|Las Vegas SunMcClatchy-Tribune Regional
March 05, 2013--For at least one stalled project in Las Vegas, there's hope.
An Asian gaming powerhouse announced Monday it plans to build a $2 billion megaresort on the site of the stalled Echelon, which has sat unfinished since 2008.
But many other projects launched during the boom and abandoned during the bust remain untouched.
It wasn't long ago that hotels, high-rise condominiums and massive retail complexes seemingly sprang up daily. Today, many of the vestiges remain: partially built structures with exposed foundations and steel beams.
Many of the mothballed projects face an uncertain future, signs that their owners either don't have the money to complete them or don't think the economy has recovered enough to make them viable.
Here are some of them:
The planned $4.8 billion Boyd Gaming resort sat in limbo for several years after the company decided in August 2008 to halt the project.
Taking up 87 acres that once housed the Stardust, the Echelon was supposed to open in 2010 with almost 5,000 rooms spread across five hotels, a casino, a convention center and theaters.
But Boyd found it tough to obtain the financing needed to complete the construction and called for the work to stop, preventing the company from going into bankruptcy.
Last summer, Clark County officials ordered Boyd to install strategically placed coverings to hide the skeletal frame of the interrupted construction.
On Monday, executives for the Genting Group, a Malaysian multinational company, announced plans to build a 3,500-room Chinese-themed resort with a 175,000-square-foot casino. The company plans to build a replica of the Great Wall of China and develop an enclosure for pandas for public display. The resort also is expected to have a convention center and an indoor water park.
The groundbreaking is planned for 2014, with the first phase opening in 2016.
There is arguably no greater symbol of the valley's economic struggles than the unfinished Fontainebleau, a $2.9 billion would-be Strip resort that became the nation's largest commercial construction project to go bankrupt.
Snapped up by financier Carl Icahn at a U.S. Bankruptcy Court auction in 2010 for just $150 million, the resort has sat abandoned since then despite the fact that it is 70 percent complete.
Many analysts doubt the 63-floor, 3,815-room hotel will ever open. Its prized furnishings were sold to other hotels.
Late last year, Caesars CEO Gary Loveman came up with a new plan for the Fontainebleau.
"Perhaps one of the poster children for this is the still-unfinished Fontainebleau here in Las Vegas, which was perhaps not a very well conceived project from the very beginning and is likely someday to find its future as a scrap metal liquidation effort for Carl Icahn," Loveman said.
Originally planned as a 49-story building at CityCenter with a 400-room hotel and 21 floors of condos, the Harmon got scaled back by owner MGM Resorts International in January 2009, when the company announced it would build only the hotel portion of the project.
The announcement followed reports of major construction flaws throughout the building. The Tutor Perini Building Co., the general contractor, alleged that design problems also were to blame.
Today, after years of litigation, the Harmon remains unoccupied, facing an uncertain future.
A Nevada state judge gave the go-ahead in July for MGM Resorts to implode the hotel tower, but that decision was appealed and remains embroiled in litigation.
The Shops at Summerlin
The planned mixed-use development just south of Red Rock Resort at Charleston Boulevard and the Las Vegas Beltway was supposed to open in fall 2009 with Nordstrom as an anchor tenant.
But developer General Growth Properties ran into major financial troubles, forcing it to file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy reorganization. Construction of the shopping and office plaza was halted in 2008.
The company emerged from bankruptcy in November 2011, and the Howard Hughes Corp., a company spun off from General Growth, acquired the mall.
In September, the Howard Hughes Corp. announced that the shopping hub was back on track with Macy's as an anchor tenant. The project is slated to open in late 2014 with more than 125 stores and restaurants.
The 21-acre mixed-use development on Russell Road was to feature more than 600 condominiums, along with 200,000 square feet of shops, restaurants, and hotel and office space.
Construction began, but owners announced in December 2008 that it was put on hold after financing was cut off. The dispute turned nasty with Gemstone Development, a bank, a motel company and other parties embroiled in an ongoing lawsuit that involved allegations of fraud.
Late last year, the Calida Group real estate firm reportedly bought ManhattanWest out of bankruptcy for $21 million to $23 million.
In the summer of 2008, JDL Development began work on the exterior frame of the Mercer, a 113-condominium complex planned for Tropicana Avenue near the Las Vegas Beltway.
But a year later, all that was left was the concrete foundation and underground parking area. The developer abandoned the project after determining that the condo market had turned sour.
Parkline Lofts announced in 2006 that it would build a three-story building with 65 condos at Basic Road and Pacific Street in Henderson as part of a downtown redevelopment project.
But the recession prompted the developer to stop construction the following year after the foundation was built. The site sits untouched today.
Spanish View Towers
Spanish View Towers near the Las Vegas Beltway and Buffalo Drive was supposed to have three 18-story luxury condo towers with more than 400 units.
Work started in 2005 but stopped a year later after the complex's underground parking garage was partially built. The downhill slide continued in 2007 when owner Tower Homes, which was accused of not paying its bills, went into bankruptcy.
The property was bought in 2009 by its financiers, OneCap Mortgage and Realtor Jack Woodcock, but never progressed further.
People who placed nonrefundable deposits on the condo units and claimed they were duped into signing sales agreements for the doomed project reached a settlement in 2011.
St. Regis Residences
Las Vegas Sands Corp. announced in September 2008 that it would build 398 luxury condos between the Venetian and Palazzo, with the homes set to open by March 2010.
But steel beams were barely in the ground when the company, citing the tanking economy and slumping condo market, halted construction in 2008.
The incomplete project was later camouflaged with a wrap intended to make it look like a finished product.
What was supposed to be a three-building complex with 75 condominiums on Centennial Parkway in North Las Vegas remains only partially built years after its first residents moved in.
Blue Marble Development purchased the distressed property but has said it is waiting for the economy to rebound before completing the project.
In 2005, Slade Development introduced the corner of Gibson Road and Paseo Verde Parkway in Henderson to the concept of "minimalist modern" with a contemporary residential complex of condominiums priced to sell from $400,000 to $1.6 million.
But three years later, the $160 million project remained only partially built and boarded up, yet another victim of a battered housing market.
The 20-acre property was acquired last summer by a venture capital fund whose owner said construction could be completed in six to nine months. But as of early this year, it remained in the same state of disrepair.
(c)2013 the Las Vegas Sun (Las Vegas, Nev.)
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