Dreamer’s paradise reality check in the LVBP

My column in this week’s Las Vegas Business Press is out. It’s a meditation on what less ambitious Strip developments really mean for Las Vegas.

With just about everyone in the industry mistaking the 2005-2007 boom for a new normal, it made tons of sense to trade in your sun-faded casino for a newer, bigger one with higher revenue per available room.It seems incredible that the 2000s saw exactly as many big casino demolitions as the 1990s four in each decade, but the Strip’s upside seemed so limitless that the present seemed little more than a springboard to better times.

via Las Vegas Business Press :: David G. Schwartz : Dreamer’s paradise hit with dose of reality.

I think there’s a lot to this story. What does it mean when we stop shooting for the stars?

And that little factoid about casino demolitions surprised me. If you want to stretch it, you can say there were actually more in the 2000s. Here’s my complete list, though I kept a few out for each decade. The ones I counted are in bold”

1990s: Sands, Dunes, Hacienda, Landmark, Marina, Vegas World

2000s: Desert Inn, Stardust, New Frontier, Boardwalk, Bourbon Street, Castways/Showboat, Sahara (closed, destruction almost inevitable)

I might have forgotten one or two.

5 thoughts on “Dreamer’s paradise reality check in the LVBP”

  1. In August of 2004 I read a newspaper article in the Las Vegas Sun called “Onward and Upward” and it talked about all the proposed high-rise projects in Las Vegas. Included in the article was a map of all the projects and their locations on or near the Strip. There was 49 separate projects: 45 of them were condominium/condominium-hotel/timeshares and only 4 of them were casino projects.

    In November of 2004 City Center was announced and this massive project included a casino, over 4000 hotel rooms and over 2000 condominiums units. People who were interested in buying condominiums back in the boom days of Las Vegas (2005-2007) were more likely to purchase a condominium in City Center because it was part of a big development that included a casino, restaurants, nightclubs, etc., than a stand alone condominium project. Consequently, most of these condominium/condominium-hotel/timeshares were never built for this and other reasons I will get to in a minute.

    Then some of these condominium/condominium-hotel/timeshares projects changed into casino projects. These unknown (in Las Vegas) multi-million dollar companies already had spent millions and millions of dollars to buy the land and since their condominium/condominium-hotel/timeshares were probably not going to get built they decided to try and build a hotel-casino. Unfortunately, two things were working against these companies: they had to get financing (usually at least a minimum of $600 million dollars) and China and Dubai were building lots and lots of multi-million dollar projects (between 2005-2007) which greatly increased the price of steel and concrete in Las Vegas and throughout the world. Here are some of the proposed hotel-casinos that were never built: London Resort and Casino, Palace of the Sea Resort and Casino, Addams Family Resort and Casino, WWF (World Wrestling Federation) Resort and Casino, Playboy Hotel and Casino, Harley Davidson Hotel and Casino, City By The Bay, Moon Resort and Casino, Crown Las Vegas, W Hotel and Casino and Maxim Hotel and Casino.

  2. When did Westward Ho come down? 2005/2006ish? I don’t recall if it was an implosion or just dismantled.

    Also, referencing the comment above…the Maxim Hotel and Casino did exist. It was where Westin Causarina is now. I’m thinking it was there late 70’s?

  3. Mr. Hall-
    The Maxim Hotel and Casino did exist at the location you mentioned above. I think it closed and was sold around 1999 or so.

    In June of 2006 Maxim magazine and real estate developer Concord Wilshire Partners announced they were going to build a Maxim Hotel and Casino, a $1.2 billion dollar hotel-casino themed on the best selling men’s lifestyle magazine. It was going to have 2300 rooms and a 60,000-square-foot casino. The location was going to be at the north end of the Strip between Circus Circus Hotel and Casino and Sky Las Vegas condominiums. Concord Wilshire Partners paid $90.25 million dollars for the 7.5 acres of land in late 2005.

    After not reading anything about the proposed Maxim Hotel and Casino for about a year I read in the Las Vegas Sun’s Looking In On: Gaming column (written by Liz Benston) on May 25th of 2007 that Concord Wilshire Partners had sold the land to MGM Mirage for $131 million dollars. Concord Wilshire Partners was at the right place at the right time and made about a $40 million dollar profit after they sold the land.

  4. Thanks for the info…I had seen reference to the Maxim Magazine hotel before and thought it was related to the original Maxim…never realized they were separate. I assume that land they sold to MGM would be the site of the theoretical City Center North project?

  5. Mr. Hall-
    Sky Las Vegas condominiums and Hilton Grand Vacations Club resorts are in between the 7.5 acres of land that MGM Mirage bought from Concord Wilshire Partners and the City Center North project. MGM Mirage does own Circus Circus so I guess the land behind Sky and Hilton could connect for City Center North eventually. MGM Mirage owns lots of land but are around $12 billion dollars in debt so they will not be building anything for quite awhile.

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