Former ‘economic cemetery’: North Strip showing more signs of life

By Eli Segall | Originally published in the Las Vegas Review-Journal | April 23, 2023

The north edge of the Strip was a bleak place a decade or so ago.

Las Vegas’ real estate meltdown left this stretch of the casino corridor with halted megaresort projects, sprawling land tracts where big developments never took shape, and little foot traffic. As a cigar shop owner there told me at the time, it was a “huge economic cemetery.”

The north Strip still isn’t overrun with tourists, and it still has big pieces of land. But the area has gained momentum — and now two developers are laying the groundwork for a potential new project there.

The Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority on Tuesday approved selling a 10-acre lot for $125 million to local developer Brett Torino and New York’s Paul Kanavos. The site, at the southeast corner of Las Vegas and Elvis Presley boulevards, occupies part of the footprint where the Riviera stood.

In a phone interview this week, Torino said it was “premature” to discuss what he and Kanavos might build.

He asked, hypothetically, if the north Strip needs another hotel-casino, or if there’s something he and Kanavos could do to cater to business travelers.

‘Very appealing to us’

The pair have teamed up to build retail projects on the Strip before — albeit in a busier section — and Torino didn’t rule that out for their newest parcel. But he said they want to create something that’s a “true experience” and alluded to people being “outdoors-centric.”

“We think we have the ability to do something like that,” Torino told me.

The plot he and Kanavos are buying is just south of the 67-story Fontainebleau Las Vegas, a long-planned casino-resort that is under construction and scheduled to open in the fourth quarter.

The corner parcel is also near the $4.3 billion Resorts World Las Vegas and the Las Vegas Convention Center’s $1 billion West Hall. Both massive projects debuted in 2021.

Moreover, Major League Baseball’s Oakland Athletics have been looking at some sites in America’s casino capital for a potential new ballpark, including festival grounds at the corner of Las Vegas Boulevard and Sahara Avenue.

Torino pointed to this increased activity along the north Strip.

“It was very appealing to us,” he said.

‘Mother nature was deconstructing’

Torino, owner of Torino Companies, and Kanavos, chairman and CEO of Flag Luxury Group, partnered more than a decade ago to develop a three-story retail complex at the northeast corner of Las Vegas Boulevard and Harmon Avenue.

The project, called Harmon Corner, features tenants such as Bubba Gump Shrimp Co. and Sugar Factory.

More recently, they built a four-story retail project called 63 at the southwest corner of the same intersection, next to luxury mall The Shops at Crystals at the multi-tower CityCenter complex.

It is slated to feature such tenants as Ocean Prime, whose operators said they would invest nearly $20 million in the seafood and steakhouse restaurant set to open this spring.

A decade ago, Torino recalled, there wasn’t anything he and Kanavos would have wanted to build on the north Strip.

He pointed to the “carcass” of the then-stalled Fontainebleau and the mothballed Echelon project that became Resorts World.

“It looked more like Mother Nature was deconstructing,” he recalled.

The north Strip is still a long way from resembling the stretch of Las Vegas Boulevard where Torino and Kanavos built before, but it has made strides.

Torino pointed to “very significant events” in the area — and the timing, he believes, “is now.”

Contact Eli Segall at [email protected] or 702-383-0342. Follow @eli_segall on Twitter.

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🌎🌿 Join the Movement! 🌿🌎

Kudos Julie Bodell! You and all your efforts are amazing and you're quite the overachiever. Planet earth loves you for it! 🌎 (everyone else, don’t be intimidated by the big 😊). There’s something about walking to work or to lunch....it doesn’t just help the planet, it helps your physical mental and spiritual body too. Thanks for the love, Julie! 

We invite YOU to join the movement and post your own earth day challenge video! Share your photos and videos with us on any of our social media platforms, and we'll showcase them for the world to see. 📲 Don't forget to invite your friends to join in too! Together, we can create a positive impact and leave a healthier planet for future generations. 🌍 💚

Let's make every day Earth Day! 🌿✨ 

#CelebrateEarth #ReduceReuseRecycle #PlanetLove #earthday #ourearthourfuture #bretttorinofoundation #torinoranch
🌎🌿 Join the Movement! 🌿🌎

Thanks Jennifer Ty for launching our April Earth Day Challenge! We love your post and what a clever way to replace grass with wild flowers!! Your yard looks like a green oasis! Keep on loving our planet 🌎!

We invite YOU to join the movement and post your own earth day challenge video! Share your photos and videos with us on any of our social media platforms, and we'll showcase them for the world to see. 📲 Don't forget to invite your friends to join in too! Together, we can create a positive impact and leave a healthier planet for future generations. 🌍 💚

Let's make every day Earth Day! 🌿✨ 

#CelebrateEarth #ReduceReuseRecycle #PlanetLove #earthday #ourearthourfuture #bretttorinofoundation #torinoranch
An April Moment with the Founder
🌎🌿 Lovell Canyon Clean Up 🌿🌎

Join us, alongside Save Red Rock and our community friends, as we come together to remove litter from Lovell Canyon on Saturday, April 20, from 10 am to 2 pm. (Please ensure your arrival by noon, and feel free to depart whenever convenient).

Supplies including bags and gloves will be provided, along with refreshments courtesy of Whole Foods Market. For your comfort and safety, we recommend wearing long pants and closed-toe shoes, as well as bringing along sun protection, a water bottle, etc.

Presented by Brett Torino Foundation
Sponsored by Centennial Subaru

Saturday, April 20, 2024
10:00 AM – 2:00 PM
Lovell Canyon

REGISTRATION IS REQUIRED for participation: 
https://saveredrock.com/earth-day/

Volunteer waivers will be available on-site for signature upon arrival. Please assemble at the Forest Service Kiosk located at the entrance to Lovell Canyon Road, off SR160. Check your confirmation email for additional instructions and details.

We hope to see you there!
🌎🌿 Join the Movement! 🌿🌎
 
Earth Day is an annual event on April 22nd, dedicated to demonstrating support for environmental protection. First established in 1970, it now engages over 1 billion people in more than 193 countries, coordinated globally by Earthday.org. The official theme for 2024 is "Planet vs. Plastics."
 
At the heart of the Brett Torino Foundation lies the commitment to conserve precious lands like Lovell Canyon, nestled in the Spring Valley Mountain range just West of Las Vegas, NV. Through initiatives like the "Save Lovell Canyon" project launched in 2017, the canyon has become a haven for campers, hikers, bicyclists, and nature enthusiasts.
 
This April, we're extending the celebration of Earth Day throughout the month, and we want YOU to join us! 🎉 Let's show our planet some love by sharing ways we can make a difference and reduce our carbon footprint. 🌱
 
Here are some suggestions to get involved:
 
VOLUNTEER!! JOIN US ON APRIL 20TH, 10AM – 4PM. 

Link: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/2024-lovell-canyon-clean-up-tickets-861058999647

Or some other ‘go green’ ideas:

- 🌳 Plant trees and native plants to decrease greenhouse gas emissions, boost oxygen levels, and provide habitats for wildlife.
- 🐝 Support pollinators by creating habitats and avoiding harmful pesticides.
- 🚶‍♀️ Choose eco-friendly transportation options like walking, biking, or carpooling.
- 🥤 Say no to single-use plastics and opt for reusable water bottles and bags.
- 🌞 Embrace renewable energy sources such as solar power.
- ♻️ Recycle and compost to reduce waste and conserve resources.
 
But that's not all! 📸🎥 We want to see YOUR efforts in action! Share your photos and videos with us on any of our social media platforms, and we'll showcase them for the world to see. 📲 Don't forget to invite your friends to join in too! Together, we can create a positive impact and leave a healthier planet for future generations. 🌍💚
 
Let's make every day Earth Day! 🌿✨ 
#CelebrateEarth #ReduceReuseRecycle #PlanetLove
🌟 Spotlight Alert! 🌟 Meet Abby, our February shining star! 🌟
 
Abby is the epitome of resilience and talent. 🎭 She recently received the prestigious BTF Scholarship through her dedication and hard work with Nevada Childhood Cancer. 🎗️ But that's just the beginning of her incredible journey!
 
Abby's love for the performing arts knows no bounds, and her performances are truly enchanting. 🎶 Her infectious smile and genuine warmth illuminate every room she enters. 💖
 
Let's give Abby a round of applause for her achievements and for being such an inspiration to us all! 👏 Keep shining bright, Abby! ✨ #Spotlight #BTFscholarship #ChildhoodCancerAwareness #Inspiration @nvccf
🌟 Happy Random Act of Kindness Day! 🌟
 
Let's make today extra special by spreading joy throughout our communities! Whether it's lending a helping hand through volunteering, sharing a heartfelt compliment, or simply being there for someone in need, let's embrace the power of small acts. Together, we can make a big difference! 💖
 
Spread the love by sharing this post and inspiring others to join the kindness movement! Together, let's make the world a brighter place, one act of kindness at a time. #SpreadKindness #ShareTheLove #RandomActofKindnessDay #SpreadLove #Volunteer #KindnessMatters
💖 Happy Valentine's Day! 💖

Today, we celebrate love in all its forms. At Brett Torino Foundation, we believe in spreading love and making a positive difference in the world. And we know that YOU do too! 🌟

Tag someone you love and who shares your passion for giving back. Let's spread love, kindness, and generosity together! ❤️ #ValentinesDay #SpreadLove #GiveBack
A February Moment with the Founder
🌟 Exciting News! 🌟
Join us at Camp Cartwheel, a magical summer camp experience for children battling cancer! 🎗️ Happening June 19-22 at Torino Ranch, this is a chance for these brave kids to laugh, play, and create unforgettable memories.

APPLICATIONS ARE NOW OPEN! 📝 For children and volunteers - Deadline for applications is March 22nd.

Together with Nevada Childhood Cancer Foundation (@nvccf), we're committed to bringing joy and hope. Let's make this summer one to remember! ☀️ Apply now at the NVCCF website. #CampCartwheel #ChildhoodCancerAwareness #SummerCamp2024 🏕️
🌟 We're thrilled to welcome Jessica "Jess" Anderson to the @nvccf team leading the Brett Torino Foundation Educational Services program. With a heart full of passion and dedication, she joins us ready to make a difference in the lives of our incredible children.  Jess has been a CCSD department head and teacher for five years and was recently honored as Teacher of the Year at her school. She has also volunteered at Camp Cartwheel for 12 years hosted at Torino Ranch. Let's give Jessica a warm welcome as we embark on this journey of success in education for our little superheroes! Together, we'll continue spreading hope, joy, and knowledge.🎗️ #Welcome #NewBeginnings #MakingADifference
We are proud to have partnered with @lvmpdfoundation for December Shop with a Cop. We would like to take this time to recognize all police officers who put their lives on the line every day and make our cities a better place to live. We salute you today. 🇺🇸 #NationalLawEnforcementAppreciationDay LVMPD Foundation
Today is #NationalTriviaDay and in honor of Moises "Bee Whisperer" at Torino Ranch - Do you know? 
Q: How do bees make honey? 🐝
A: Honey starts as flower nectar collected by bees, which gets broken down into simple sugars stored inside the honeycomb.
A December Moment with the Founder
🌟✨ Gratitude in Our Hearts, Joy in Our Souls! 🌟✨

#SeasonOfJoy #GratefulHearts #TogetherWeMakeADifference
Loving the warm holiday spirit @lvmpdfoundation  #shopwithacop event -  proud to be a first year sponsor.