Las Vegas Boulevard parcels left out of land-buying boom

Real estate investors have been scooping up land across the Las Vegas Valley for new projects, from apartment sites in Henderson to housing tracts in Summerlin.

But they’re largely avoiding one area in particular, the lifeblood of Southern Nevada’s economy, no less: Las Vegas Boulevard.

Land sales have climbed from the depths of the recession in Las Vegas, but few people are buying the vacant parcels for sale on the Strip and south of the resort corridor. Prices are too high, parcels are too big, and large-scale developments aren’t feasible today, brokers and investors say.

The lack of sales can crimp construction, but it also shows that the go-go days of last decade’s real estate bubble haven’t come back and probably won’t anytime soon — which might be a good thing, given how badly it all ended.

Offerings south of the Strip include roughly 110 acres priced at $200 million, 56.6 acres for sale at $40 million and 108.7 acres listed for $70.6 million. On the Strip, roughly 5.5 acres is priced above $160 million, according to listings and brokers.

Parcels aren’t selling for key reasons, Land Advisors Organization broker Rick Hildreth said.

“They’re way overpriced, and there’s really just no demand,” he said.

Khusrow Roohani, owner of Seven Valleys Realty & Construction, was among those who sold big before the crash. He and partner Daniel Kramer bought 31.6 acres at Robindale Road, south of the Strip, in 2004 for $26 million and sold two years later for $103 million, according to Clark County records.

In 2009, that parcel and others nearby were acquired through foreclosure. Roohani’s group, it turned out, sold around the peak of the bubble.

“Otherwise,” he said, “we would be like everybody else – in trouble today.”

BUBBLE-ERA PRICES GONE

Before the market tanked, property on Las Vegas Boulevard – at least from the tourist district to suburban St. Rose Parkway – sold for amounts that seem all but impossible today. Investors also built or drew up plans for condo towers, megaresorts or other super-sized projects that developers largely aren’t pursuing anymore.

Many of the still-vacant parcels weren’t supposed to stay empty. Projects that went nowhere include a roughly 25-story resort condo tower on the south Strip; Urban Village Las Vegas, a 50-acre, $1.5 billion mixed-use project at Pyle Avenue south of the Strip; and 14 towers with 2,760 condos at Starr Avenue.

On the Strip, available parcels aren’t all especially big, but prices are steep.

Developer Triple Five is asking $30 million per acre, or more than $160 million, for property next to the Peppermill restaurant. Owners of the boarded-up White Sands Motel, across from the Luxor, have listed the 1.1-acre site for $25 million.

And investor Howard Bulloch has been trying to sell 38.5 acres, including his failed, partially built SkyVue observation-wheel project across from Mandalay Bay. Brokers said last fall that he wanted more than $10 million an acre, or more than $385 million.

At such prices, industry pros say, buyers might have to build an expensive, high-density project with potential for big revenue, like a condo tower or casino-resort, to make a profit. But even if they got financing to buy the land — itself no guarantee — it’s not easy getting construction funding.

Las Vegas’ once-battered economy is on stronger footing, but with easy money no longer sloshing around, the market for mega-projects is nowhere near what it used to be. No one is building condo towers in Las Vegas today, and two resorts underway on the Strip, Resorts World and Alon, have shown little to no progress getting built despite being on the drawing board for a few years.

As it stands, Las Vegas doesn’t need “additional hotel supply,” and the condo market “still hasn’t recovered to a point where it makes sense” to build more towers, as developers can’t fetch high-enough prices, said broker Michael Parks, of CBRE Group’s global gaming group.

On the Strip, most parcels for sale are at the south edge. Broker Curt Allsop of Newmark Grubb Knight Frank figures buyers would pay $2 million per acre there, “maybe” $4 million, but “a lot of that dirt is probably listed for about twice what the market will pay.”

Also, some owners on the Strip want bubble-era prices.

The White Sands’ ownership, Parks recently told the Las Vegas Sun, is asking “a ridiculously high price that they’ll never get.”

John Knott, head of CBRE’s global gaming group, said of Triple Five’s price tag: “There’s no market support for that price whatsoever.”

BIG AND EXPENSIVE

South of the Strip, stretches of land are up for grabs on Las Vegas Boulevard, but they’re too big and too expensive, brokers say.

Apartment developers might need 15 to 20 acres for a project, not 100, and homebuilders don’t need that much for a subdivision either.

Moreover, three big casino-resorts are on or near the boulevard south of the Strip — Silverton, South Point and M Resort — and it seems no one expects another one anytime soon.

“You have all these large pieces of property, and what can you build on them?” one broker said.

Perhaps the biggest sale by acreage in recent years was homebuilder D.R. Horton’s purchase in 2013 of about 40 acres at Starr Avenue, for $14.25 million.

“All these guys are holding out for the next megaresort,” Allsop said of landowners.

One issue, brokers say, is that some owners refuse to sell big holdings in pieces.

Swedish furniture chain Ikea was looking to buy 30 acres on Las Vegas Boulevard near Warm Springs Road for $30 million. But investment firm Lone Star Funds, which owns about 110 acres there and is trying to sell for $200 million, wanted to unload the whole site, not just a portion of it, according to people familiar with the matter.

Ikea ended up buying 26 acres at Sunset Road and Durango Drive in late 2014 and opened its 351,000-square-foot store this past May.

Ikea spokesman Joseph Roth said the retailer was “in a variety of discussions about various sites” along Interstate 15 and the 215 Beltway, and it “decided to pursue the opportunity” in southwest Las Vegas “due to location, access and visibility.”

Lone Star declined to comment.

All told, plenty of landowners spent a fortune for their property. But many who can’t come to terms with today’s sharply reduced values are “still looking in the rear-view mirror,” Allsop said, to a time of overblown prices and super-sized projects.

“Sorry,” he said, “those days are gone.”

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

ad-high_impact_4
Business
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.
Casinos to be penalized for allowing drug-impaired customers to gamble
Nevada Gaming Commission Chairman Tony Alamo talks about an amendment making casinos subject to the same disciplinary standards of preventing people to gamble if impaired by drugs as they are for letting them play while intoxicated by alcohol.
Terrible Herbst to open large travel center in Southern Nevada
The 50,000-square-foot commercial travel center will include 96 fuel pumps and the third White Castle restaurant in Southern Nevada. Wade Tyler Millward reports.
Art Bell’s Top 10 Shows
A selection of radio host Art Bell’s most popular shows.
Hooters owner talks about room upgrades at his hotel-casino
George Ruff, founder and senior principal of Trinity Hotel Investors L.L.C., owner of Hooters Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas, talks about recent room upgrades at the hotel. K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal
Passengers Discuss Allegiant Air
Allegiant Air passengers voice their views on the airline at McCarran International Airport on April 16, 2018. (Bailey Schulz/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Longtime Las Vegas attorney John Momot dies at age 74
Criminal defense attorney John Momot, who represented mob figures and even played himself in the movie “Casino,” has died.
Trump Slams Amazon for Not Paying Enough in Taxes
Trump Slams Amazon for Not Paying Enough in Taxes Trump tweeted his concerns about the company on Thursday. This isn't the first time Trump commented on the issues via Twitter. August 2017 December 2017 Amazon did hold back on paying state taxes in 1995, but the company has been routinely collecting state sales taxes since then. In 2016, the company's report from the Securities and Exchange Commission confirmed it paid $412 million in taxes.
David Copperfield in court after man injured during magic trick
The attorney for a British man who is suing illusionist David Copperfield said his client suffered serious injuries after being called on stage during Copperfield's show at MGM Grand.
eyecandylab CEO shows augmented reality during NAB
Robin Sho Moser, CEO and co-founder of eyecandylab gives an augmented reality demonstration at his booth during the National Association of Broadcaster Show at the Las Vegas Convention Center. K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal
Trends in access to capital for local black business owners
Denette Braud, owner of Braud’s Funnel Cake Cafe, talks about what owning her own business means to her.
Sir Richard Branson announces purchase of Hard Rock Hotel
Sir Richard Branson, founder of the Virgin Group, has acquired the Hard Rock Hotel with partners and plans to turn it into a Virgin-branded property by the end of 2019.
Calvary Christian Learning Academy, “There was no fair warning.”
Samantha O’Brien, whose three-year-old daughter attended the Calvary Christian Learning Academy daycare, found out Monday night when her daughter’s teacher called about the school closing.
Adobe unveils #HackTheBracket application for March Madness
Adobe unveiled their #HackTheBracket application at the Adobe Summit trade show at Sands Expo. People can use data from Adobe Analytics to make their bracket for March Madness. K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal
Adidas Signs Yankees' Star Aaron Judge
Adidas Signs New York Yankees Star Aaron Judge The slugger is set to don a new set of stripes this season after signing with the apparel company. Aaron Judge Terms of the deal were not disclosed. The deal includes branding on his batting gloves and wristbands. Judge, the AL's reigning Rookie of the Year, was previously under contract with Under Armour since 2014. Judge won the American League Rookie of the Year award last season after setting an MLB record for most homers in a rookie season (52).
Esports athletes are sponsored, too
Meet Red Bull-sponsored professional esports player Daryl S. Lewis, better known by his in-game name Snake Eyez. Nicole Raz Las Vegas Review-Journal.
Bettor Investments turned into a bad bet
Bettor Investments formerly operated a Nevada-licensed entity betting operation. The company promised “conservative growth, profits and stability for our investors.” Matt Stuart, who ran the fund, shut it down in late 2016 and never made good on an agreement with shareholders.
Starbucks Will Give You $10 Million for a Better Cup Design
Starbucks Will Give You $10 Million for a Better Cup Design Get your thinking caps on because the company is looking for a new cup that's easier to recycle. The $10 million grant challenge sees Starbucks partnering with investor group Closed Loop Partners for the project. According to CNN Money, Aside from the new cup design challenge, Starbucks stated it will test a cup with an inner lining made from plant fibers to prevent hot liquid from leaking. Will you join the challenge for #Bettercups?
Las Vegas bartenders who worked the Route 91 Harvest Music Festival question what they were paid
Reneé Black, left, and her husband Griffin Black talk to the Review-Journal at their home in Las Vegas, Tuesday, March 6, 2018. Reneé was a bartender at Route 91, and Griffin was a bar back. They were hired as independent contractors, but received forms months later indicating they were employees. They also were never paid their last day of tips. Nicole Raz/Las Vegas Review-Journal.
Bad-beat jackpot money will finally be awarded
People who thought they had won in Station Casinos’ “bad beat jackpot” poker promotion were unhappy. They waited months to get paid. And now the bad-beat jackpot is gone.
New developments coming to Las Vegas' Craig Road
Gina Gavan, economic and business development director for North Las Vegas, discusses new development projects on Craig Road in North Las Vegas. Art Marroquin/ Las Vegas Review-Journal
Companies bet their futures on cryptocurrency
Two Las Vegas entrepreneurs talk about finding their niche in blockchain enabled technologies and digital currency.
Solar panels reduce energy bill for CCSD
Wilbur and Theresa Faiss Middle School is one of 42 CCSD schools with solar panel installations, saving approximately $514,000 per year in energy costs.
Dallisa Hocking And A Grandmothers Psychic Gift
Dallisa Hocking’s new “boutique soul center” pays tribute to her late Grandma Ellie. (John Przybys/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Can't pay the IRS? You do have options
There's a little more than five weeks until this year’s tax filing deadline of April 17. But many small business owners are wondering, “How am I going to pay my taxes?” When owners haven’t set aside enough money to cover what they owe the government, they have options. — The easiest and cheapest alternative may be to dip into personal savings. — If you have available credit, you may want to borrow from a lender or credit card. — Also, the IRS can work out an installment payment plan.
Amazon Offering Discounted Prime Memberships to Medicaid Recipients
Amazon Offering Discounted Prime Memberships to Medicaid Recipients Individuals with a valid Medicaid or Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT) card The $5.99 membership can be renewed every year for up to four years. The reduced Prime membership comes with the same benefits of a standard one, including free two-day shipping, Prime Video, Prime Music and Prime Now. Last year, Amazon also joined a USDA pilot program that allows those receiving government assistance through the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program to buy groceries through online markets like Amazon's FreshDirect or Walmart.
Jeff Bezos New Net Worth Revealed, Still Richest Man Alive
At the end of 2017, Bezos was estimated to be worth $112 billion, earning the top spot on Forbes' world's billionaires list. According to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index, the Amazon founder's net worth is now $127 billion, which the report states is the combined wealth of 2.3 million Americans.
Dick's Sporting Goods Ends Sale of Assault Weapons Florida School Shooting
Dick's Sporting Goods Ends Sale of Assault Weapons Florida School Shooting The retailer announced the move in an open letter and an appearance by CEO Ed Stack on 'Good Morning America.' Ed Stack, (Good Morning America) Ed Stack, (Good Morning America) Dick's is also ending the sale of high-capacity magazines and sales of guns to people under 21 years old. The company ended the sale of assault weapons at Dick's-branded stores after the Newtown, Conn. school shooting in 2012. However, they were still selling them at its 35 Field & Stream locations. Nikolas Cruz, 17, shot and killed 17 students at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Florida on Feb. 14.
Black History Month panel gives Las Vegas entrepreneurs advice
Five people with experience in business and government spoke Friday to the Urban Chamber of Commerce in Las Vegas Among their advice: line up potential clients before starting a business, attend networking events and seek advice from experts in the industry The chamber, founded in 1980, has hundreds of members and focuses on the welfare of black-owned businesses in Las Vegas
TOP NEWS
News Headlines
ad-infeed_1
ads_infeed_2
Local Spotlight
Events
Home Front Page Footer Listing
Circular
You May Like

You May Like