Las Vegas was turned upside down by the coronavirus pandemic in 2020, and the real estate market was not spared the turmoil.
But there were still some notable transactions this year. Here is my list of Southern Nevada’s top 10 real estate deals of the year, some of which took place before the pandemic hit.
My criteria included sales price, the buyer, the property or its backstory, and any project plans.
Raiders practice facility
Before they played a game in Las Vegas, the Raiders sold their then-under-construction practice facility and headquarters for $191 million in February and leased it back.
Chicago-based Mesirow Financial purchased the Henderson project and rented it back to the NFL team for 29 years, with seven 10-year extension options, filings with the Clark County recorder’s office showed.
It was a fast flip. The Raiders bought 55.6 acres from the city of Henderson in 2018 for a little over $6 million, half the appraised value, and sold the football facility for more than 30 times that.
MGM Grand and Mandalay Bay
In January, two months before the pandemic shut off tourism in Las Vegas, a blockbuster sale on the Strip was announced.
New York financial giant The Blackstone Group teamed up to acquire the MGM Grand and Mandalay Bay’s real estate in a $4.6 billion deal.
Casino operator MGM Resorts International leased the properties back from the new landlord, a joint venture of Blackstone and MGM’s real estate spinoff MGM Growth Properties.
Mark Davis’ custom-home site
Raiders owner Mark Davis, after bailing on plans to build a house in a wealthy Las Vegas enclave, bought a bigger plot across town in the Henderson mountains.
Davis purchased 6.3 acres in Ascaya, a custom-home community, for $6 million in August after buying and then selling a smaller lot in The Summit Club in Summerlin.
The football boss has said he was partway through designing his house at the old site when he realized he couldn’t see Allegiant Stadium, adding, “It was starting to drive me crazy.”
Failed SkyVue project
After spending a fortune on an abandoned Ferris wheel project on the Strip, a Seattle-area investor was cleared to take ownership of the blighted property.
Wayne Perry received bankruptcy court approval in July to acquire the SkyVue site and nearby parcels with a $75 million credit bid, giving him nearly 20 acres along the south Strip across from Mandalay Bay, court records showed.
SkyVue was envisioned as a $100 million-plus project with a 500-foot-tall observation wheel, a roller coaster and retail and restaurant space. Its developer built little more than two giant concrete columns sticking out of the ground.
South Strip hotel site
Investors bought land on the south edge of the Strip in February with plans for a luxury resort, taking a site once slated for a high-rise project during the mid-2000s bubble.
Developer David Daneshforooz and Shopoff Realty Investments acquired 5.25 acres on Las Vegas Boulevard just south of Russell Road for $21 million.
At the time, the buyers said they aimed to break ground on the 450-room hotel-casino, Dream Las Vegas, by early 2021 and finish by early 2023.
Golden Knights mansion
Hockey player Alex Pietrangelo paid big bucks for a suburban Las Vegas mansion after landing a lucrative contract with the Golden Knights.
Pietrangelo and his wife, Jayne, bought an 8,321-square-foot home in The Ridges, a wealthy enclave in Summerlin, for $6 million in November. The luxe home sits on a half-acre lot and came with a 55-plus-foot-long pool, a putting green and other amenities.
Pietrangelo signed a seven-year, $61.6 million contract with the Knights in October.
A few months after he was replaced at Zappos, ex-chief executive Tony Hsieh came back as the online shoe seller’s new landlord.
Hsieh’s side venture DTP Companies bought Zappos’ headquarters for $65 million in October.
He had moved Zappos downtown from a suburban Henderson office park in 2013 and launched his side business, then called Downtown Project, the year before to put $350 million into real estate and other ventures in the Fremont Street area.
Hsieh died Nov. 27 at age 46 from complications of smoke inhalation after being injured in a house fire in Connecticut.
8. New hospital site in Henderson
A hospital chain purchased 40 acres of land in a fast-growing pocket of the valley for a new medical campus.
UHS, which operates locally as Valley Health System, has drawn up plans for a 550,000-square-foot hospital and 250,000 square feet of medical office space at the west Henderson site.
Former Vickie’s Diner building
A 1950s-era building that supposedly drew some very Vegas celebrities over the years traded hands.
Los Angeles investor Jonathan Kermani bought the former Vickie’s Diner and White Cross Market building for almost $4.3 million in September.
The property, at Las Vegas and Oakey boulevards, was empty and in rough shape as of October, with trash and graffiti outside and plywood covering the doors and windows.
Kermani has said he wants to give the building a makeover, construct additional space and make the complex “a hub for restaurants.”
10. North Las Vegas Amazon building
The developer of an Amazon warehouse in North Las Vegas sold the building for nine figures in May.
As of June, it was the most expensive real estate sale in Southern Nevada since the pandemic upended daily life in Las Vegas in March.