Monday, July 30, 2007

Our Pie In The Sky

Note: Click on all pictures to enlarge








One day in December 2004, my friend Adam IMs me. He'd put his name on the list for a Panorama Tower unit and his name had come up. Did I want to go in on it with him and his father?

Panorama Towers is (for now) a pair of blue glass high-rise condos directly west of the Bellagio and CityCenter on the other side of Interstate 15. (Two more towers are planned.) This was the height of the housing boom, when everything seemed assured to turn to gold, and Panorama had the added credibility of having its first tower already peeking out of the ground. CityCenter had yet to be announced, a dozen other high-rise condo projects in Vegas had yet to collapse and all I knew was that the money I was socking away in my IRA, Roth IRA and SEP accounts each year was doing little for me in the markets.

Adam, then a Vegas-based journalist as well, seemed to know what he was doing. And he was rather surprised when I said, "Sure" with very little research. But then he ran into a problem; his dad, who controlled his savings, didn't want to do it. As the Adam dithered, the unit he was on the list for was sold to someone else.

While we were considering it, I drew my own dad into the mix. He did a thorough investigation and decided it was, in fact, a pretty great opportunity. And so, when the Panorama folks called Adam a week later to say that another unit was available, he passed along the opportunity to me and, along with my father and one of his friends, we bought in.

Thirty months later -- about eight months longer than we had expected -- our unit is done. (Above is the lobby.) And this morning, Miles and I did a thorough inspection of the gorgeous 22nd floor Strip-view 950-sq-ft unit to point out any imperfections that would need repair before we closed and actually received the keys. There were some minor things - a small dent here, a short piece of carpet there -- and all are easily fixable.



That said, it was something of a thrill to walk into what had until now been a theoretical space in a construction site we'd pass by now and then and wonder about. What was delivered was exactly what they promised -- a sensational location and a view that will only get better.

We continue to debate how to proceed, whether to sell it immediately and take our profits or to rent it. This morning, Miles and I even thought about possibly living there ourselves, a long-shot but not entirely out of the question. It is, though, a little small for us. And the neighborhood has a ways to go before it's particularly livable. But there is an In-N-Out about a half-mile down the street, so that and a 7-11 is really all Miles needs.

Anyhow, I thought I'd share these photos so that you all -- and my father and his friend, my business partners -- can see it.

10 comments:

Anonymous said...

Congrats! Real estate is almost always a great investment and even though there's some risk with the large number of condos coming online in Las Vegas in the coming years, I think the long term prospects are stellar. Keep us posted!

Dave Lifton said...

That is an awesome view. I would never get tired of it. The rest of the place doesn't look too bad, either...

dan kane said...

hey steve! keep the place, invite perez hilton and throw a party for your listeners up there! woo hoo! party at the panorama with perez! Is Leo DeCaprio in that building, too?

Bay in TN said...

Wow! What a view! And I'm not just talking about Miles. (Hi, Miles! Smooches, Your #1 Fan) I'll be happy to say I knew you before you were real estate moguls. I wish I could buy the condo and hang out in LV with y'all! But alas, I am not the millionaire to buy it and contribute to the "get Miles his Mercedes" fund. Sniffle!

Gregory_Zephyr said...

A friend of mine owns a unit at Signature at MGM and he was not too happy with renting it out last year as part of the condo hotel pool. MGM takes a big percentage and he wasn't getting it rented out often enough to pay for the costs. But that was last year. This year he's been happy with the nightly rentals. Panorama doesnt have a condo-hotel program but I'd think there would be independent rental companies that could market it at a weekly or nightly rate. Given the current so-so RE market conditions right now, I'd try the renting route if it is financially feasible for you. The value will likely hold flat for a while but may increase when City Center gets closer to completion.

Lou in England said...

There's a lottery in the UK/Europe this weekend and the jackpot is about $70m, paid all at once unlike US lotteries, if I win I'll put an offer in the view is amazing

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