Friday, March 31, 2006 | 7:07 a.m.
In the beginning, Laurance Hallier was really only looking for a cool place to live.
He'd looked at the Turnberry Place condo towers and thought it a bit stuffy. Park Towers was a bit pricey.
So Hallier, a 38-year-old former advertising executive and land broker, took matters into his own hands. He decided to build a condominium tower that he and his friends - the under-40 crowd - would want to live in.
That was three years ago and just before the rush that had developers dreaming about condominium towers dotting the Strip.
Panorama Towers is the first of the high-profile condominium developments to open from that wave, and one of the few that made it to construction. Other residential towers that have opened include the Metropolis, a 21-story, 71-unit tower near the Las Vegas Convention Center.
"I didn't even think we'd have a second tower; but the market was screaming out for it," Hallier said during a tour of his development, which has two 32-story towers as part of a planned four-tower complex on Dean Martin Drive. The first people move in this summer.
The buildings' sleek modern look is a buying point for some - as were the 27 different floor plans sold in Tower One. The variety in plans, while providing some amazing units and views, also led to some oddly shaped units, and in some cases interior bedrooms with no windows. Floor plans were simplified in Panorama's later towers.
For now Panorama Towers is surrounded by old industrial single-story warehouses. The closest restaurant is an In-N-Out Burger to the south of the development.
It's a neighborhood that had many industry observers doubting the project in the beginning. But in recent years, nearby land and buildings have been purchased by powerhouses such as Station Casinos, Centra and the Related Cos.
Buyers are, for the most part, in their 40s or younger and at least half are from California. Sales have been helped by young celebrities - from Leonardo DiCaprio to Toby Maguire and most recently Pamela Anderson - who attached themselves to the project.
Las Vegan Jason Smylie, 24, purchased a 1,644-square-foot unit on the 16th floor with a friend in the first tower for $650,000. That unit is now for sale, listed through Panorama's resale program, for $1.1 million.
Smylie, an information technology specialist and owner of two Capriotti's Sandwich Shops, said if the unit doesn't sell, he may live in it instead.
"It has a prime view of the Strip that will never be a bad view, never be obstructed," he said. "I'm stoked."