Thursday, June 10, 2010 | 4:31 p.m.
North Las Vegas Development – Olympia Group, developer of Southern Highlands, launched development of the Park Highlands master-planned community in North Las Vegas. An affiliate of The Greenspun Corporation, owner of In Business Las Vegas, had earlier begun development of Aliante in North Las Vegas. Also in 2007, the Greenspuns and Station Casinos Inc. broke ground on Aliante Station hotel-casino. Park Highlands, struck by the recession, later ended up in bankruptcy.
Henderson Development – Inspirada, the newest development by Focus Properties Group, opened in Henderson.
Telecommunications – Spun off by Sprint/Nextel in 2006, Embarq worked to establish its brand in Las Vegas.
Economic Stumbling Block – The Lied Institute for Real Estate Studies reported efforts to diversify the economy had been harmed by the Sin City image of Las Vegas. Other long-standing problems cited included a poorly educated workforce, a weak school system and a lack of cultural amenities.
Plant Closure – Cabinet maker Merillat Industries closed its Las Vegas plant, putting 330 people out of work.
Echelon – Boyd Gaming Corp. broke ground on its $4.7 billion Echelon resort at the site of the Stardust. The project would later be mothballed, a victim of the recession.
Health Insurance – UnitedHealth Group, which owned PacifiCare, proposed to buy Sierra Health Services, the largest health insurer in Nevada.
Big Projects – Big mixed-use projects City Crossing in Henderson and Sullivan Square in the Southwest Las Vegas Valley were launched. Neither materialized, but they produced plenty of civil court and bankruptcy courtfilings.
Asian Expansion – Las Vegas Sands Corp. opened its Venetian resort in the Macau district of China, part of a wave of U.S. investment in gaming opportunities in Asia. By 2010, properties in Asia would also include Sands Macau, Wynn Macau, Encore at Wynn Macau and Marina Bay Sands in Singapore.
Town Square – Turnberry Associates, developer of high-rise condominiums in Las Vegas, opened its Town Square mixed-use development near the I-15/I-215 interchange. Turnberry’s luck would later run out in Las Vegas with the Fontainebleau hotel-casino.
Office Building Glut – More cracks showed in the Las Vegas economy as the office vacancy rate rose to 11 percent – a trend that would worsen well into 2010.
Legendary developer Irwin Molasky built projects such as Sunrise Hospital, the Boulevard Mall and the downtown Molasky Corporate Center. He was asked if Las Vegas needed to diversify its economy.
“What are you going to diversify to? Our economy is based on tourism and we have 40 million visitors a year. When you say `diversify,’ I think more resort corridors,’’ Molasky said.
Developer Harvey Whittemore touted his Coyote Springs development 55 miles north of Las Vegas, planned for 160,000 homes.
“It truly is going to be a town away, a world apart. It is going to be a little community that serves as both a bedroom community and a standalone community,’’ he said.
By November 2007, the innovative online shoe and apparel seller Zappos.com was on track to grow to 1,300 employees and $1 billion in annual sales. Well-known for its creative culture, founder Tony Hsieh told us: “We actually have customers who, because we offer things like overnight shipping and free return shipping, e-mailed us and asked us if we’ll start an airline or run the IRS, which we’re not planning to do anytime soon.’’
Award winning journalism
Nevada Press Association awards won in 2007
• Best Local Column – Bruce Spotleson
• Best Local Non-Staff Column – Jon Ralston
• Best Editorial Writing – Michael Campbell
• Best Business Feature Story – Phoebe Sweet
• Best Business Feature Story – Richard N. Velotta
40 Under 40: Where are they now?
Holly Lobelson Silvestri: Class of 2007
Silvestri was recognized among the 40 Under 40 honorees in 2007 when she was principal/founder of impress communications. She owned and operated the firm for more than seven years.
Today, she serves as a principal with The Ferraro Group. Impress and Ferraro merged in late 2008, allowing the company to become a statewide firm servicing public relations and public affairs clients.
Silvestri is a member of the Public Relations Society of America and was named a finalist in the communications category for the National Association of Women Business Owners “Women of Distinction” awards program in 2008.
Before entering the public relations field, she was a newspaper reporter in San Diego County for six years.
She is a board member of the Foundation for Positively Kids, contributed to the nonprofit University of Southern Nevada, was named to the first UNLV marketing department executive advisory board and supports the Alzheimer’s Association and HELP of Southern Nevada.