For more than 6 years, plots of land sat as untouched empty ruins of construction projects, halted by the Great Recession of 2008. The Real Estate market in Las Vegas, littered with vacant buildings and abandoned work sites, is headed for a comeback bolstered by an improved economy and an uptick in tourism. There’s been a drop in unemployment from 14.4% in 2010 to 7.2% in September of this year. The construction sector is expected to continue building itself back up into 2015 with both new builds and the restart of some stalled projects.
Las Vegas is currently seeing its biggest boon since the one of 2005, begun by Steve Wynn. Several high-rises, condominiums, mixed-use facilities, hotel, and many other projects are in various stages of planning, development, and construction. Las Vegas Boulevard, also known as the strip, is constantly changing. One of the newest additions to the strip is the High Roller, a 550-foot tall giant Ferris Wheel which was part of Caesar’s Entertainments almost $600 million LINQ project. The High Roller opened in March of this year and is the world’s tallest observation wheel.
In August, the SLS Las Vegas, located on the north end of the strip, opened its doors. Considered a mixed-use resort and casino, it boasts a collection of retail establishments, more than 1600 guest rooms and suites, 30,000 sq. ft. of meeting and convention space, and a number of restaurants and nightlife brands.
The strip will soon be home to a 10-acre Central Park themed park. Currently under construction and scheduled to open in 2016, it will be located in front of the New York New York and Monte Carlo casinos, and is designed to include trees, food trucks, park benches, and a miniature replica of the Brooklyn Bridge. Visitors to the spot will be able to take a relaxing stroll through the park, take a breather in the beer garden, and enjoy a burger and shake at Shake Shack, a favorite upscale burger joint in New York City.
One project that has faltered is the Las Vegas Downtown Project. The $350 million development project was the brainchild of Tony Hsieh, the founder and CEO of Zappos. His goal was to make the downtown area a place that inspired and encouraged creativity and entrepreneurship. The project now 5 years in, laid off 30% of its staff in recent months, and Tony, though still a major investor, has stepped down from the lead role and is now acting more in a consulting and advisory capacity.
One of the locations within the Downtown Project that seems to be working is The Downtown Container Park, a shopping center made up of mostly shipping containers (also known as intermodal containers that get loaded on trains and ships from manufacturers). Basically, it’s a mall, but yet it’s unique in that the shops and bars aren’t typical to your average mall. They’re very quirky and diverse. There’s a playground for the kids, as well as other children’s programming, free entertainment focused on the adult visitor, including music performances, and movie night. It’s a little off the beaten path, but you can’t miss it. Just look for the giant fire-breathing praying mantis positioned outside the gates to welcome you in.
All in all what investors and the real estate industry as a whole are looking to see, is continued sustainable growth, without the spikes of the 2000’s. There’s quite a lot of properties, hotels and casinos, that need renovations, and as long as there are investors willing to invest, Las Vegas can expect to see construction moving forward.