SkyVue's future doesn't look bright - FOX5 Vegas - KVVU

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SkyVue's future doesn't look bright

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An artist's rendering of what the completed SkyVue wheel would look like. (File/FOX5) An artist's rendering of what the completed SkyVue wheel would look like. (File/FOX5)
A pair of columns are all that stand at the site of SkyVue on the south end of the Las Vegas Strip. (File/FOX5) A pair of columns are all that stand at the site of SkyVue on the south end of the Las Vegas Strip. (File/FOX5)
LAS VEGAS (FOX5) -

With the opening of the world's tallest observation wheel only a few months away, the future of what was to be its rival looks muddy at best.

The High Roller observation wheel, located in the middle of the Las Vegas Strip, is scheduled to open in March or April of this year, but construction at the site of SkyVue, which was supposed to be its competition, has been silenced.

When developer Howard Bulloch broke ground at the SkyVue site nearly three years ago, he laid out a grand vision of what the wheel would mean to the city. However, the project ran into money problems, and then came construction liens and a stall.

Recently, workers have begun removing scaffolding that had been wrapped around the two 247-foot columns at the site of SkyVue, at the south end of the Las Vegas Strip.

A spokesman for the project said SkyVue is "moving forward," citing work being done out of state as the reason for the lack of activity at the construction.

FOX5's John Huck questioned one of the companies that is supposed to be working on the project, Laron Industries in Kingman, AZ, but the general manager said he was bound by the confidentiality agreement with SkyVue's developers. He did say that his company is "not doing work on any of the parts" of the wheel.

Real estate economist John Restrepo said the longer SkyVue stands still, the more dire the prognosis for it every opening.

"You know, there's an old adage in real estate, 'Time kills all deals,'" Restrepo said. "So the longer this goes on like this, it looks less likely that it'll be built, but you never know."

Clark County Commissioner Steve Sisolak said all but one of the building permits approved for SkyVue have expired. He said even if the developers decide to restart construction, they would be required to start from scratch, which should take months.

Some are asking if SkyVue will be the constant reminder of what the Great Recession did to the Las Vegas economy and if officials should rethink the approval of nontraditional projects.

"We don't really get into the economics of figuring the viability," said Sisolak. "That's a developer-investor decision to do that. I did bring up the idea of completion bonds, and I was told the cost was absolutely prohibitive. It would bring development to a halt."

While the future of SkyVue remains unclear, one thing is certain - the county is losing out on millions of dollars in sales tax revenue that a functioning SkyVue would have produced.

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