First the rapidly-growing hotel, gaming and resort company built the Venetian at the corner of Las Vegas Boulevard, better known as the Strip, and Sands Avenue, to compliment the huge convention facility Sands Expo Center. It promptly became a major hit among convention goers and up-scale visitors to town. Since the demand was there, they soon went ahead and built the luxurious Palazzo next door, opening it in January, and connected it directly to the Venetian.
There is more in the pipeline, though. A piece of prime land sits right in front of the Palazzo and the owner of that wanted to put a shopping center on it and repeatedly declined to sell his prized holding, so Las Vegas Sands negotiated an airspace agreement with him that allows the construction of a 400-unit condominium tower above the street-level shops. That's a first for Las Vegas. Airspace deals and other tight building arrangements are common in New York and other large metropolitan areas, but not here. Although the real estate and mortgage markets in Southern Nevada are presently hurting, Las Vegas Sands aims to offer the deluxe condominiums for up to $2,000 a square foot, which is about the same as the MGM Mirage's CityCenter units go for.
The company plans to truly maximize the available land it has in this important corner. Preliminary discussions are under way to develop a third resort on top of the Sands Expo Center, or erect it in its place and move the convention center to another location across the street. They own 18 acres behind the Wynn Las Vegas employee parking garage, which location certainly present its own logistical problems. How to conveniently ferry over and back time-challenged event visitors, that's the question? If the condo market rebounds in the coming years as expected, the advancing master plan draft could also include more of that component.
Anyway, this shoehorn approach is likely going to encourage other resort developers here to squeeze more buildings into smaller lots for maximum benefit. The days of inexpensive Strip land and wide-open spaces among buildings seem to be coming to an end. Vegas is on its way to joining the big leagues in that respect.