Las Vegas’ master-planned communities make steady comeback

Around the Las Vegas Valley, master-planned communities offer housing, parks, retail, schools and other components. And after the economy crashed last decade, these sprawling projects were derailed with practically everything else in the real estate industry.

Among them: Cadence stalled, Summerlin’s developer went bankrupt, Inspirada went bankrupt, Park Highlands went bankrupt twice, and the site of what’s now called Skye Canyon was seized through foreclosure before a single house was built.

Master-planned communities aren’t all roaring with growth today. But with the homebuilding sector revived from its near-death years ago, such projects are back in business.

Here’s an update on some communities around the valley:


The LandWell Co. is developing this 2,200-acre community off Lake Mead Parkway just east of Boulder Highway in Henderson, at the site of a former industrial-waste dump that reportedly underwent more than $120 million in cleanup efforts.

Plans call for 13,250 homes, 1.1 million square feet of commercial property, 450 acres of open space and a 1,500-room casino-resort.

The project is expected to be finished in 10 to 15 years, spokeswoman Cheryl Persinger said.

As of last week, builders had closed about 320 new-home sales in Cadence and were under contract to sell 105, according to figures from Persinger.

A 140,000-square-foot Smith’s supermarket is slated to open by the first quarter of 2018; Lake Mead Christian Academy and Pinecrest Academy both opened in Cadence last August; and a 5,000-square-foot veterinarian’s office is scheduled to open this summer, Persinger said.

Cadence has been planned for years. In late 2004, LandWell reached a deal to sell the site to former builder Centex Homes, but the buyer backed out in early 2007 as the real estate market was softening.

LandWell CEO Mark Paris has said the market crash delayed Cadence’s development.


This 1,500-acre project in Henderson, on the southern edge of the valley, is among the top-selling master-planned communities nationally.

Builders closed 564 new-home sales in Inspirada last year, up 45 percent from 2015, according to consulting firm RCLCO, which ranked the project No. 8 in the country for sales last year.

It’s bounced back from bleak times. According to reports, Las Vegas developer Focus Property Group teamed with a group of homebuilders in 2004 to buy the project site — then covering 1,900-plus acres — at a federal auction for $557 million. Inspirada opened in 2007, but after the market crashed, investors fought with one another over halted land sales, and lenders pushed the project into bankruptcy.

Today, more than 2,250 homes have been built or are under construction, said Jim Rizzi, director of community development for Pardee Homes and Inspirada’s project manager.

He said 7,000 to 8,000 homes would be built in total — the project is allowed 8,500 — and figured it would take eight to 10 more years to finish.

Toll Bros., a builder in Inspirada, has notched four consecutive years of sales growth there, Las Vegas division vice president Larry Wandel said.

As for Inspirada’s darker days, he said: “We’d like to think that it’s ancient history.”


Covering 1,700 acres in the northwest valley, Skye Canyon has approvals for up to 9,000 homes and is being developed by Las Vegas-based Olympia.

Olympia has sold about 160 acres to homebuilders, who have closed perhaps 140 new-home sales, said Chris Armstrong, vice president of development.

He said 60 homes being built are under contract to sell, and another 15 to 20 being built don’t yet have buyers.

Olympia, which started selling land to homebuilders about two years ago, teamed with investment firms Stonehill Capital Management and Spectrum Group Management to acquire the site out of foreclosure.

No homes had been built when they took charge.

Focus Property Group teamed with homebuilders to buy the land at a federal auction in 2005 for $510 million. But the former Wachovia Bank foreclosed in 2008, shortly after New York investment giant Lehman Brothers went bankrupt and helped trigger the U.S. financial crisis.


This North Las Vegas project has been sidetracked in numerous ways and, compared to other master-planned communities featured in this report, has shown perhaps the least amount of progress.

In 2005, Olympia led a group that acquired the site at a federal auction for $639 million. Project plans included 15,750 homes, but Park Highlands went bankrupt in 2009 and again in 2011.

Delays mounted due to the recession and because the ever-changing group of landowners, without anyone appointed to oversee the project, could each block development plans, investors have said.

Landowners received City Council approval in 2014 to split the project in two. One project, dubbed the Villages at Tule Springs, covers about 2,000 acres. The other, which became Park Highlands West but is being renamed Valley Vista, covers 600 acres.

The projects call for 10,000 to 12,000 homes combined, said North Las Vegas government spokeswoman Delen Goldberg.

Developers have estimated a 15-year build-out, but “we know it will move a lot faster than that,” Mayor John Lee said.

“We’re moving very, very quickly,” he said.

So far, however, no homes have been built at either project, according to Lee.

Newport Beach, California-based investment firm KBS, the main landowner in the Villages at Tule Springs, could not comment, a representative said.

A groundbreaking for Valley Vista “is estimated for a possible kickoff” in the second half of this year, said Joe Aguirre, spokesman for Irvine, California-based SunCal, which owns one-third of the site and is managing the development for other landowners there.


The largest master-planned community in Las Vegas, Summerlin covers 22,500 acres along the western rim of the valley. More than 100,000 people live there, or about 5 percent of Clark County’s total population.

The project started taking shape in 1990. But in 2009 its then-developer, General Growth Properties, filed for bankruptcy protection while sinking under $27 billion in debt.

Months earlier, General Growth had mothballed the partially built Shops at Summerlin Centre, leaving a steel skeleton off the 215 Beltway at Sahara Avenue.

When it emerged from bankruptcy in 2010, Chicago-based General Growth spun off Howard Hughes Corp. with control over Summerlin and other projects around the country.

Dallas-based Howard Hughes finished the once-abandoned retail project, now called Downtown Summerlin, in 2014. And Summerlin’s tally of new-home sales is one of the highest among U.S. master-planned communities.

Builders closed 769 new-home sales in Summerlin last year, up 28 percent from 2015, according to RCLCO, which ranked Summerlin No. 5 in the country.

Summerlin is projected to be completed by 2039, according to a securities filing last year.

Contact Review-Journal writer Eli Segall at (702) 383-0342. On Twitter at @eli_segall.

Business Videos
Boulder City housing construction
Boulder City, population 15,970, limits its growth by putting a cap on residential construction. But Las Vegas builder Wayne Laska sees little competition and has launched a 127-home project there. His development, Boulder Hills Estates, will span about 30 acres and is the biggest new housing tract in the city in decades. Home prices start around $410,000. By comparison, the median sales price of newly built homes in the Las Vegas Valley last year was about $383,700.
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)
Salon opens at Veterans Village
T.H.E. Salon, owned by Nicole Christie, celebrated their opening at the Veterans Village with a ribbon cutting ceremony.
Southwest Airlines considering Las Vegas-Hawaii flights
Southwest Airlines CEO Gary Kelly says the airline is "very focused" on Hawaii. Hawaiians have a strong presence in Las Vegas.The city’s unofficial status is “Hawaii’s ninth island.” In 2018, at least 2,958 people from Hawaii moved to Nevada. Of those, 88.7 percent moved into Clark County, according to driver license surrender data. According to the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority, 310,249 people came to Las Vegas from Hawaii in 2018.
Fewer Nevadans are celebrating Valentine's Day
Fewer Nevadans are celebrating Valentine's Day. About 1.2 million Nevadans are expected to celebrate this year, a 5 percent drop from 2018. A growing number of people consider Valentine’s Day over-commercialized. Others weren’t interested in the holiday or had nobody to celebrate with. But spending is expected to rise. Those who do celebrate are buying for more people. The average American is expected to spend about $162 this year for Valentine’s Day, a 57 percent jump from a decade prior. Katherine Cullen, director of industry and consumer insights at NRF
Foreclosures of mansions in Las Vegas
Las Vegas was ground zero for America's foreclosure crisis after the housing bubble burst. (Eli Segall/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Rick Helfenbein talks about the impact of tariffs on the clothing industry
MAGIC fashion convention showcases men's clothing trends
The MAGIC fashion convention has come to Las Vegas at the Mandalay Bay Convention Center to showcase some of the hottest clothing trends for men. (Nathan Asselin/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Allegiant Air flight attendants learn how to handle a water landing
Field instructor Ashleigh Markel talks about training prospective flight attendants for Allegiant Air getting live training with a raft for a water landing at the Heritage Park Aquatic Complex in Henderson on Monday. (John Hornberg/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Smith & Wollensky CEO Michael Feighery speaks
Smith & Wollensky CEO Michael Feighery speaks about the new Smith & Wollensky restaurant coming to the Grand Canal Shoppes at The Venetian in Las Vegas.
Smith & Wollensky CEO Michael Feighery speaks
Smith & Wollensky CEO Michael Feighery speaks about the new Smith & Wollensky restaurant coming to the Grand Canal Shoppes at The Venetian in Las Vegas.
Smith & Wollensky CEO Michael Feighery talks about Las Vegas return
Michael Feighery, CEO of Smith & Wollensky Restaurant Group, discusses the restaurant's upcoming return to the Las Vegas Strip.
Apartments to Come to Hughes Center
Developer Eric Cohen discusses his current building project at the Hughes Center office park in Las Vegas, Thursday, Jan. 31, 2019. Caroline Brehman/Las Vegas Review-Journal
Stratosphere to rebrand to The STRAT
The Stratosphere, a 1,150-foot-tall property in Las Vegas will be renamed The STRAT Hotel, Casino and Skypod.
Home Front Page Footer Listing