Thursday, July 8, 2004 | 9:40 a.m.
Proving that vertical could be beautiful in places other than the Las Vegas Strip and downtown, a handful of neighbors gushed over four high-rise, residential towers planned just outside of Summerlin before the Las Vegas City Council unanimously approved the project.
In addition, one of the valley's foremost growth-watchers said the project is significant for its size, market placement and potential impact on its surrounding area.
"This is one of those projects I'm real excited about," said Richard Lee, vice president of First American Title Company.
Development in the valley will have to adjust to the realities of shrinking land and water resources, he said.
When projects go up, instead of out, less land and water are used per dwelling unit.
The project, called Queensridge Towers, is made up of three 18-story towers and one 14-story tower near n the southwest corner of Alta Drive and Rampart Boulevard, across the street from the Suncoast hotel and adjacent to Badlands golf course.
Queensridge Towers will have 385 units, with an average square footage of 3,850. The smallest units will be in the area of 2,000 square feet, and the largest, eight of them, will be 13,000 square feet.
"I like this project a lot," said Steve Wolfson, sitting at his first council meeting as the Ward 2 representative. He said the high-end high rise was harmonious with its surroundings.
Greg Borgel, a consultant for the owners, said the average price of the units will be $1 million.
City staff had some concerns over the height of the westernmost tower because it did not meet the city standards for distance between a high rise and residential homes, but not one of the handful of neighbors who spoke at the council meeting opposed the project.
Mayor Oscar Goodman said the project was the wave of the future, but he also questioned whether it might not detract from projects downtown, an area he defined as encompassed by Sahara to Owens avenues, and from Maryland Parkway to Martin Luther King Boulevard.
Lee, speaking in favor of the Queensridge project, said that it would not hurt downtown development.
He said there are different markets for different areas of the valley. Downtown, he said, appeals to a specific type of consumer -- young, urban professionals who don't want or cannot afford the high-end condominium project -- "and they're on their way."
Borgel, who earlier had referred to market research indicating a demand for 10,000 high-rise-type units, said that in the next 30 to 60 days he would show the mayor plans for downtown similar to the Queensridge project.
That prompted the mayor to say he was worried that downtown was reaching the saturation point.