Saturday, March 19, 2011

Las Vegas: The Recession Is Alive & Well

While the 76-acre City Center on the Las Vegas Strip is a testament to U.S. capitalism, it was hardly a given that the mammoth project would ever be completed. After concrete was first poured in mid-2006, the recession crippled Vegas harder than any other city in the nation—and in 2009, MGM defaulted on $200 million in financing. Fortunately, that project found its footing and was completed in 2009.

Unfortunately, not all new commercial projects have had lady luck on their side. The $2.9 billion, 3,889-room, 68-story Fontainebleau hotel/condo/casino on 24.5 acres at the north end of the Strip, which broke ground in 2007 and topped out in November 2008, sits incomplete, with 70% of the construction completed, after investors filed for bankruptcy in June 2009.

In 2007, the land was valued at $30 million an acre. In late 2009, the property was sold for $150 million—translating to just over $6 million per acre. In October 2010, all furnishings intended for the Fontainebleau were auctioned, while the new owner says he has no specific plans to complete the project.Here's what the Fontainebleau looks like today...
Photos: The Smoking Nun/