LV high-rise plans sound quite fa­mil­iar

Las Vegas Review-Journal - - BUSINESS -

IT’S a time-hon­ored tra­di­tion in Las Ve­gas. Would-be de­vel­op­ers send out im­pres­sive ren­der­ings for a big project and get the stamp of ap­proval from lo­cal gov­ern­ment, plus some news cov­er­age. But in the end, their idea never gets off the draw­ing board. They may even get slapped with some law­suits along the way.

In Sun­day’s Las Ve­gas Re­view-jour­nal, we look at a hand­ful of big de­vel­op­ments that were pro­posed in re­cent years but have not come out of the ground, from EX-NBA player Jackie Robin­son’s arena and ho­tel project on the north Strip to a 140,000-square­foot Smith’s su­per­mar­ket in Hen­der­son.

Be­cause of space con­straints, we weren’t able to in­clude an­other set of plans: In the past few years, sev­eral de­vel­op­ers re­ceived ap­provals for apart­ment tow­ers but haven’t built them.

The high-rise push doesn’t come close to the wild real es­tate bub­ble of the mid-2000s, when, dur­ing the “Man­hat­taniza­tion” of Las Ve­gas, in­vestors laid out plans for tow­ers through­out the val­ley, in­clud­ing on and near the Strip, down­town and in the south­west val­ley.

Most were never built. In some cases, the project sites ended up as aban­doned holes in the ground.

To­day, Las Ve­gas’ con­struc­tion mar­ket is heat­ing up, but no one is build­ing res­i­den­tial tow­ers. De­vel­op­ers can’t fetch big enough rents to turn a profit, in­dus­try pros say, but that hasn’t stopped in­vestors from cook­ing up ideas.

Plans for Thun­der­bird Lofts called for a 15-story tower to oc­cupy the Su­per 8 and Thun­der­bird mo­tel sites on Las Ve­gas Boule­vard be­tween the Strip and down­town. The de­vel­oper, Ilan Gorodezki, who owns the mo­tels, said re­cently that he bought some ad­ja­cent prop­erty and that “our plans are still to build one day.”

He in­di­cated the project could change, say­ing it “could also be a ho­tel,” and that he didn’t want to de­mol­ish ev­ery­thing and “get stuck with a hole in the ground.”

In­vest­pro Realty owner Kenny

Lin, who set out to build the 18-story Avante Lofts at Hoover Av­enue and Sixth Street, has put the va­cant lot up for sale. The project is “not to­tally dead,” but con­struc­tion costs have soared, and apart­ment rents aren’t high enough, he said.

Kevin Plenc­ner, de­vel­oper of The Mid­town-down­town Project, said last year that his fi­nanc­ing would be backed by the U.S. Depart­ment of Hous­ing and Ur­ban Devel­op­ment. He in­di­cated re­cently that he was still try­ing to land a Hud-qual­i­fied con­trac­tor for the project, which called for 12- and 14-story build­ings at Casino Cen­ter Boule­vard and Hoover.

“We are cau­tious and con­ser­va­tive, which is why we are tak­ing our time,” he said in an email.

Daniel Rice­berg said his Down­town 57 project, which called for two 15-story tow­ers near The Gay and Les­bian Com­mu­nity Cen­ter of South­ern


Econ­o­mists say the Trump ad­min­is­tra­tion’s trade war with China, which has led it to im­pose tar­iffs on $250 bil­lion of Chi­nese im­ports, has so far had only a lim­ited im­pact. Hunter sug­gested that the dol­lar’s rise in value this year, which makes im­ports less ex­pen­sive for Amer­i­cans, might be off­set­ting much of the im­pact of the tar­iffs.

Whole­sale prices for pork rose by the most in more than two years last month. But Stephen Stan­ley, chief econ­o­mist at Amherst Pier­pont, said that likely marked a snap­back af­ter China im­posed re­tal­ia­tory tar­iffs on U.S. pork ear­lier this year. Those tar­iffs ini­tially de­pressed China’s pur­chases and forced pork farm­ers to lower their prices. That trend now ap­pears to be re­vers­ing it­self, Stan­ley said.

The Fed­eral Re­serve is keep­ing a close eye on price changes as it mon­i­tors the econ­omy for signs of over­heat­ing.

The un­em­ploy­ment rate is at a five-decade low of 3.7 per­cent, and com­pa­nies are rais­ing wages and salaries to at­tract and keep work­ers. Aver­age hourly pay rose in Oc­to­ber

from a year ear­lier at the fastest pace in nearly a decade.

Com­pa­nies may have to raise prices to off­set the costs of higher pay, which could spur higher in­fla­tion. But busi­nesses could also in­vest in more ma­chin­ery and soft­ware to make their em­ploy­ees more ef­fi­cient, which would en­able them to pay more with­out rais­ing prices.

Fed pol­i­cy­mak­ers fin­ished a two-day meet­ing Thurs­day with­out chang­ing the short-term in­ter­est rate they con­trol. But most econ­o­mists ex­pect the Fed will hike short-term rates for a fourth time this year when it next meets in De­cem­ber. The Fed has sig­naled it ex­pects to raise rates three more times next year.

Af­ter its meet­ing Thurs­day, the Fed is­sued a state­ment that sug­gested it saw lit­tle sign that in­fla­tion would ac­cel­er­ate be­yond its 2 per­cent tar­get. Con­sumer prices rose 2.3 per­cent in Septem­ber from a year ear­lier.

Fri­day’s re­port showed that whole­sale gas prices rose 7.6 per­cent in Oc­to­ber and food costs in­creased 1 per­cent. The price of new cars fell 0.7 per­cent, as au­tomak­ers in­tro­duced their new car mod­els last month. Newer cars typ­i­cally in­clude ad­di­tional fea­tures and the gov­ern­ment re­flects that by low­er­ing its mea­sure of auto prices.

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