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Some bubble-era project sites in Las Vegas still vacant

The scars of the recession have largely faded from Las Vegas’ once-battered real estate market. Foreclosures have plunged, formerly abandoned projects have been finished and the construction industry has come back to life.

But around town, there are still plenty of reminders of Las Vegas’ wild real estate boom and devastating crash.

Here’s a look at five sites where investors set out to build high-rises during the mid-2000s bubble, and what’s there today.

Needless to say — as outlined in news reports, Clark County records and press releases — things didn’t go as planned.

Sullivan Square

In 2006, Las Vegas and Irish developers teamed up to build Sullivan Square, a multi-tower project at Sunset Road and Durango Drive in the southwest valley. Plans called for 1,380 residential units, 45,000 square feet of retail space and 272,000 square feet of offices.

The valley was in the throes of a high-rise craze known as the “Manhattanization” of Las Vegas. But like most proposals from that real estate rush, Sullivan Square was never built – and like numerous other bubble-era projects, it was hit with litigation.

Contractors sued the developers, and the development team’s Las Vegas half sued its Irish partner, claiming its failure “to timely and sufficiently fund” Sullivan Square led to lawsuits, liens and a halt in construction.

The project site, across from Ikea, remains a giant hole in the ground.

Pollyanna Motel site

In 2004, Todd Roth of Florida, through his company Metropolitan Land Development, acquired the Pollyanna Motel off the south Strip for more than $18 million. Soon after, New Jersey lender Kennedy Funding announced it had financed the deal on a few days’ notice.

“There are no ‘bad’ years in Las Vegas, as evidenced by sure, steady growth and a healthy, ongoing construction market,” the announcement said.

Roth filed plans to develop a 26-story condo tower and, court records show, reached a deal to sell the 1.76-acre parcel for a jaw-dropping $65 million. But the sale fell through, the tower wasn’t built, and the property went into foreclosure in 2008.

Last year, operators of the Pinball Hall of Fame bought the parcel for about $4.5 million and said they wanted to build a facility that would look, on the outside, like a pinball machine.

The land is still empty.

Pinnacle Las Vegas

Once home to a Honda dealership, this site near The Orleans was earmarked for a massive project during the go-go years: two 36-story towers linked with three levels of sky bridge suites.

The $850 million hotel-condo project, Pinnacle Las Vegas, was supposed to have 1,100 units, a hibiscus-shaped pool, a putting green, and more.

But the project was never built, and the site traded hands through foreclosure in 2013.

Clark County commissioners in 2017 approved plans for a five-story, 293-unit residential complex there. The property, on Tropicana Avenue at Cameron Street, is still empty.

One Trop

Marvin Lipschultz, owner of the Golden Palm hotel at Tropicana Avenue and Dean Martin Drive, drew up plans by 2005 to replace it with a 41-story resort. But the tower, One Trop, was never built.

The Golden Palm was demolished in 2016, after being closed for years, and the parcel, across from In-N-Out Burger, has two newly built hotels – a five-story TownePlace Suites and a five-story Home2 Suites.

Ivana Las Vegas

In 2004, Australian developers unveiled plans for a 73-story condo tower at the northeast corner of Las Vegas Boulevard and Sahara Avenue, across from what’s now the SLS Las Vegas.

Initially known as the Summit, the project was slated to have a $35 million penthouse called the “cockpit,” and the sales office featured flashing lights, smoke machines and thumping music, the Las Vegas Sun reported.

By 2005, the project’s name had changed to Ivana Las Vegas after Donald Trump’s ex-wife Ivana Trump agreed to put her name on it. Press releases at the time said the tower would rise 80 stories.

“In Las Vegas, size does matter,” one announcement said.

The site was sold in 2007 for $47 million but went into foreclosure in 2010 after the economy crashed. The tower was never built.

Today, the property has a Walgreens.

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

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