Have the good times returned to the Las Vegas Strip?
Some people say we’re back to pre-recession days, since billions of dollars are once again being invested on the Strip. And there is almost 100 acres of land for sale within the famed resort corridor.
But with other projects, including Genting’s $4 billion Strip resort breaking ground - is there really demand for a 60-acre site between Planet Hollywood and the Hard Rock Hotel, which at one time or another was slated to become home to a W Las Vegas, an urban D.R. Horton development and the Las Ramblas resort?
John Knott is executive vice president with CBRE Las Vegas and represents the former Las Ramblas property. According to Knott, this is one of the most exciting properties to become available in many years.
He told KNPR’s State of Nevada that it could be turned into something like CityCenter, where guests arrive and can stay within its confines because dining, gaming and shopping are all there. It could also become a timeshare property or apartments.
Whatever ends up on the land, Knott believes it is another sign that property prices in the resort corridor are returning.
“The good times fell off the map for a while,” Knott said, “This is a market that has seen some recoveries in land values.”
Support comes from
Knott said some of the top private developers who were interested in property in Las Vegas during the boom are back now that the recovery is in full swing.
“I think we’re starting to see interest from those people once again as the market recovers,” Knott said.
He points to the Genting project, Crown Resorts and the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authorities’ plans for the Riviera as reasons for locals to be excited about what’s ahead.
“Our citizens should be pretty darn excited,” Knott said.
Gaming writer for the Las Vegas Review-Journal Howard Stutz agrees that there is a lot of optimism but there are still a lot questions.
“In some sense, there is are still some mirages in the desert,” Stutz said.
He pointed to the New Frontier property next to Genting’s Resorts World Las Vegas project. It was bought a year ago, but nothing about its future has been announced since then.
“It’s not the heyday. Nobody thinks it’s going to get back to that,” Stutz said. He said it’s not like flipping a light switch, it will take time.
For instance, it took two years for Genting to break ground, but Stutz said that when Resorts World opens it will spur more growth, and not just in the resort corridor.
“As the Strip kind of recovers and we start to see more construction that bods well for the local gaming companies,” Stutz said.
Editor and founder of VitalVegas.com Scott Roeben is hopeful about the future but thinks developers are still very cautious.
“I love to jump on the optimism bandwagon because I think there are lot of things to be optimistic about,” Roeben said, “There is this underlying kind of skepticism or tentativeness it keeps people from fully being onboard with the optimism, I think.”
He said the north end of the Strip is still struggling and problems at the SLS Las Vegas are an example of that.
“The SLS is having a rough time. It’s a tough time on that part of the Strip,” Roeben said.
Stutz believes the convention center project will help the north end but the biggest improvement would be a decision on the Fontainebleau, which is currently sitting abandoned at 70 percent finished.
“The key also is the Fontainbleau. The Fontainebleau needs to demolished or restarted,” Stutz said. “It’s an eyesore.”
For his part, Knott thinks the north end is really the future of the Strip.
“The rest of the Strip is pretty much built. That just leaves the north end of the Strip,” he said, “I think there is an opportunity for some fabulous development projects to come on board on the north end of the Strip in the years ahead”
After years of repercussions from the Great Recession, the world-famous Las Vegas Strip could finally see more changes from the new owners of the Tropicana Hotel-Casino to MGM Resort Internationals’ plans for the Monte Carlo.
While there is optimism, it is more pragmatic.
“I think people are excited about the new projects but there is this kind of tentative excitement because everybody got burned,” Roeben said.
John Knott, executive vice president, CBRE Las Vegas; Howard Stutz, gaming columnist, Las Vegas Review-Journal; Scott Roeben, editor and founder, VitalVegas.com
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