The volatile Las Vegas high rise market has claimed another victim, Aqua Blue. Aqua Blue was to be a 46-story Las Vegas high rise located near the famous Las Vegas Strip, just behind Ballys Casino.
World famous NBA superstar Michael Jordan backed the $600 million dollar project with a proposed 65,000 square foot Michael Jordan Athletic Center and planned on expanding his restaurant businesses by adding a Michael Jordan Steak House and Michael Jordan’s 23 to the Aqua Blue High Rise.
The project developer cites increased construction costs as the primary reason for the cancellation. The high rise was over 50% sold out and refund checks will be sent back to buyers shortly via Nevada Title.
The Las Vegas luxury condo market has been explosive over the past 12 months with over 150 proposed projects throughout the valley. "Las Vegas is running out of developable land and is therefore being pushed skyward", explains Las Vegas High Rise Realtor Beverly Lacey of VerticalVegas.com. The upward growth has caused land prices to soar and has attracted developers from across the globe. "The skyline will be reinvented in the next 10 years and Las Vegas will be a completely different city", Lacey continued.
"With all the projects going up, it’s a number game. Some will make it, some won’t. Obviously, everything on the drawing board will not be completed", stated Rob Emerick, the leading Las Vegas High Rise analyst. "We have seasoned developers and newcomers alike jumping into the Vegas market. Some of them will simply under price the costs of doing business and they’ll be caught in a tough squeeze play. Others might simply find an easier way to cash out their land, like Krystal Sands". Emerick was referring to the first Las Vegas high rise to go south, Krystal Sands (renamed Krystal Tower shortly before it was cancelled). The developers of Krystal Sands were over 90% sold out when the developer sold the land to rival high rise developer Turnberry Associates for an estimated $70 million. This caused a PR nightmare for the emerging Vegas high rise market as buyers were caught completely off-guard.
Diversified Real Estate Concepts, Inc., developer of the now defunct Aqua Blue, is building a neighboring Las Vegas condotel high rise called The Platinum. While it doesn’t have the superstar backing of Aqua Blue, The Platinum is already under construction and has been sold out since 2004. The Platinum is one of few vertical residential developments to actually be in some state of construction. Already completed are the Turnberry Towers Las Vegas and The District Lofts in Green Valley. Currently under construction are Panorama Towers, SOHO Lofts, Newport Lofts Las Vegas, Metropolis, and Manhattan.