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Two Major Las Vegas Strip Projects in Doubt
By Daniel Kline,
Building on the Las Vegas Strip presents a special series of challenges.
It's incredibly congested and it's located in a desert. That makes getting materials in place a challenge and high temperatures can create brutal work conditions.
It's also an incredibly expensive place to build, magnified by the scale of the projects demanded by and attempted in the market. When Caesars Entertainment ( CZR ) has a palace and an Eiffel Tower, and MGM Resorts ( MGM ) has a pyramid and a Statue of Liberty, and both own nothing but massive resorts, the bar to compete is very high.
All those factors mean that a shocking number of Las Vegas projects get announced but not finished by their original owners. The Fontainebleau , for example, has been under construction for roughly 20 years and has improbably found its way back to its original owners.
That's an unusual movie-like story. But some Las Vegas Strip projects never get past the early stages and others become sad construction husks that never get completed.
Two Las Vegas Strip projects -- one already under construction and one that's just a land purchase -- albeit a very important piece of land -- have hit major roadblocks and could fall apart.
Las Vegas Dream Resort Faces Funding Problem
Dream Las Vegas, being built on Las Vegas Boulevard near the private aviation terminal at McCarran International Airport, has seen construction come to a complete stop.
Dream developer Bill Shopoff told the newspaper that he owes some $25 million to $30 million for work on the resort and that construction “will restart once the terms of the financing are finalized.”
The overall project, which is meant to offer a luxury hotel experience in a property more intimate than what Caesars and MGM offer, sits two blocks from Allegiant Stadium and relatively close to T-Mobile Arena. The 531-room hotel should cost around $550 million and was expected to open in 2024.
Shopoff said that all contractors will be paid and that his group is working on a $400-million-plus funding package to complete the resort. He said that rising interest rates have delayed the completion of the funding but that he expects it be completed in two to four weeks.
New Strip Property Owner Wins a Dubious Award
Late last year MGM sold The Village, a piece of land on the Las Vegas Strip across the street from Luxor and next to the Tropicana, to the Three Affiliated Tribes of North Dakota.
That land, which has been used as a concert ground, was also the site of the deadliest mass shooting in modern U.S. history,
Before the sale, MGM had already donated two acres of property at the site to Clark County to be used as a memorial.
The new owner was expected to eventually build a casino but made clear at the time that no plan was in place.
“This is a sound investment for the MHA Nation,” said John Fredericks III, an attorney representing the Tribes. “There are no immediate specific plans for development but the MHA Nation will be exploring its development opportunities in the near term.”
Now, a new award -- of sorts -- given to the Mark Fox Administration of the Three Affiliated Tribes by the Society of Professional Journalists may make it hard for the group to gain regulatory approval should it seek to build a casino at the site.
The SPJ has given its annual Black Hole Award to the Mark Fox Administration of the Three Affiliated Tribes for a litany of transparency issues, including alleged violations of the tribe’s own constitution and bylaws.
The Black Hole Award highlights the most heinous violations of the public’s right to know. This marks the first time this award has been given to a tribal government.
“The scope and scale of the lack of transparency by the Three Affiliated Tribes sets it apart from the very strong contenders for this year's Black Hole Award,” said Shannon Shaw Duty, a member of the SPJ Freedom of Information Committee, Osage News editor and Osage tribal citizen. “This case appears to be a prime case study in how secrecy regarding use of public funds undermines faith in government.”
Even the way the Three Affiliated Tribes leaders purchased its Las Vegas Strip parcel violated its own bylaws, according to the SPJ, as the administration bought the property and did not inform the citizens until the deal was completed.
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