ZZZ - GMG - VEGAS INC 2011-2014

December 23, 2013

VEGAS INC Magazine - Latest Las Vegas business news, features and commentaries about gaming, tourism, real estate and more

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D E C E M B E R 2 3 , 2 0 1 3 / Y O U R b u s i n e s s - t o - b u s i n e s s w e e k ly SPECIAL FOCUS THE YEAR IN REVIEW This month, VEGAS INC looks back at the news of 2013 and ahead to 2014. DEVELOPER CONTINUES LAND GRAB DOWNTOWN By Joe Schoenmann staff writer COURTESY OF DENISE TRUSCELLO/WIRE IMAGE HIGH BAR: Cabins are attached to the 550-foot High Roller, the world's tallest observation wheel, which is under construction at Caesars Entertainment's Linq project. The $550 million outdoor retail, dining and entertainment complex is one of several outdoor amenities planned for the Strip. F By VEGAS INC Staff Milestones and Missteps or many in the business community, 2013 was a year of hope. ¶ The real estate market boomed, companies relocated to Southern Nevada, and the economy appeared to pick up. ¶ But the year also posed challenges for some. ¶ Developers with big plans saw their dreams dashed. Casinos and airlines contended with staffing issues. ¶ Who had a good year and a not-so-good year? Read on: Good year The local economy A year ago, there was much uncertainty about Southern Nevada's economy. Now, as 2013 comes to a close, there's far more optimism as several of the region's economic indicators appear to be trending upward. The valley's unemployment rate was 9.4 percent as of October. That still places Las Vegas third worst for unemployment among similar sized cities but was a marked improvement from a year earlier, when the unemployment rate was 10.3 percent. Nevada's unemployment rate improved 15th fastest in the country this year. The average daily room rate has risen every month except October, and the city's occupancy rate was in the high 80s for most of the year. Convention attendance grew 4 percent to 20131223_VI01_F.indd 1 4.5 million, the number of conventions and trade shows was up 3.1 percent to 19,149, and local resorts forecast favorable visitation numbers for next year. Gaming revenue grew 1.2 percent in Clark County and 2.5 percent on the Strip, and while gambling revenue downtown was down 2.9 percent, the Downtown Grand recently opened, which could attract new players. Still, the picture isn't entirely rosy. Somewhat worrisome for the long term is two consecutive months of decline in consumer confidence. The Conference Board's Consumer Confidence Survey decreased sharply in October, then dipped again in November. Local tourism leaders say consumer confidence numbers are typically indicative of how willing people are to travel and spend money. see YEAR IN REVIEW, page 14 Nibbling at the edges of Tony Hsieh's Monopoly board of property, Kamran Fouladbakhsh is now the second-largest private landowner downtown. Fouladbakhsh started buying properties downtown more than 10 years before Hsieh and his Downtown Project started snagging most of the available parcels around East Fremont Street two years ago. But over the past year, he has increased his purchases to a couple dozen or more. Many of them are in or near the Arts District around Charleston Boulevard and Main Street. He owns vacant lots and parking lots near 9th Street and Stewart Avenue. Others dot the area near Ogden Avenue and 9th Street. That's near Fouladbakhsh's office, which won't be an office for long. Fouladbakhsh plans to turn it into a cafe and bakery next year. "We don't have a nice relaxing cafe downtown yet," Fouladbakhsh said. "We don't have that cafe or a good market or anything downtown — that's what makes it so attractive. "You can park anywhere you want down here. Across the street are 87 stalls. When I go to other places see DOWNTOWN,page 17 INSIDE TODAY SO LONG, COWBOYS | P. 6 Orlando may have bested Las Vegas in the NFR battle, but the war isn't over THE NEW FRONTIER | P. 7 Gaming companies begin realizing profits from Internet poker THE LIST | P. 21 Nonprofit foundations, by assets 12/19/13 3:09:15 PM

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