LV high-rise plans sound quite familiar
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.