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‘Epicenter of Las Vegas’: $67M downtown high-rise to start construction in fall

Updated May 29, 2024 - 1:49 pm

The Cello Tower high-rise condominium project announced it has sold 39 of its 240 units valued at $67 million as it prepares to start construction this fall ahead of a late 2026 opening. There are reservations for another 90 residences.

The 240 units in the 32-story tower are part of a larger mixed-use development in Symphony Park in downtown Las Vegas — a project coming at a time when demand for luxury condos is strong. Applied Analysis reported Las Vegas set an all-time record for the average sales price of $828,902 during the first quarter, a 42.5 percent increase over the first quarter of 2022.

The demand has contributed to price increases at the Cello Tower where last fall prices started at $700,000 for traditional units and $4.5 million for penthouses. The prices now start in the upper $700,000s while penthouses start in the high $6-million-dollar-range and go to just under $9 million, according to Patrick Brennan, CEO of Red Ridge Development, the developer of the project.

“As we continue to look at demand and adjust for construction pricing, we are already under contract for one of the penthouses that went for $8.9 million,” Brennan said. “There’s strong demand and market strength in other condo sales like with the Waldorf Astoria. For us, even with the price point we’re at, we’re price-per-square-foot under the Waldorf Astoria and substantially more competitive than other new construction projects. We’re also locking in our pricing now. We’re not going to be making adjustments during construction.”

Brennan said he’s not surprised by the record-setting prices for high-rises during the first quarter from where it was two years ago. There’s increased demand with migration to Las Vegas aided by sports, the diversification of the economy and businesses relocating.

“I think we’re underserved in condo high-rise living and you’re going to see a lot more condo high-rises coming to the market as the demand for different real estate types will continue to increase,” Brennan said.

Cello Tower and the Four Seasons Private Residences under construction in MacDonald Highlands in Henderson are the first high-rises planned since the opening of Veer Towers in 2010. The most recent project completed is at the Summit Club in Henderson, but that has low-rise luxury condos in the golf-course development.

Many of the Cello buyers are Las Vegas residents looking to move out of older high-rises and seeking updated amenities and finishes, Brennan said. Cello will have an elevated pool, pet spa, entertainment kitchen and cold plunge while the overall development has a grocery store and other retail.

The project has attracted older residents who live in suburban homes who want to downsize, who want to be closer to work, who want to travel without worrying about their homes, and who want to be in a walkable community and take in the culture of Symphony Park, Brennan said.

“Our neighborhood of Symphony Park is quickly becoming the epicenter of Las Vegas,” Brennan said. “You have the Smith Center, the Frank Geary-designed Cleveland Clinic and now you’re going to have the Elaine Wynn Las Vegas Museum of Art. It’s all pretty incredible within the 61 acres of Symphony Park. It doesn’t feel like you’re living on top of the Strip. It has its own neighborhood. You have children playing in the Discovery Children’s Museum and people walking their dogs and running. It feels like a suburb, but it’s in the central business district in downtown Las Vegas.”

In addition to the 39 sales in which buyers select a unit and finishes, open escrow and put down a $10,000 deposit that is refundable to them if they pull out, there are about 120 priority reservations as well, Brennan said. By the end of the summer, buyers who put down deposits will be required to put down 20 percent of the purchase price that isn’t refundable.

About 30 percent to 40 percent of the buyers are expected to use cash, and Brennan said those who take out mortgages will be better positioned for lower rates in two years when they close.

“You’re locking in your price today but you’re closing isn’t occurring until 2026,” Brennan said. “If you look at what the Federal Reserve is projecting as far as interest rates by the end of 2026, that is a significant amount of reduction. From a timing perspective, it’s great for those who feel trapped and want to purchase a home but the interest rate is too high.”

Earlier this month, Brennan said they’ve submitted construction documents to the city of Las Vegas to obtain permits. The expectation is that the documents will be approved by August with construction starting in September.

The first phase will open during the fourth quarter of 2026 and the project will be completed by the second quarter of 2027. The development includes retail uses at the base of the tower with a grocery store. There’s also an office building and 153 apartments above the retail area separate from the condo tower.

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