Real estate deals have become all the rage in Las Vegas over the past five years. Chalk this up to the decoupling of land and casino operations.
Nowadays, when a “casino” is sold, it’s helpful to see if the sale is for the land or the operations. A sale of operations will eventually change the experience inside the casino. Meanwhile, a land or real estate sale is just that.
MGM Resorts has led the way in split deals with its “asset light” plan. The company essentially owns none of the land underneath its Las Vegas casinos. Instead, MGM pays rent to a landlord while operating the casino.
This method isn’t something only MGM practices; many Vegas Strip casinos now have separate land owners and casino operators.
Venetian, Mirage, Cosmopolitan and Tropicana have changed operators in the past year. Some of the real estate underneath these casinos have new owners as well.
Not all Las Vegas casino real estate deals include the casino. Over the years, Station Casinos has accumulated hundreds of acres of land in Las Vegas.
The company keeps plots of land it plans to build casinos. Similarly, it sells land where it doesn’t have a plan.
Since the company has a plan to double its portfolio by 2030, there’s lots of wheeling and dealing.
Station Casinos sells 126 acres across from recent land purchase
In July, Station Casinos purchased 126 acres of land south of Mandalay Bay for $172 million. This land is across the street from another 56.6 acres of undeveloped Station Casinos land.
Recently, Station Casinos sold that 56.6 acres of land to HCA Healthcare for $62.3 million. HCA, which operates Sunrise, Southern Hills and Mountain View hospitals in Las Vegas, doesn’t have plans for the land immediately. HCA could hold the land and build a new hospital as this part of Las Vegas grows.
Last year, Station Casinos demolished Fiesta Henderson, Fiesta Rancho and Texas Station, intending to sell the land. The city of Henderson purchased the land formerly home to Fiesta Henderson.
The other land is still on the market. The company also sold 21 acres of land it doesn’t plan to build near Durango Casino. The property is under construction and should open before the end of the year.
In September, Station Casinos closed and demolished the Wild Wild West casino on Flamingo Road near the Vegas Strip. The company owns 80 acres of undeveloped land next to the 20 acres from Wild Wild West. The are no plans for this land yet. Station Casinos could build a new casino near the Vegas Strip or sell it. Neither would be a surprise as the land at this location could fetch a premium price.
Station’s Inspirada plans
Recently, Station Casinos purchased land in Henderson with the intention of building a full-service casino hotel in the Inspirada area.
Plans call for this property to be a typical Station Casinos property. The Las Vegas Review-Journal says the company will build the property in three phases. Eventually, Inspirada will have 80,000 square feet of gaming space along with:
- 4 restaurants
- A food hall with 11 eateries
- Multiple bars
- A bowling alley
- Movie theater
- Retail shops
- Meeting space
The Henderson City Council is set to vote on approving these plans on March 7.
Expect to hear a lot more about Station Casinos’ land developments and sales throughout the year. The company has plenty of land with major plans.
Mandalay Bay and MGM Grand land sold
VICI Properties Inc. (VICI), a Real Estate Investment Trust (REIT), recently closed a deal to own 100% of the real estate where Mandalay Bay and MGM Grand operate for approximately $1.27 billion. MGM Resorts will continue to lease the land will through at least 2050.
VICI owns the land under more than 30 casinos around North America, including a lot of the real estate on the Vegas Strip. Its holdings include the real estate of the following casinos:
- Caesars Palace
- Mandalay Bay
- MGM Grand
- Park MGM
- New York-New York
- The Venetian
VICI also owns a host of land on the Vegas Strip without casinos. It owns the real estate at T-Mobile Arena, Caesars Forum Convention Center and MSG Sphere. The latter is still under construction and should open before the end of the year.
Additionally, VICI has 27 acres of vacant land behind Horseshoe (formerly Bally’s), Paris and Planet Hollywood. The company also has the right to purchase 28 acres behind The Linq and Flamingo.
VICI isn’t the only REIT with land on the Vegas Strip. Gaming And Leisure Properties (GLPI) owns the real estate of Tropicana and M Resort with plans on acquiring more Las Vegas real estate.
Blackstone Real Estate Income Trust (BREIT) owns the real estate of Bellagio and a portion of the land under the Cosmopolitan.
The landowners may not matter much in a casino’s day-to-day operations, but they could affect the experience. VICI and Hard Rock struck a deal for Hard Rock to make structural changes, including building a new guitar tower hotel.