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Las Vegas betting on expansion

Dec 31, 2007 5:30 AM

Despite having the dubious distinction of leading the nation in home foreclosures, Nevada is projected to actually have a housing shortage within two short years.

The reason for the quick turnaround? New workers are expected to flock to Nevada to fill jobs created by billions of dollars worth of new construction on the Las Vegas Strip.

"We’re merely at the bottom of one cycle and heading back up on another one," said Jeremy Aguero, a principal with Las Vegas-based Applied Analysis, a market research firm.

Aguero points to the stream of Strip mega-resorts planned to go up over the next few years, from Las Vegas Sands Corp.’s $1.8 billion Palazzo, opening in January, to Boyd Gaming Corp.’s $4.8 billion Echelon in 2010.

In all, the surge is estimated to add more than 40,000 hotel rooms by 2012 and create around 100,000 direct and indirect jobs, according to Deutsche Bank.

"Typically, people read the papers," said economist Jim Shabi of Nevada’s employment department. "They know when Vegas is building casinos and they come to town to find jobs."

According to Shabi, specialty trade contractors employing such workers as roofers and siders shed nearly 14,000 jobs in Nevada’s residential construction sector in the second quarter from a year earlier. But commercial sector trade jobs rose 5,600, fueled largely by construction on the Las Vegas Strip.

So, even though home sales in Nevada are currently down 37 percent and there’s been a major downturn in retail sales tax collections, the local economy is expected to pump up as the new resorts come on line.

Here are some of the multi-billion dollar resort projects planned in Las Vegas, and their estimated impact on the economy in terms of building costs, number of rooms, opening date and jobs created:

”¡ Encore at Wynn Las: $2.2l billion, 2,000 rooms, early 2009, 5,000 jobs

”¡ Cosmopolitan: $3 billion, 2,998 rooms, late 2009, 7,500 jobs

”¡ MGM CityCenter: $7.8 billion, 7,850 rooms, late 2009, 15,900 jobs

”¡ Fontainebleau: $2.8 billion, 3,889 rooms, late 2009, 9,723 jobs

”¡ Echelon Place: $4.8 billion, 5,000 rooms, late 2010, 13,250 jobs

”¡ Plaza: $5 billion, 3,500 rooms, 2011, 8,750 jobs

”¡ Crown Las Vegas: $5 billion, 2011, 7500 jobs

”¡ MGM-Kerzner-Dubai project: $5 billion, 3,000 rooms, 2012, 7,500 jobs