Saturday, December 16, 2006

Las Vegas Real Estate and Development

This is a must read for anyone thinking of buying or investing in Las Vegas right now... enjoy! Steve Harless -

Brian Wargo has written a great article...full credit goes to him

Real Estate and Development

City officials work to calm investors' concerns

By Brian Wargo / Staff Writer

A rendering shows the Cannery Corner, a 300,000 square-foot retail center on 32 acres at the northeast corner of Craig and Losee roads in North Las Vegas. Territory Inc. announced it will begin development on the project early next year.

Las Vegas Mayor Oscar Goodman and city administrators don't want idle speculation or New York news media reports to stop the flow of investment into the community, especially into the downtown area.

Goodman, City Manager Doug Selby and other top staff recently met in New York City with seven of the top investment houses in the U.S. in response to articles claiming that investors are becoming concerned about Las Vegas.

Several articles cited how some luxury condominium projects failed to get built and how there is a slowdown in the housing market, city officials said. Some companies have been leery of investing in Las Vegas because of the fluctuating market and rising construction costs, Goodman said.

Goodman said he's responding in part based on comments from local developers that financing for residential towers isn't as forthcoming, and he wanted to assure investment houses that financing in the community is sound.

Downtown Las Vegas remains a great investment opportunity with its land values well below those on the Las Vegas Strip, city officials said.

"There was evidence from downtown developers that our redevelopment efforts were not on the radar screen of people who make the decisions regarding which projects to fund," said Scott Adams, the city's director of office of business development.

Goodman also said he wanted to correct misconceptions that have surfaced over the last year after the city and developer, The Related Cos., walked away from 10 months of negotiations for the city's development plan of Union Park, a project that has been assumed by Newland Communities.

"After Related left Las Vegas, there were rumors they were unhappy with the economic conditions here," Goodman said. "We wanted to put that to rest."

Goodman said he told the group that the Related pulled out because of his demand that two residential towers be under construction within two years.

City officials met with such investment houses as Credit Suisse/First Boston, Bear Sterns, Goldman Sachs, Guggenheim Partners, GE Capital, Morgan Stanley, Deutsche Bank and Lehman Brothers. Goodman also spoke to the Harvard Club.

Goodman said he's confident the trip was a success in promoting the city and that Las Vegas has turned a corner when it comes to attracting funding for projects. He said he also fielded questions about whether he would seek another term and continue to be the cheerleader for Las Vegas and downtown. He said he told the group he doesn't want to disappoint them and as long as he continues to be happy, he'll run.

City officials said this is the first in a series of trips dealing with financial investment in Las Vegas. Goodman said he invited the financial leaders to visit the community in 2007.

In other news:

Completion is set for mid-2007 for the third and final tower of The Residences at MGM Grand. The second 40-story tower was recently completed. The first tower debuted in June. Less than 90 of the 1,727 suites remain.

The Plise Cos. announced it is on schedule with the construction of its second phase of the Rainbow Sunset Pavilion, which will be completed in the first quarter of 2007. The second of three phases of the office, medical and retail center includes a four-story office building and parking garage. It is on Rainbow Boulevard, north of the Las Vegas Beltway.

Territory Inc. announced it will begin development early next year on Cannery Corner, a 300,000 square-foot power retail center on 32 acres at the northeast corner of Craig and Losee roads in North Las Vegas. The $60 million project, anchored by Sam's Club and Lowes, will be completed by fall.

The second phase of the Stone Canyon luxury loft homes will be completed this month. The gated community of 23 loft-style homes at Buffalo Drive and Del Rey Avenue is a project of Blue Heron.

Construction will be completed this month on the Venture Commerce Center on Eastern Avenue near McCarran International Airport. It will consist of 38 privately owned business properties in four separate buildings.

Boca Raton Luxury Condominiums said it is paying agents 1 percent of pending commissions at the time of contract and financing approval and the remaining 4 percent at the close of escrow. The first phase of the far South Strip project is 97 percent sold and the second building is more than 50 percent sold. The first phase with 378 homes will be complete in early 2007.

The developers of Loft 5, a condominium development that will be ready for move-in this month, will build a six-story condominium project adjacent to it near Las Vegas Boulevard and Pebble Road. It will have 284 units. The first phase has 272 units.

Nigro Construction has started work on the Westgate Retail Center at Warm Springs Road and Gillespie Street. Westgate Resorts is the developer for the $5.4 million project scheduled to be complete in February.

Work is expected to be completed in the first quarter on the region's next multifamily community, The Preserve, located at the southeast corner of Deer Springs Way and Losee Road, The 445-unit complex is a project of Picerne Development Corp.

Chase has teamed up with luxury condo developer, Turnberry, in becoming the preferred mortgage lender for all of Turnberry's U.S. properties, including Las Vegas. It will provide mortgage support for clients at The Residences at MGM Grand and Turnberry Towers.

Las Vegas architectural firm SCA Design was contracted to design a 266,000 square feet mixed-used, mid-rise development called the Realm, which will be located at Rainbow Boulevard between Pebble and Raven streets.

American Nevada Company has paid off its construction loan for the second phase of The District at Green Valley Ranch, reported. The $45.2 million fixed-rate loan was funded by Goldman Sachs Commercial Mortgage Capital. American Nevada is owned by the Greenspun familly, as is In Business Las Vegas.

Chicago-based JDL Development and Las Vegas-based Modern Living Holdings have opened its sales center for The Mercer project, 9700 W. Tropicana Ave.

The Juliet Cos. announced it will break ground in May on its Lake Mead Crossing project in Henderson, a joint venture with Western Retail Real Estate Trust. The 725,000 square foot retail power center is located at southwest corner of Lake Mead Parkway and Water Street. Target has signed for 150,000 square feet. The first phase will open in July 2008.

Brian Wargo covers real estate and development for In Business Las Vegas and its sister publication, the Las Vegas Sun. He can be reached at (702) 443-3604 or by e-mail at