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South Strip lands big project as Dream Las Vegas breaks ground

Updated July 8, 2022 - 6:22 am

Like other areas of Southern Nevada, the south edge of the Strip has seen big real estate plans come and go over the years.

This stretch of Las Vegas’ famed casino corridor also has a decidedly mixed landscape, with megaresorts on one side of the street and small motels, retail space, boarded-up buildings and a never-finished Ferris wheel project on the other.

But real estate activity has gained momentum along this area of Las Vegas Boulevard as developers push ahead with plans for a new hotel.

Developers of Dream Las Vegas are scheduled to hold a ceremonial groundbreaking Friday for the 531-room casino resort. The project, developed by Southern California firms Shopoff Realty Investments and Contour, is estimated to cost $550 million.

Located on Las Vegas Boulevard just south of Russell Road, Dream is expected to open in late 2024.

‘High-profile events’

Southern Nevada had an increase in real estate deals on and near Las Vegas Boulevard over the past year or so, with a few along the south Strip. Clark County commissioners last year approved buying 34.5 acres in the area for $115.3 million combined for the Department of Aviation in two separate transactions, and a mystery buyer recently picked up 2.2 acres for about $12.8 million.

Department of Aviation spokesman Joe Rajchel said Thursday that officials are planning to develop part of the county’s newly acquired land into ramp space where pilots can park planes.

“We know that with the increase of high-profile events coming in the next couple of years, there will be a need for additional aircraft parking,” he said.

The south Strip has massive hotels such as Mandalay Bay and Luxor on the west side of the boulevard, but the other side of the street has a noticeably different look.

That area features a 1940s-era motel, a 1960s-era motel, retail space, a wedding chapel and, flanking Dream’s site, the Pinball Hall of Fame arcade and a Harley-Davidson motorcycle dealership.

As of last month, the area also had vacant lots; the boarded-up Laughing Jackalope tavern; the long-shuttered former White Sands motel, which boasts a history of vandalism, vagrants and feral cats; and the never-finished SkyVue observation-wheel project, which for years has consisted of little more than two giant concrete columns.

Real estate brokerage CBRE Group started marketing the SkyVue site and adjacent parcels this spring in a 26-acre offering.

Big plans

If all had gone according to plan over the past two decades, the south Strip would look much different than it does today.

Around early 2001, developers unveiled plans for the 77-acre World Port Resorts, a London-themed casino project across from Mandalay Bay. They never built it.

During the mid-2000s bubble, a developer pitched plans for a 26-story condo tower in the south Strip area, and another developer drew up plans for a two-tower casino project nearby. Like many proposed high-rises from that era, those two projects never materialized.

More recently, Israeli hoteliers bought the Motel 8 property across from Mandalay Bay in 2018 and unveiled plans for a yet-to-be-built flashy resort.

Dream’s developers announced plans for the project in February 2020, the month before the coronavirus outbreak shut off much of Las Vegas’ economy.

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

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