News Archive

  • At a glance: Faraday Future and its plan for North Las Vegas

    December 10, 2015 | Las Vegas Review-Journal | Jennifer Robison

    Faraday Future isn't the first company to enter the electric car fray, but it's definitely the most enigmatic.

    Executives have kept everything from financial backing to car designs under wraps. They promise a revolutionary combination of electric power and Web-enabled functions, but haven't detailed how their vehicles will differ from what more-established carmakers offer.

    Here's what we do know:

    The owner: Speculation earlier this year swirled around whether Faraday Future was a front for Apple, long rumored to be eyeing the electric car business. But the company actually belongs to Chinese billionaire Jia Yueting, 42.

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  • Light rail, trolley system could be in Vegas' future

    December 7, 2015 | Las Vegas Review-Journal | Richard N. Velotta

    Light rail, new pedestrian bridges over the Strip, a downtown Las Vegas trolley system and the connection of the city's major convention centers would be in the city's future under an ambitious transportation plan that would cost more than $12 billion and take decades to complete.

    Tourism and transportation leaders on Monday unveiled a summary of a 2,400-page report that will be reviewed by local, county and state leaders over the next two months to begin the process of initiating what's being called "a blueprint for growth and transformation."

    Local leaders have spent three years discussing the plan and professional planners used the last 18 months to conduct research and analysis. It will be presented publicly for the first time Thursday morning at the monthly meeting of the Regional Transportation Commission of Southern Nevada.

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  • SkyVue wheel plan grounded, but developer hopes to profit regardless

    November 30, 2015 | Las Vegas Review-Journal | Matthew Crowley

    The SkyVue observation wheel never turned on the south Strip. But Las Vegas developer Howard Bulloch hopes to turn a profit nevertheless.

    Signs at the site of the never-built wheel, across from Mandalay Bay, advertise the 38.5-acre land parcel for sale. Las Vegas Stripfront land is rare and a space that size could accommodate a casino project.

    Although a published report suggests Bulloch is seeking $10 million per acre, gauging what the land will fetch is tricky. Local observers said recently that Strip land prices can vary widely and price estimating is difficult.

    SkyVue, which had its groundbreaking in May 2011, had many fits and starts.

    Bulloch envisioned spending $300 million to build a 500-foot-tall wheel with 140,000 square feet of retail, dining and entertainment. SkyVue's foundation was poured in March 2012 and two 247-foot-tall pillars were built soon after.

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  • Sale of Summerlin grocery store fails to go through

    November 16, 2015 | Las Vegas Review-Journal | Buck Wargo

    When Haggen announced in early October that Smart & Final bid on its store at Trails Village Center in Summerlin, many thought that would be a good choice to fill the vacuum in the shopping center.

    Smart & Final, a warehouse-style supermarket chain which operates seven traditional stores in Las Vegas, planned to make the center its second Smart & Final Extra store format in the valley. The Extra stores are a specialty concept emphasizing fresh meat and product, including organic produce.

    But the sale wasn't included late Friday by Haggen when it released a list of its stores that the U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Delaware approved for Smart & Final. Only 28 stores valued at $56 million based solely in California were listed for Smart & Final.

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  • Albertsons to reclaim three Haggen stores; Sprouts to expand

    November 15, 2015 | Las Vegas Review-Journal | Buck Wargo

    Albertsons has reassumed ownership of three grocery stores it sold to Haggen earlier this year and Sprouts is expanding its presence in the Las Vegas market as well.

    Three of the Albertsons stores and one of the four Vons stores sold to Haggen will be reopened as part of acquisitions approved last week by the U.S. Bankruptcy Court and announced late Friday. Terms of the Las Vegas deals weren't announced and Albertsons could not be reached for comment this weekend to detail their plans and timetable.

    In one surprise, a previously announced offer by Smart & Final to acquire a Haggen store in Summerlin did not go through. That store at 1940 Village Circle, previously owned by Vons, but the details of why it didn’t go through are uncertain at this point.

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  • Haggen plans to close seven Las Vegas stores by Thanksgiving

    October 9, 2015 | Las Vegas Review-Journal | Buck Wargo

    Grocer Haggen, which opened its seven Las Vegas stores in June, plans to shutter them by Thanksgiving Day at the latest while it accepts offers from operators to take over the leases.

    Haggen says it's in the process of liquidating goods at the seven stores, and a company spokeswoman said they will close on Nov. 26, Thanksgiving Day, or sooner.

    One of the Las Vegas stores, the Haggen at 1940 Village Center Circle in Summerlin, has received a bid to be acquired by Smart & Final. Any approval is subject to the bankruptcy court and other bidders submitting an offer, officials said.

    It's not immediately known how many other Las Vegas properties of Haggen will get formal bids but more offers are likely, company officials and market analysts say. The seven stores were previously operated by either Vons or Albertsons.

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  • Group targets area at Sahara-Decatur for major upgrade

    September 18, 2015 | Las Vegas Review-Journal | Jennifer Robison

    The intersection at Sahara Avenue and Decatur Boulevard has gone from Main and Main to pain and pain.

    Once the city's busiest concentration of national retailers and upscale restaurants, the area struggles today with high retail vacancies.

    Come this weekend, though, a consortium of real estate groups and public agencies will talk change at Better Blocks Live, a community event to invite public input on the intersection's future.

    The goal, said long-time local architect and co-organizer Bob Fielden, is to update the intersection's retail cluster with an "urban village" of higher-density housing, parks and cultural centers. Residents could walk or bike to jobs and stores. Streetcars would replace buses.

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  • Growth of UFC boosting local economy

    September 10, 2015 | Las Vegas Business Press | Robert Horne

    When it comes to mixed martial arts, Las Vegas is the undisputed center of the universe. And, as the sport has grown, so has its effect on the local economy.

    In 2014, International Fight Week — the sport's July showcase event — generated more than $190 million in economic activity, by one count.

    The Ultimate Fighting Championship is the leading MMA organization in the world, and it has made Las Vegas its home since January 2001. The UFC hosts up to eight fight cards in the city a year. It also hosts International Fight Week, which includes the UFC Fan Expo, various MMA events, and a main event card that is held in one of the many venues on the Strip.

    Applied Analysis, a Las Vegas-based business that generates customizable, market-based business and economic impact reports, performed a study on the effect of the International Fight Week in 2014 for the UFC.

    Fight Week attendees spent nearly three times more than the typical Las Vegas visitor ($2,917 vs. $1,034), according to the report.

    The analysis also shows that more than eight in 10 visitors would not have come to Las Vegas if not for the UFC 175 main event.

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  • Nevada’s Office Space: Positive Headway

    September 1, 2015 | Nevada Business | Doresa Banning

    The office space component of Nevada’s commercial real estate market faces a long recovery following the recession. Vacancy and unemployment rates were high, inventory was excessive and landlords struggled to effect leases. In addition, after the recession new construction activity and investor property acquisitions had ceased. Typically, the sector tends to be the last to bounce back when compared to its retail, industrial and residential counterparts. Today, the market fundamentals are improved over their 2009 levels overall, but the strength of the office space segment differs dramatically between the Silver State’s Southern and Northern regions.

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  • Slot machines are tighter but casino revenue isn't much higher

    August 31, 2015 | Las Vegas Review-Journal | Howard Stutz

    Apparently, slot machine players were onto something.

    The games have gotten tighter.

    A study commissioned by the gambling equipment industry's largest trade association found slot machine hold percentages have increased a combined 14.5 percent across the nation over the last 10 years while the revenue from the games has grown just 1.1 percent.

    Slot hold — the percentage of wagers held by the casino — could be associated with the amount of money gamblers bet on the games, or lack of it.

    "If players have a bad experience, they might not come back," said Marcus Prater, executive director of the Association of Gaming Equipment Manufacturers, which hired Las Vegas-based advisory firm Applied Analysis to compile the statistics.

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  • Slot payouts getting tighter across U.S., study confirms

    August 30, 2015 | TribLive | Mark Gruetze

    Slot players who complain about the machines getting tighter have new evidence to go along with their gut feelings and losing sessions.

    An analysis of slot payouts in 15 states documents a steady increase since 1996 in the overall hold percentage, or the portion of slot-machine wagers that casinos keep. The study also shows that casinos have not fully recovered from the Great Recession. Total annual slot win is still 15 percent lower than in 2007, and consumers are spending less of their discretionary income on slots, the study found.

    Some casino executives advocate tighter machines to increase revenue, while others argue that tight machines run players off, reducing profits. The study doesn't take a side.
    “It's clear that slot holds are one of many contributing factors to slot revenue. We tried to point out all the variables,” says Marcus Prater, executive director of the Association of Gaming Equipment Manufacturers, which initiated the report.

    Applied Analysis of Las Vegas based its study on publicly reported figures from Nevada, Pennsylvania, New Jersey and a dozen other states. It covers 1990 through 2014, a period of casino expansion throughout the country as well as hurricanes Katrina and Sandy and the recession. AGEM released the study Aug. 19.

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  • Residents uneasy about how nearby medical district might take shape

    August 21, 2015 | Las Vegas Sun | Jackie Valley

    The residents of McNeil Neighborhood, an enclave of well-manicured, spacious ranch-style homes in central Las Vegas, like to pride themselves on their community spirit.

    They regularly hold block parties, gather for “coffee on the curb” and maintain a robust Facebook page, where neighbors offer restaurant recommendations, discuss security concerns and give away figs growing on their trees. In December, several dozen residents donated blood during a holiday party, and just last week the neighborhood raised $345 to pay for a stray dog’s medical care.

    Suzan Woodbeck, who bought a home here two years ago after attending a party and falling in love with the atmosphere, said, “I’ve always considered Las Vegas a friendly town, but it was so noticeably different. I would have done anything to live in this neighborhood.”

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  • Entrepreneur realizes dream of launching her own business

    August 21, 2015 | Las Vegas Review-Journal | Jennifer Robison

    Lisa Escobar traded velvet ropes for vintage chairs.

    Escobar had a quintessential Vegas dream job managing high-end nightclubs Tryst and XS inside the Wynn Las Vegas and Encore. But as much as Escobar loved it, that job wasn't a calling.

    So in 2012 — in the middle of Southern Nevada's recession — Escobar quit and launched a business as an interior decorator and stylist, using her Rolodex of VIPs as a starting point for a client list.

    "It was a huge change. I went from profit to passion," she said. "I always had this urge inside me. I always knew I wanted to have my own business. I wanted to learn something new and be challenged every day. I figured that was the best time to do it."

    Thousands of other Nevadans have had the same epiphany since the downturn.

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  • Tighter slot machines might be hurting revenue, industry research suggests

    August 20, 2015 | Vegas Inc. | J.D. Morris

    Casino markets in many states have tightened their slot machines over the years, and that could be hurting revenues, according to recent industry-backed research.

    The Association of Gaming Equipment Manufacturers on Wednesday announced the results of a report it asked Las Vegas-based Applied Analysis to conduct on the nation’s slot machine industry. Applied Analysis found that, in general, slot hold percentages — which reflect how much of gamblers’ money the machines keep — have reached “all-time highs,” even as slot revenue and wagers remain well below their peaks from before the recession.

    In other words, customers don’t gamble as much on slots as they once did, and casinos make less money from the machines but take a greater share of the wagers.

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  • New tourism panel begins yearlong effort

    July 15, 2015 | Las Vegas Review-Journal | Richard N. Velotta

    While average daily room rates and hotel occupancy rates are below historic highs, Las Vegas is seeing the highest level of visitation in its history, economist Jeremy Aguero told members of a new committee this week.

    Aguero, of Las Vegas-based Applied Analysis, also outlined historic and projected trends in population, employment and visitation and how their dramatic growth over the past six decades are requiring the need to develop infrastructure to support the accompanying visitor volume as the community grows.

    The 11-member panel‘s mission is to recommend projects to keep Las Vegas at the top of the tourism industry worldwide and suggest how to pay for them.

    On Tuesday, it charted a course to discuss possible improvements for McCarran International Airport and the future of transportation; stadiums, arenas and event centers; convention centers; roads, highways and mass transit; and pedestrian movement within the resort corridor.

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  • Sandoval tweaks tax plan to squeeze more votes out of Assembly

    May 30, 2015 | Las Vegas Review-Journal | Sandra Chereb

    CARSON CITY — Administration officials Saturday presented to the full Nevada Assembly an amendment to Gov. Brian Sandoval’s compromise tax plan that seeks to assuage concerns of some Republicans and win enough votes to assure passage.

    Assembly Bill 464 is a cornerstone of Sandoval’s plan for $1.1 billion in new or extended taxes to fund his $7.3 billion budget, with much of the new revenue going to support education.

    The second-term Republican governor is trying to squeeze enough votes from tax-hesitant Republicans to secure the two-thirds majority, or 28 votes, needed to send the bill to the Senate with two days remaining in the 2015 session.

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  • Will a subway eventually run beneath the Las Vegas Strip?

    May 27, 2015 | Las Vegas Review-Journal | Richard N. Velotta

    A light-rail subway system beneath Las Vegas Boulevard is among the ambitious recommendations that have emerged from a transportation plan that has taken more than two years to complete.

    Another big-ticket project is a double-deck tunnel under McCarran International Airport to connect Russell Road east and west of the airport and possibly provide a light-rail link to the Strip line.

    The Regional Transportation Commission of Southern Nevada unveiled a draft of its 15-point Transportation Investment Business Plan on Wednesday, opening the door to debate about how Southern Nevada can best prepare to address gridlock in the resort corridor.

    “Without new investments, the roadways, pedestrian facilities and transit system will be overwhelmed, the quality of the visitor experience degraded and the core area’s economic growth impeded,” the draft plan states in its introduction.

    The Transportation Commission funded consultants who were guided by a committee of stakeholders representing government entities and private businesses that depend on the tourism economy and moving visitors through the valley.

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  • Slot maker IGT to sell Las Vegas complex as company consolidates

    May 19, 2015 | Las Vegas Review-Journal | Howard Stutz

    Slot machine maker International Game Technology plans to sell its massive corporate Las Vegas campus as the company consolidates operations following its $6.4 billion merger with Italian lottery provider GTECH Holdings.

    During IGT’s quarterly earnings conference call last week, company CEO Marco Sala said plans were underway to sell the Las Vegas corporate headquarters in southwest Las Vegas at 6355 S. Buffalo Drive near the 215 Beltway.

    The building has approximately 610,000 square feet of space, of which 300,000 square feet is set aside for manufacturing. The entire campus sits on nearly 40 acres.

    The merged company — which renamed itself IGT — has corporate headquarters in London. IGT maintains operating headquarters in Las Vegas, Rome and Providence, R.I.

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  • Economy likened to mid-2000s — but officials say this time is different

    May 19, 2015 | Las Vegas Review-Journal | Richard N. Velotta

    Tourism is booming, the population is growing and the economy is heating up — a combination of factors that eventually led to Great Recession in 2007 and 2008.

    But a panel of forecasting experts speaking at an event heralding the publication of the 35th edition of “Las Vegas Perspective” on Tuesday say the conditions are different now than they were seven years ago.

    “The focus is on steady growth,” said Nat Hodgson, executive director of the Southern Nevada Homebuilders Association, at the event sponsored by the Las Vegas Global Economic Alliance at the Four Seasons. “I think we’ve learned a few things from the past.”

    About 500 people attended the event at which the alliance released the 178-page resource book filled with demographic and economic information about Southern Nevada and had a forecast session the economic development organization conducted for the first time.

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  • Clark County population hits record as water concerns persist

    May 19, 2015 | Fox 5 Vegas | Aaron Barker, Craig Huber

    FOX5 Vegas - KVVU

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  • Report: Valley economy improves, county needs to diversify workforce

    May 19, 2015 | 8 News Now | Patranya Bhoolsuwan, Mark Mutchler

    8 News NOW

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  • Failed Las Vegas resort is finally ready for its close-up

    May 17, 2015 | Las Vegas Review-Journal | Jennifer Robison

    It was a Hollywood story with an unhappy ending.

    When megastar George Clooney threw his name behind a planned megaresort just off the Strip a decade ago, the project didn’t go according to script.

    Clooney and his development partners pictured an 11-tower set with gambling, condominium and hotel space on a 25-acre stage just east of Planet Hollywood. The scenery would evoke Barcelona’s famed central boulevard — a tree-lined pedestrian mall called La Rambla. Hence, the resort’s name: Las Ramblas.

    But like an overbudget blockbuster with poor advance reviews, Las Ramblas was a flop. Its land ended up under the direction of lenders, where it sits awaiting a second shot at stardom as part of the largest available parcel on or around the resort corridor. It comes back on the market Monday, listed for sale through commercial brokerage CBRE Las Vegas.

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  • Nevada forecasts massive job growth through 2017

    May 1, 2015 | Las Vegas Review-Journal | Jennifer Robison

    Construction, consumer spending and tourism are driving this economy.

    Sound familiar? It should: Those sectors formed the foundation of Nevada’s economy in 2007 — just before it skidded into its nation-leading downturn.

    On Friday, a state agency said the building, retail and resort industries will again lead Nevada’s job growth, pushing the state back to its pre-recession job levels in a year or so.

    But industry observers promise it will be different this time — today’s jobs base is already more diverse than it was a decade ago, and new industries will underpin some future gains.

    “Essentially every private-sector industry but mining and, to some extent, financial services, is showing noticeable growth,” said Bill Anderson, chief economist of the state Employment, Training and Rehabilitation Department. “So the kind of job growth we’re seeing is much more sustainable than what we were seeing before, when so much of our growth came from two sectors.”

    To understand just how Nevada will expand, start with Friday’s report.

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  • Nevada Tax Fight: How much would you pay?

    April 19, 2015 | Reno Gazette-Journal | Anjeanette Damon

    The tax standoff at the Nevada Legislature continues. On one side is Gov. Brian Sandoval's signature proposal to raise $437 million through a new business license fee that taxes gross revenue. On the other side is a plan put forward by Assembly Majority Leader Paul Anderson, R-Las Vegas, and Assemblyman Derek Armstrong, R-Las Vegas to raise $499 million by increasing the business license fee and the modified business tax levied on business' payrolls. The revenue is needed to fund Sandoval's $7.3 billion budget, which includes $408 million in education reforms aimed at fixing the state's beleaguered public school system. Here's a look at how each plan works and how it would affect your bottom line:

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  • Commercial real estate reflects healthy economic recovery

    April 17, 2015 | Las Vegas Review-Journal | Jennifer Robison

    Commercial real estate may not grab the headlines the housing sector claims, but the industry’s fortunes are just as tied to overall economic health.

    And recent commercial indicators reflect ongoing recovery in both the local economy and the Las Vegas Valley’s retail, industrial and office markets.

    First-quarter numbers from local research firm Applied Analysis and commercial brokerage CBRE Las Vegas reveal where growth is strongest, and where commercial space continues to struggle.

    Taxable retail sales in Clark County surged to a record $36.7 billion in the 12 months ending in January, said Brian Gordon, a principal in Applied Analysis.

    And where there’s spending, there are new stores.

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  • Workers pour into Nevada labor pool, sending jobless rate up

    March 12, 2015 | Las Vegas Review-Journal | Jennifer Robison

    They’re back, and they’re looking for jobs.

    New and returning workers poured into Nevada’s labor pool in January, pushing up the state’s unemployment rate even as job growth soared, the state Department of Employment, Training and Rehabilitation reported Thursday.

    The number of people seeking work in the state reached its highest level since 2008, growing by 1 percent, or 14,500, to 1.4 million from December to January. That’s compared to growth of 0.3 percent, or 4,200 people, a month earlier.

    At the same time, Nevada’s January jobs count nearly hit a seven-year high, at 1.22 million positions.

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  • Vegas home appreciation builds, but prices half of peak value

    March 11, 2015 | Las Vegas Review-Journal | James Dehaven

    Average home prices in most Las Vegas Valley neighborhoods grew by double-digits in 2014, the second year in a row that values have appreciated in all of the valley’s ZIP codes.

    A new housing appreciation map released by real estate research company SalesTraq on Wednesday shows only one area, Spring Valley’s 89146, failed to gain in value last year.

    Homes near Henderson’s eastern foothills, 89015, saw the biggest average price gain, picking up 28.5 percent since last March.

    Median prices valley-wide rose 10 percent in 2014, an appreciation rate that was less than half of the 24 percent increases the market saw in 2012 and 2013.

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  • N. Nevada jobs: 'Even better' year ahead

    February 5, 2015 | Reno Gazette-Journal | Bill O'Driscoll

    Rosy economic forecasts dominated the dais Thursday at Directions 2015.

    But at the same time, speakers at the annual forum in Reno tinged their post-recession optimism with caution.

    "Today, Nevada is the second-fastest growing state in the U.S.," Jeremy Aguero, principal analyst at Las Vegas-based Applied Analysis, told 740 business leaders and others inside the Silver Legacy Resort Casino.

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  • Galleria at Sunset adding half-dozen new restaurants

    February 5, 2015 | Las Vegas Review-Journal | Buck Wargo

    The competition for shoppers has intensified as Las Vegas has emerged from the Great Recession, and existing malls like the Galleria at Sunset in Henderson have done more than simply put on a fresh coat of paint to remain a retail destination.

    The mall, which measures 1 million square feet and opened in 1996, finished $7 million in interior renovations before the 2014 holiday shopping season that included creating more space for events. Its owners, Forest City Enterprises, are adding a $25.5 million, 30,000 square-foot expansion that will bring six new restaurants in the coming months. That expansion also includes a 12,000 square-foot outdoor plaza for events.

    The mall changed flooring and colors from its Southwest motif and renovated bathrooms and the food court. It’s about giving the mall a more modern and sophisticated appearance after first making sure the economy stabilized and bounced back as it has, said Heather Valera, the mall’s director of marketing.

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  • Sign of recovery: Developer of big spaces goes small

    February 5, 2015 | Las Vegas Review-Journal | Jennifer Robison

    A developer of big industrial spaces is going small in a sign of broader economic recovery.

    Panattoni Development Co. said this week that it has bought a 103,000-square-foot industrial building at 1841 E. Craig Road for $5.25 million from Tower Distribution Center LLC, a small, local group of investors.

    The building’s space is half-occupied by two tenants: the Cannery Casino, which has overflow storage space and a cabinet shop, and FlipNOut, a recreation center with bounce houses, trampolines and arcade games.

    Panattoni has plans for the remainder of the space, and its approach is a bit of a departure for a company best known for building massive industrial spaces from the ground up.

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  • Las Vegas Curve makes a comeback

    January 31, 2015 | Las Vegas Review-Journal | Jennifer Robison

    If you’re looking for the epicenter of the Las Vegas Valley’s housing earthquake, don’t look to the northwest.

    Don’t bother with Henderson, or even North Las Vegas.

    Consider instead the 5-mile stretch of the 215 Beltway from Rainbow Boulevard to Tropicana Avenue that real estate locals call “the curve.” Sure, home and land prices plummeted and foreclosures soared across the valley. Still, no other corner of the city can claim the sheer, concentrated development carnage that beset the curve at the recession’s 2007 dawn.

    Something happened on the way to recovery, though. Thanks to renewed commercial development in the area, the curve began bouncing back. In the past 18 months, developers have revived stalled projects and refashioned others into new uses. Whether it’s too much too soon is something industry observers say they’re watching as the market digests the lessons of the curve’s epic bust.

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  • Economist: 2014 was pivotal year for Las Vegas

    January 30, 2015 | Vegas Inc. | Andrea Domanick

    Business leaders from around the valley gathered at the Thomas & Mack Center this morning for the Las Vegas Chamber of Commerce’s Preview 2015 conference and trade show.

    The forecasting and networking event hosted more than 100 exhibitors showcasing products and services for the business community in sectors ranging from technology to education to hospitality.

    The gathering is expected to draw nearly 2,000 attendees.

    Headlining speakers included economist Jeremy Aguero, who outlined how the local economy is shaping up in 2015 and what it means for job growth.

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  • IKEA land purchase sets post-recession high

    January 26, 2015 | Las Vegas Review-Journal | Jennifer Robison

    A global retailer has taken a big step in its move into Las Vegas.

    In the process, it’s given the city’s real estate market a bit of a boost.

    When Sweden-based furniture seller IKEA closed in late December on its purchase of 26 acres of land in southwest Las Vegas, it set a post-recession high for land deals of its type, local observers say.

    IKEA spent $21.3 million for the parcel, which works out to about $819,000 an acre — considerably more than land is going for these days marketwide.

    The market average for land sales in the last year has been in the $250,000 to $300,000 range, according to local research firm Applied Analysis. For prime, contiguous parcels of developable land, home builders have been shelling out roughly $400,000 an acre, said Brian Gordon, a principal with Applied Analysis.

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