Strip land values push higher after plunging in recession

By Eli Segall | Originally published in Las Vegas Review-Journal | March 4, 2023

When casino giant Genting Group bought a mothballed project site on the north Strip a decade ago, it sparked hopes for a sleepy section of Las Vegas Boulevard.

It also marked a steep plunge in property values for the famed casino corridor.

On March 4, 2013, Boyd Gaming Corp. announced that it sold the partially-built Echelon resort property for $350 million in cash to Malaysia-based Genting. The sale amounted to roughly $4 million per acre, and by that measure, it was a bargain compared to what buyers paid years earlier, before the economy crashed, for land on the Strip.

But a lot has changed in the past decade.

Yes, Las Vegas’ economy got derailed by the pandemic. But in the years since Genting bought the plot for what’s now Resorts World Las Vegas, land values on the Strip have pushed higher, and the north edge of the corridor has seen more activity.

Rising sales

Michael Parks, hotel-casino specialist with real estate brokerage CBRE Group, who has done numerous deals on and near the Strip, agreed with the notion that Boyd’s sale marked a bottoming out for land values following the frenzied mid-2000s bubble.

The peak, he noted, was casino owner Phil Ruffin’s sale of the New Frontier in 2007 for $1.2 billion, or more than $30 million an acre, to Israeli investors. The buyers imploded the hotel, with plans to develop a megaresort, but the economy soon tanked and they never built it.

Land sales on the Strip were largely slow-going for years after Genting’s purchase but have since gained momentum.

Among last year’s deals, real estate firm The Siegel Group acquired roughly 10 acres on and near the north Strip for $75 million, and a North Dakota tribal nation purchased most of the 15-acre former Route 91 Harvest festival site, on the south Strip, for more than $90 million.

These and other sales, however, were surpassed by two blockbusters in the pedestrian-choked center Strip area.

Developer Brett Torino and New York’s Flag Luxury Group acquired 2 acres on the Strip in 2021 for around $80 million, or $40 million an acre, and have since built a retail complex. And last year, Houston billionaire Tilman Fertitta purchased roughly 6 acres of real estate for $270 million, or more than $43 million per acre.

He has already torn down buildings there, with plans to develop a 43-story casino-resort.

Quiet stretch of Strip

A decade ago, after Las Vegas’ once-supercharged real estate market imploded and the broader economy crashed, the north Strip wasn’t the most inviting place.

Besides the skeleton of Echelon — Boyd had stopped construction years earlier — the area included the stalled, unfinished Fontainebleau skyscraper, big land tracts where massive projects never materialized and minimal foot traffic.

It was “just a glaring example of how hard the Strip, and Las Vegas, was hit as a result of the recession,” Parks said.

The north Strip still isn’t bustling with foot traffic, and there are still big parcels of land with an uncertain future. But the area has gained momentum.

The 67-story Fontainebleau, reacquired two years ago by original developer Jeffrey Soffer, is under construction and scheduled to open in the fourth quarter this year.

Resorts World debuted in June 2021 to a crowd of at least 20,000 people on its opening night, and ​​the Las Vegas Convention Center’s new $1 billion West Hall opened the same month.

The Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority’s $120 million sale of a 10-acre plot on the north Strip, approved in 2021, fell through this past December. But the tourism agency is slated this month to again consider selling the parcel, spokeswoman Lori Nelson-Kraft told me, without naming the buyer.

This being Las Vegas, you never know if a project plan will stall or fizzle, if something big and flashy will get built, if a property will get flipped to a new owner, or if a landowner will go years without striking a deal to sell.

But if a plot of land on the Strip does change hands, don’t be surprised if it trades for heavy bags of cash.

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

Stay informed! Follow us on Facebook and Instagram!

A September Moment with the Founder
In honor of National Childhood Cancer Awareness Month, we are immensely proud of our longstanding partnership of over two decades with @nvccf. Together, we have diligently championed the cause of raising awareness about this illness and have been dedicated to advancing services provided to the children and their families. Over the years, our collaborative efforts have resulted in the development of educational services for children undergoing treatments and the establishment of a refuge through the summer camps at Torino Ranch, where cherished memories are created, offering a respite from the challenges faced by these young fighters. @kariofmanycolors @celenahaas1
School starts on Aug. 7 and the @bretttorinofoundation Education Services of @nvccf is there every step of the way. This program gives diagnosed children the opportunity to continue their education while in treatment, recovery, and post treatment with Brett Torino Foundation Learning Pod at @nvccf, Brett Torino Foundation “Heart of Education” Scholarship, School Re-Entry Team, Advocacy, Back to School in Style, C.A.P.S. PROGRAM, and more.

Please call Mrs. K at NVCCF at 702.735.8434 or email her at for more information and education support. This program is available to critically ill children (K-12) diagnosed with life threatening illnesses including cancer, HIV/AIDS, sickle cell, renal, blood, and immunologic diseases, their siblings, as well as to children whose parents are diagnosed with cancer and registered with The Caring Place Program.
🎉 Congratulations to @nvccf Jeff, Stephanie, and the entire team! What a remarkable honor, and we couldn't be more proud to collaborate with you on Camp Cartwheel and the BTF educational services and programs throughout the year. Your dedication to the children and the Las Vegas Community is truly commendable. Thank you, NVCCF, for making a positive impact on so many lives! 🙌🏼 #givingback
A round of applause for another captivating camp experience with @sunshinenevadaorg! Immerse yourself in the world of camp I AM and TLC through this informative video, capturing the essence of camp life. While camp may be seen as a typical experience for some children, for those living with autism, it is an extraordinary and transformative journey. From engaging activities to forming meaningful connections with others and nature, both the campers and volunteers have created countless cherished memories. Stay connected with us throughout the year for captivating camp images on our social media, pages and website.
ICYMI: Proud to partner with @saveredrock and other local groups @centennial_subaru @republic_services and more for Lovell Canyon clean up with nearly 100 volunteers. We are committed to the continuous preservation and beauty of our nature lands.
Thrilled to host @Sunshinenevadaorg summer camp at Torino Ranch helping those living with autism, we have waited more than 3 years to see all these smiling faces of the children. Can’t wait to host you all again next year! #givingback
It takes a village to support children with critical illnesses, to wrap services around them, and ensure that they and their families feel deeply supported. Summer camp fun not only brings joy but also instills strength and courage within them, empowering them to face medical challenges throughout the year. Together, we form a close-knit family, united in our dedication to their well-being. ❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️ @nvccf @8newsnow @8newsnowkirsten @kirsten.joyce
Last week, Brett Torino Foundation and @nvccf Nevada Childhood Cancer Foundation held the 27th annual Camp Cartwheel Summer Camp at Torino Ranch for critically ill children diagnosed with cancer, or other life-threatening illnesses. Over the decades many thousands of children have experienced the ranch since 1999, the foundation is committed to those we serve.
It’s beginning to look a lot like 🎄at the ranch. 
#happyholidays #glitteringlights #night #winter #wonderland #holidaylights
Have you visited Lovell Canyon? 🏔

Our team has worked for years with a specialized task force to make this area safe and environmentally healthy. We’re incredibly proud of the clean up and preservation work we’ve achieved. 

Come see this natural wonder!
Hoping your plates and hearts are bountiful today. Happy Thanksgiving 🍁
Now is the time of year for gratitude. What are you grateful for? 
Be kind to one another, the environment, and all living creatures. 🙏