Thursday, Feb. 5, 2004 | 10:53 a.m.
As Las Vegas land supplies dwindle developers and investors are looking up -- and some are seeing green.
South Tower, a planned 10-story condominium fronting Wigwam Avenue and Las Vegas Boulevard South where they intersect, is expected to break ground this year. While developers of most luxury condominium projects of late have touted their projects' amenities, South Tower officials said their building will be environmentally friendly.
"Our building will be one of the most energy-efficient buildings built," said Scott Fisher, president of Boulder City-based Built on Integrity Inc., the general contractor for the project.
McCarthy Construction Co. also will be working on the tower, Fisher said.
Richard Washburn and Daniel Gorham, partners in the project, could not be reached for comment.
Fisher's company uses a form of panelized construction, encapsulating structural steel in foam panels, to help reduce energy consumption.
His construction methods have been used on various buildings, including the Piazza Plaza, which houses the Bootlegger Bistro, 7700 S. Las Vegas Blvd. Built on Integrity also built the Mars Desert Research Station, which is scheduled to be exhibited at the Kennedy Space Center visitors complex this summer.
Plans call for the 10-story condo tower, situated on 3.5 acres, to have about 240 units starting at 1,000 square feet. Prices for the units haven't been set, Fisher said. Fisher said buyers will be attracted to the project because of its environmentally friendly building and because of its location, just south of Interstate 215 and a short drive from the heart of the Strip.
"With all the environmental problems, our technology is a clean technology that helps eliminate mold and bacteria, and focuses on environmentally safe breathing environments," he said.
The success of luxury high-rise condominiums Turnberry Place and Park Towers has led other developers to wade into the fray, hoping to tap into the second- and third-home markets and with locals looking for an alternative to the single-family home.
One project being advertised as Manhattan, Las Vegas' "affordable luxury urban condominiums," is creating a buzz among some in the industry. The company's website lists the condos from $149,900 to $350,000 -- but doesn't list the location.
In a confirmed deal, Gemstone LVS purchased about 17 acres of land on Las Vegas Boulevard South, between Agate and Serene avenues, last month for $9 million. Al De Vault, an agent in Lee & Associates multi-family division who represented the buyer, said plans are for high-rise condos. The site is near Amland Development's Park Avenue mid-rise condominiums complex.
The developers of the planned SoHo Lofts closed escrow in January on 0.69 acres of land in downtown Las Vegas for $1.2 million. Plans are to break ground this spring on the 112-unit high-rise at the corner of Hoover Avenue and Las Vegas Boulevard.
Developer Del American, of Altamonte Springs, Fla., began sales in December on its 880-unit condominium project on Flamingo Road between Swenson and Cambridge streets.
The $325 million project is on 20 acres and construction is expected to begin mid 2004.
Other luxury high-rise condos under development include the 30-story Panorama Towers, just west of Interstate 15 near Harmon Avenue, and the 18-story Metropolis at Debbie Reynolds Drive and Desert Inn Road near Paradise Road and the Las Vegas Convention Center in Las Vegas' tourism and gaming district.
Condo-hotels, complexes where residents own their units but may choose to enter a marketing program to rent their room by the night to tourists, are also being developed near Las Vegas Boulevard.
The Platinum is a 255-unit complex at Koval Lane and Flamingo Road. Developer Michael Peterson said deposits have been placed on 106 units. He said construction is scheduled to begin in late August or early September.
The Residences at MGM Grand, a condo-hotel joint venture of MGM MIRAGE and Turnberry Associates, opened for sales last month. Developers of the 38-story luxury condominium-hotel tower are lining up building permits and plan to break ground in late 2004 on a 20-acre site now home to the MGM's defunct theme park, just northeast of the Strip's largest hotel-casino. Plans call for a future complex of six towers.
The rise of Las Vegas is expected, industry experts said, as land prices become more expensive and as supply for residential products dwindle.
"Developers are buying up every square inch of this land," Richard Lee, a local real estate expert said Tuesday at the Greater Las Vegas Association of Realtors Housing Summit.
Lee said land available for residential development within the Las Vegas Valley's current boundary, which can be loosely outlined by the ring of mountains surrounding the area, could run out within 8 years. As a result, many developers are looking up, he said.