Las Vegas Strip Construction - The Disaster and Fear of 2008!

Real Estate Agent with Simply Vegas Real Estate NV. License BS.507

There's even more of it in the media these days, the gloom and doom of Las Vegas. Any cancelled or delayed Las Vegas Strip project making big headlines. I even had a post comment the other day referring to the awful mess of the Echelon project being put on hold, and while not on the Strip, Lake Las Vegas operating in Chapter 11. Without a doubt these aren't the best of times and a recovery from the financial meltdown still needed. But is this really disaster, or looking at Las Vegas only with a 'glass half-full' perspective guided by these negative news stories?

Bankruptcies, delays, and project cancellations are nothing new. They've happened when the economy is churning along at a good clip. Just a few years ago during the boom years, Las Vegas major construction projects were announced by the dozens and dozens. Some never made it further than the announcement, others were cancelled after sales began, but then it hardly spelled disaster.

Stratosphere and Sky Las Vegas

Beginning in 1990 the Stratosphere Tower construction was on-again, off-again, taking it nearly 5 years and requiring an equity partner to come on board along the way to finish it. I see the completed product as a definitive landmark spotted from throughout the valley. A year after opening it also fell into bankruptcy in the middle of the 90's economic tech boom, and was sold. Last year it was sold again along with some other smaller properties for a profitable $1.3 billion. The doors are still open, and several more buildings have been built just in that area since the tower was finished. It's troubles never stopped it or the future development.

Planet Hollywood Las Vegas

The Aladdin Casino also ended up in default within a year of opening in 2000. It got off to a poor start in spite of the praise it often garnered prior to completion. It then fell into the recession declared by March 2001 and the added disaster of 9-11 that became the last straw. It had since been sold, and now fully remodeled as Planet Hollywood. Estimates of at least $1 billion have been invested in the makeover of the now 8 year old property and the Planet Hollywood Towers that are well under construction, topping off this past summer.

That's why I find something interesting in a story found in the Las Vegas Business Press about
UNLV's Construction Management Program. Sure, it was good news that the program has ironed out it's initial difficulties. Even better was that there is a strong local demand for their graduates, for contractors and subcontractors alike. Yet there was more hidden away in the story that goes against the grain of the majority of news today. It began by saying Las Vegas is still a hotbed of construction, and the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority is reporting $28 billion in hotel, casino and convention construction continuing through 2010. Maybe it's me, but that sure doesn't sound as bad as the depressing stories that make the headlines.

There are many other positive bits of Las Vegas real estate news that continue to get buried. The Las Vegas Review Journal recently had a brief mention of Applied Analysis reporting that as of September 22, there were 3079 pending home sales awaiting closing, with another 4368 contingent, for a total of 7447 properties under contract. John Burns Real Estate Consulting also got a quick mention where he states there are home builders, some that declared bankruptcy, that are "licking their chops" and gathering equity partners to prepare to buy up foreclosed residential lots in what "they anticipate as the land-buying opportunity of this generation." Another story skipped by the large outlets, the $1 billion M Resort opening next March has purchased an additional 11.5 acres and received approval for them to be added to their future mixed use project. That currently includes plans for a 1 million square foot mall, and now the development totaling approximately 93 acres. Those are just a few of the many 'glass half-full' news items that never make it to the front page, or the nightly news.

So while these are some challenging economic times nationally and locally, they aren't necessarily as bad as they're more prominently portrayed. It appears there are many here preparing for a future recovery... adapting Las Vegas Real Estate to the Warren Buffet investment strategy of "be fearful when others are greedy, and greedy when others are fearful."


If you are interested in relocating to Las Vegas or would like information on Las Vegas real estate, please email me, Roberta LaRocca, at, or call me at 702-354-8988. I look forward to hearing from you!



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Todd Clark
eXp Realty LLC - Tigard, OR
Principle Broker Oregon

You are right, we only hear of the negative numbers and never the far larger number of the successful projects that are going on. I'm impressed that someone put out the news, but I'm guessing the major local news channels will never report it.

Glad to see the truth came out that things are still being built and construction is going on, it is just the people who started the projects are not the ones finishing the projects.

I guess someones gamble paid off or they wouldn't continue doing it!

Todd Clark, Helping Families Home -

Oct 22, 2008 02:59 AM #1
Mike D
Henderson, NV

Roberta, I think you are my blogging hero!  Always such incredibly researched and well-written articles.  This really needs to be published somewhere.

Oh...and I love the Warren Buffet quote!  I just saw it the other day on CNN and have been chomping at the bit to use it with something.

Oct 22, 2008 03:10 AM #2
Roberta LaRocca
Simply Vegas Real Estate - Las Vegas, NV
REALTOR®, Broker, Salesperson, NV. Lic BS.507

Todd: The negative stuff fills the headlines. Good news, if any included, you have to dig deep to find. Some projects are started & finished by the same, it really depends on planning and timing. Seems there's almost always some interest in picking up where someone left off, and the $28 bil going on now is a pretty healthy investment in the future in my book, especially in the current rough times.  

Mike: Thanks, I try! I caught the quote a few years ago in Forbes when the market was swinging the other way, appropriate to resurrect it with him buying on this side of the swing. He's right, buy low to sell high and he has a pretty long run of success doing it!



Oct 23, 2008 09:53 PM #3

I'm sick of all the negative campaign ads. Everything is bad and it's all the other guys fault. No wonder why everyone is down thats all you hear.

Oct 24, 2008 09:36 AM #4
Roberta LaRocca
Simply Vegas Real Estate - Las Vegas, NV
REALTOR®, Broker, Salesperson, NV. Lic BS.507

Bob: Have to agree. If it's not on TV it's in the mailbox or a voicemail. It's been a real slam of constant mud slinging and negativity.

Oct 26, 2008 07:22 PM #5
Mobile Austin Notary
Apostille/Authentication/Embassy Legalization, Notary Public, Loan Signing Agent & Process Server Services - Austin, TX

Well as much negativity as there is reading your bogs has help see a little light in all that surounds us. Butterfly

Dec 03, 2008 03:31 AM #6
Roberta LaRocca
Simply Vegas Real Estate - Las Vegas, NV
REALTOR®, Broker, Salesperson, NV. Lic BS.507

Jenette: I try to see some of the bright side, there are still some good things happening for the future. We aren't in wonderful shape, but if everyone stays focused on the negatives, we're much more likely to head that way.

Dec 04, 2008 07:20 PM #7
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Roberta LaRocca

REALTOR®, Broker, Salesperson, NV. Lic BS.507
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