talking heads, one-sided emotional appeals and flailing accusations of judicial misconduct.”
Amid Las Vegas’ apartment-construction boom of recent years, Sorge developed Evo, an upscale rental complex in the southwest valley that features a rooftop pool and lounge, an indoor basketball court, spin classes, massage rooms and other amenities.
Southern Nevada’s tourism-heavy economy has been devastated by the pandemic and still faces plenty of unknowns amid the still-raging coronavirus outbreak. The valley’s apartment market, after heating up for years, also faces more competition than usual as record-low mortgage rates spur a homebuying binge.
Sorge is among many who figure the pandemic’s end is in sight as vaccines roll out. Las Vegas’ economic recovery, he indicated, will depend on people getting inoculated and COVID-19 becoming “a distant memory in the history books.”