4 towering apartment projects planned for Las Vegas

Updated June 22, 2017 - 11:54 am

Las Vegas’ housing market is getting plenty of construction, with subdivisions and sprawling apartment complexes opening around the valley.

Now, some investors are looking to build higher.

At least four towering apartment projects in Las Vegas, comprising almost 1,400 units total, have received city approvals since last summer.

Downtown 57 calls for two 15-story towers, one at Maryland Parkway and Lewis Avenue and another nearby at Lewis and 11th Street. There’s also the 18-story Avante Lofts at Hoover Avenue and Sixth Street, the 15-story Thunderbird Lofts on Las Vegas Boulevard just south of Charleston Boulevard and The Midtown-Downtown Project, which calls for 12- and 14-story buildings at Casino Center Boulevard and Hoover.

All of them plan to have commercial space for eateries or other businesses, as well.

The projects have not broken ground yet, and there’s no guarantee that all, or any, of them will get built. But if even one comes out of the ground, it would be the first new residential high-rise in Las Vegas in several years.

The proposals come amid rising rents, shrinking vacancies and an apartment-construction boom that has been heavily concentrated in the suburbs. High-rises are far more expensive to build than the typical rental project in town — a sprawling collection of small buildings with surface parking lots — and developers haven’t constructed any towers lately because they can’t fetch high-enough rents to turn a profit, real estate pros say.

But that hasn’t stopped some investors from laying out plans.

Miro Development owner Kenny Lin, who wants to build Avante Lofts, knows he can’t charge big rents in Las Vegas. But apartment buildings have been filling up.

The valley’s apartment vacancy rate was just 3.3 percent in the first quarter, down from 8.9 percent in the same period in 2011, according to research firm Reis Inc.

“The demand’s there,” Lin said.

‘$100,000 question’

The Molasky Group of Cos. is developing high-rises in Portland and Seattle but none in Southern Nevada. President Rich Worthington said he “just wouldn’t feel comfortable” building a tower here.

The company owns 7,000 apartment units in the valley, with average rents at just over $1 per square foot. A tower would have to charge in the high $2 or low $3 range, Worthington said — prices that are largely out of reach for landlords in Las Vegas, where overall salaries are lower than in cities with high-rise construction.

The median household income in Clark County is around $52,000, compared to about $71,000 in Seattle and $81,000 in San Francisco, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.

Worthington figures the valley will get more towers, but not anytime soon.

“I think we’re going to get there,” he said, “but the $100,000 question is when.”

Apartment developer Jonathan Fore of Fore Property Co. doesn’t think the new projects will all get built. He also wouldn’t be surprised if would-be developers merely wanted to flip their site to other buyers, a not-uncommon tactic during the bubble years last decade.

He figures there’s enough demand to fill one or two new towers, but added, “I could be proven wrong.”

At least one thing seems certain: Construction won’t start anytime soon.

Lin expects to break ground on Avante Lofts in about a year. Thunderbird Lofts developer Ilan Gorodezki, whose Super 8 and Thunderbird motels occupy the project site, said in March that a groundbreaking could be a year away.

Midtown-Downtown developer Kevin Plencner said his construction financing would be backed by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, and under its rules, he needs a contractor with HUD experience. He plans to break ground within six months of hiring the builder, he said.

Downtown 57 developer Daniel Riceberg, a Los Angeles-based broker and investor, wants government subsidies and figures he can’t build the project without them.

“It’ll be really tough, because then the rents have to go up,” he said.

Living small

One way to boost revenue is to have micro-units, or pint-sized apartments that let developers cram in more tenants. Avante’s units would range from around 300 to 1,000 square feet, with most being on the smaller side, Lin said.

When it comes to parking, Midtown-Downtown, for instance, has plans for 633 parking spaces, well above its proposed 458 rental units. But one way developers can cut costs is to build a parking structure with fewer stalls than the project’s total number of homes, in the hope that many renters won’t have a car.

Avante’s plans call for 295 homes and a 180-space parking structure, city documents show.

In Las Vegas, with its sprawling suburbs and limited public transit, Lin knows that residents can’t easily live without a car. But he’s banking on a possible light-rail system, bike-sharing programs and ride-hailing services Uber and Lyft to help move people around and lure them to the city’s core.

The last high-rise residential complex to open in Las Vegas may have been Veer Towers on the Strip in 2010, Lin said.

The valley has a smattering of towers, but if the bubble years went as planned, they would be all over town.

With easy money everywhere, investors last decade laid out plans for dozens of condo towers and other high-rises as part of the “Manhattanization” of Las Vegas. Ultimately, most weren’t built, in some cases leaving giant holes in the ground that still remain.

At an April hearing for Avante Lofts, according to minutes of the meeting, Las Vegas Planning Commission Chairman Trinity Schlottman said that with more of these projects coming before the panel, he hoped “they were not just pipe dreams” and that “they would get built.”

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

Correction: This story has been updated with a new parking-space count for The Midtown-Downtown Project, as the Review-Journal initially received incorrect information from the developer.

Technology reshapes the pawn shop industry
Devin Battersby attaches a black-colored device to the back of her iPhone and snaps several of the inside and outside of a Louis Vuitton wallet. The device, installed with artificial intelligence capabilities, analyzes the images using a patented microscopic technology. Within a few minutes, Battersby receives an answer on her app. The designer item is authentic.
Recreational marijuana has been legal in Nevada for one year
Exhale Nevada CEO Pete Findley talks about the one year anniversary of the legalization of recreational marijuana in Nevada. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Young adults aren't saving for retirement
Financial advisors talk about saving trends among young adults. (Bailey Schulz/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
President Trump’s tariffs could raise costs for real estate developers, analysts say
President Donald Trump made his fortune in real estate, but by slapping tariffs on imports from close allies, developers in Las Vegas and other cities could get hit hard.
Las Vegas business and tariffs
Barry Yost, co-owner of Precision Tube Laser, LLC, places a metal pipe into the TruLaser Tube 5000 laser cutting machine on Wednesday, June 20, 2018, in Las Vegas. Bizuayehu Tesfaye/Las Vegas Review-Journal @bizutesfaye
Nevada Film Office Connects Businesses To Producers
The director of the Nevada Film Office discusses its revamped locations database and how it will affect local businesses. (Bailey Schulz/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Opendoor isn't the typical house flipping company
Unlike most house flippers, the company aims to make money from transaction costs rather than from selling homes for more than their purchase price.
The Venetian gondoliers sing Italian songs
Gondolier Marciano sings a the classic Italian song "Volare" as he leads guests through the canals of The Venetian in Las Vegas. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Building In Logandale
Texas homebuilder D.R. Horton bought 43 lots in rural Logandale. (Eli Segall/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Indoor farming in Southern Nevada
Experts discuss Nevada's indoor farming industry. (Bailey Schulz/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Former Fontainebleau could have become a Waldorf Astoria
Months after developer Steve Witkoff bought the Fontainebleau last summer, he unveiled plans to turn the mothballed hotel into a Marriott-managed resort called The Drew. But if Richard “Boz” Bosworth’s plans didn’t fall through, the north Las Vegas Strip tower could have become a Waldorf Astoria with several floors of timeshare units. (Eli Segall/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
LVCVA CEO Rossi Ralenkotter announces plans to retire
Rossi Ralenkotter, CEO of the LVCVA, on Tuesday confirmed a Las Vegas Review-Journal report that he is preparing to retire. Richard N. Velotta/ Las Vegas Review-Journal
Cousins Maine Lobster to open inside 2 Las Vegas Smith’s stores
Cousins Maine Lobster food truck company will open inside Las Vegas’ two newest Smith’s at Skye Canyon Park Drive and U.S. Highway 95, and at Warm Springs Road and Durango Drive. Cousins currently sells outside some Las Vegas Smith’s stores and at Fremont Street and Las Vegas Boulevard. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Las Vegas home prices to continue to rise, expert says
Lawrence Yun, chief economist at the National Association of Realtors, gives homebuyers a pulse on the Las Vegas housing market. (Eli Segall/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
NV Energy announces clean energy investment
The company is planning to add six solar projects in Nevada, along with the state's first major battery energy storage capacity. Bailey Schulz/Las Vegas Review-Journal
3 Mario Batali restaurants on Las Vegas Strip to close
Days after new sexual misconduct allegations were made against celebrity chef Mario Batali, his company announced Friday that it will close its three Las Vegas restaurants July 27. Employees of Carnevino Italian Steakhouse, B&B Ristorante and Otto Enoteca e Pizzeria, all located in The Venetian and Palazzo resorts, were informed of the decision Friday morning. Bastianich is scheduled to visit the restaurants Friday to speak to employees about the next two months of operation as well as how the company plans to help them transition to new positions.
Nevada has its first cybersecurity apprenticeship program
The Learning Center education company in Las Vegas has launched the first apprenticeship program for cybersecurity in Nevada. It was approved by the State Apprenticeship Council on May 15. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Las Vegas union members voting to authorize the right to strike
Thousands of Las Vegas union members voting Tuesday morning to authorize the right to strike. A “yes” vote would give the union negotiating committee the power to call a strike anytime after June 1 at the resorts that fail to reach an agreement. (Todd Prince/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Small businesses struggle to find qualified candidates
A 2018 survey found that over two-thirds of small businesses in Nevada find it somewhat to very difficult to recruit qualified candidates. Bailey Schulz/Las Vegas Review-Journal
Nevada secretary of state website offers little protection against fraudulent business filings
Property developer Andy Pham tells how control of his business was easily seized by another person using the secretary of state website.
Caesars may be going solo in its marijuana policy
Several Southern Nevada casino companies aren’t following Caesars Entertainment’s lead on marijuana testing.
How much is the Lucky Dragon worth?
Less than a year-and-a-half after it opened, the Lucky Dragon was in bankruptcy.
Gyms and discount stores take over empty retail spaces
Grocery stores used to draw people to shopping centers. But many large retail spaces have been vacant since 2008. Discount stores like goodwill and gyms like EOS Fitness are filling those empty spaces, and helping to draw shoppers back in. K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal
Funding source of Las Vegas stadium for the Raiders is sound, expert says
The stadium is funded in part by $750 million of room taxes, the biggest such tax subsidy ever for a professional sports stadium. Robert Lang, executive director of Brookings Mountain West and The Lincy Institute at UNLV, says that is a good use of public funds. (Richard Velotta/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Las Vegas needs light rail, expert says
Robert Lang, executive director of Brookings Mountain West and the Lincy Institute said he is afraid of a "congestion mobility crisis." Las Vegas needs a light rail system, he said, to accommodate the city's growing number of attractions. (Richard Velotta/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Three takeaways from Wynn Resorts' Earnings Call
Matt Maddox came out swinging in his first earnings conference call as Wynn Resorts chief executive officer, boasting of record Las Vegas quarterly revenues and applicants lining up for work.
Star Wars VR Comes to Las Vegas
Sneak peak at the new "Star Wars: Secrets of the Empire" VR experience at the Grand Canal Shoppes.
Elaine Wynn continues her fight to change Wynn Resorts board
Elaine Wynn, the largest shareholder of Wynn Resorts Ltd., is seeking to kick a friend of her ex-husband Steve Wynn off the company’s board of directors. (Todd Prince/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Zillow is getting into house flipping in Las Vegas
Las Vegas Review-Journal real estate reporter Eli Segall says flipping houses has waned in popularity after the housing bubble burst.
Ellis Island Buys Mt. Charleston Lodge
Ellis Island, which operates a casino, brewery and hotel just off the Strip, purchased the Mt. Charleston Lodge in early April.
News Headlines
Local Spotlight
Add Event
Home Front Page Footer Listing
You May Like

You May Like