Monday, Dec. 31, 2001 | 9:39 a.m.
A land-swap deal that could deliver a prime piece of Las Vegas Strip property to Algiers Hotel owner Larry Kifer is expected to be presented to Clark County commissioners in February, officials said.
Appraisers working on placing a value on Kifer's 3.6 acres at Las Vegas Boulevard and Riviera Boulevard can't reach a final figure until the county decides how the property will be used.
County Public Works officials have long discussed realigning Riviera Boulevard so that it slices through the Algiers property. The proposed project will affect the value of the land.
"We're taking the first step forward," said Public Works spokesman Bobby Shelton, adding that appraisers need to know whether to place a value on the land with a road running through it or as a whole property. "We're still determining how much property we'll need."
Public Works engineers are designing the new Riviera Boulevard so that it meets Las Vegas Boulevard at a 90-degree angle. Because the realignment doesn't help move east-west traffic -- the biggest problem near the Strip -- it hasn't been high on the Public Works Department's list, Shelton said.
In fact, according to Public Works Director Marty Manning, traffic engineers said the decade-old Riviera realignment plan is outdated and the project may not be needed.
However, when Manning told commissioners his opinion of the realignment project last month, the board moved forward and directed him to negotiate a deal that would give Kifer 2.4 acres at Harmon Avenue and the Strip.
Clark County was set to auction off the land for a minimum of $21 million in July, but Kifer and real estate attorney Chris Kaempfer convinced the commission to delay the sale and consider a land swap.
Different opinions on the value of Kifer's land has delayed any action.
Kifer claims the Harmon Avenue parcel, which is tucked next to the Aladdin, is worth as much as his land on the less glitzy north end of the Strip. County appraisers have valued the Harmon parcel at $21 million.
Rob Helling, a senior audit appraiser for Clark County, has said that based on past sales of land adjacent to the Algiers property he believes the property is worth about $57 per square foot. Helling has said the Harmon land, which is in the middle of high-end mega-resorts, is worth $200 per square foot.
Kaempfer said Kifer is discussing leasing the Harmon land if he trades for the parcel. Kifer has talked to Outland Development -- a group that was set to buy the land through the July auction -- about building an observation wheel similar to the 518-foot-tall "London Eye" in England.