Embrace the Change, Las Vegas Real Estate Investors!
It’s funny how history repeats itself. Living in Las Vegas, I see remnants of this desert town’s early days, subtler now than a decade or so ago, but the roots are still showing. From gangster museums to neon sign graveyards, the city of Las Vegas is still a product of the wild-west mentality that attracted investors and dreamers here 150 years ago.
Recently the local news outlets have been reporting a shift in progress concerning a high-speed rail line from our lovely village to Los Angeles. Although the concept, and planning for, a train from Las Vegas to California is not new, the parties involved are new to the table. I’ve gathered some information and provided you with three (plus) things real estate investors should know about the high-speed rail, along with some other nuggets of knowledge.
High-Speed Rail Comes to Las Vegas
Flashback to the 1800s when industrialists like Commodore Vanderbilt wanted to build rail lines to connect commercial hubs, and people, in a faster, more efficient way. The general response was negative. People thought he, and other revolutionaries like him, was crazy. The capital investment was too vast, and the project was doomed to fail.
So, here we are today facing the same issues railway investors faced back in the frontier days. Landowners don’t want to sell to the railways; there are opposing viewpoints on how or if to spend federal dollars, and the initial capital investment is massive.
But, what about the positives? If history is to repeat itself in this case study, we will see towns cropping up around train depots like in the 1800s. Light rail and passenger trains present real estate opportunities to commercial and residential investors alike. Today, all we have connecting us to California is the Mojave Desert, the least inhabited area this side of the Mississippi River. Oh, and interstate I-15 that is better described as an interstate parking lot on weekends.
The high-speed passenger railroad that will (hopefully) connect Las Vegas with Southern California has a few potential benefits. At the top of the winners list is the estimated traffic reduction on I-15. Pro-rail experts are using figures around 25% in reference to the number of cars diverted from the road. An estimated 15 million people travel along this route every year. Bear with me, I’m going to do some math now:
25% of 15 million is 3.75 million
Okay, math lesson complete. The answer is 3.75 million potential passengers on a rail line each year. That correlates to more people on a train coming to Las Vegas than the entire current Las Vegas population.
Sidebar to politics:
Pro-rail voters say the numbers are skewed. More people would use it than are reported.
Anti-rail voters want the money spent in other areas.
Political discussion over.
Politics aside, here are three things Las Vegas real estate investors need to know about the high-speed rail:
- Amtrak doesn’t service Las Vegas
- The state-owned project, which could break ground as soon as September 2016, is expected to cost at least $100 million
- Marnell Cos is the company, a hotel and casino developer, that is partnering with the railway investors
Here is the bonus section:
Faraday Future, an electric car company that is in competition with Tesla, could be part of the North Las Vegas landscape along with the train. Faraday has ties, according to government documents filed in California, to Chinese companies. Their current headquarters reside in Gardena, California, but the company wants to build a manufacturing plant in a different location. North Las Vegas being one of those in the running for the manufacturing facility.
From what I understand, there is no connection between the train investors and Faraday, except for the currency.
Chinese investment is not new to our desert oasis. The Yen has helped build a few casinos in Las Vegas including:
Between the two potential projects, the investment dollars total in the billions. Dollars spent on creating jobs, and a doozy of a ripple effect on our local economy. UNLV recently released a study on the Faraday project alone, and the results are phenomenal. The researchers are estimating the factory will create 13,000 jobs leading to $700 million per year in wages.
We all know that employment and wages relate directly to real estate. People who are employed spend money on where they live. Combine the factory with the train – in both infrastructure jobs and visitors coming in from California – and you have a massive real estate opportunity.
Do you Want to Know More?
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