Stalled Building Projects will Outlast Las Vegas Zoning

Unfinished buildings dotting the Las Vegas strip could be usable for 20 years, but there's no apparent source of project-restarting funds

Southern Nevada's dry desert climate allows incomplete steel and concrete structures to retain their usefulness and can be restarted after up to 20 years. The challenge involves Clark County's building codes, which often change every few years.

"That's more of an issue than materials deteriorating," said Wright Structural Engineers Chief Executive Officer Brent Wright. "If codes change, by the time a project is restarted, some retrofitting might have to take place. The changes could be significant or minor."

In the past few years, work has stopped on the Echelon development on the old Stardust site; the Fontainebleau, across Las Vegas Blvd. from Echelon; the St. Regis remains an incomplete 19-story condominium tower; The Shops at Summerlin Centre next to Red Rock Resort; and a Wyndham Vacation Ownership development across from the Rio.

With 150,000 hotel rooms often unsold in this recovering market, investors are in no hurry to finish the projects and add to the oversupply. And at the moment, sources of funding to prevent these unfinished buildings ending up like the abandoned Emerald River resort in Laughlin, unfinished for 20 years, remain unidentified. (More from the Las Vegas Review-Journal . . . )