Renting DTLV: Going Vertical

Fancy! Lease at Newport Lofts, if you've got the means.

Fancy! Lease at Newport Lofts, if you’ve got the means.

Recently, news broke that 1.72 acres of land near the Arts District was assembled by real estate acquisition company Lucky Dirt LLC with the intent to create approximately 400 apartments ranging from 400 to 1,500 square feet, at about $1.50 per square foot. The developers call the residential portion of their proposed mixed-use complex “affordable,” but that term’s hard to pin down. One person’s “affordable” is another’s “unattainable,” but it does bring attention to the current state of rental living in Downtown Las Vegas.

We’ve looked at a variety of house rentals in the greater Downtown area, but let’s face it: When people think about “Downtown living,” they often mean “urban living”–apartments, condos or townhouses right on the street, in close proximity to galleries, shops, dining, public transportation and services. And although it is possible to buy into this urban lifestyle–current listings run the gamut from $240,000 for a one-bedroom condo at Newport Lofts to $420,000 for a two-bedroom in the same building–not everyone is ready or able to dive head-first into this real estate pond. So what shorter-term options are out there for potential Downtown denizens?

The entry-level stuff is hard to come by. L’Octaine, located at the southeast corner of Las Vegas Boulevard and Gass Avenue, offers a mixture of floor plans starting around $600 a month, but there’s pretty much always a waiting list there. City Center Apartments (no relation to MGM Resorts’ CityCenter) at Bridger Avenue and Eighth Street offers studios and one-bedrooms just a few blocks from the Fremont East Entertainment District, with a similar entry price, but like L’Octaine, there are income limits for potential tenants: A one-person household can’t bring home more than $27,720 a year. City Center does, however, currently have units available, and reviews on its Google+ page are mostly positive, calling the apartments “smallish but nice” and the property a “safe place to live.”

Looks pretty safe from here.

Looks pretty safe from here.

On the higher end of the rental spectrum are the high-rise condo towers built during the end of the real estate boom that have been opened up for rentals either by private owners or property management companies in the last few years. For $1,200 a month, you can score a one-bedroom, one-bath unit at Juhl, which offers a secure building, all sorts of fitness and pool amenities, and the requisite custom cabinets, granite countertops and tile flooring, plus a location conveniently situated between the Fremont Street area and the Arts District.

But from there, prices rise steadily. A condo listed as a fully furnished, one-bedroom, two-bathroom (really?) unit at the Odgen is going for $1,400 right now, and another one-bedroom in the building is available for $1,550, but that’s a small price to pay to call Fremont East your backyard and Tony Hsieh your neighbor, right?

Over in the Arts District, condos are currently available to lease in both Newport and SoHo Lofts, ranging from $1,575 at the former to $2,000 at the latter. Both buildings, located just a few blocks from each other on Hoover Avenue, offer killer views, secure entries, parking garages, rooftop pools, fitness centers, and whatever else you’d need for your hip, swingin’ Downtown lifestyle–although SoHo has the additional benefit of having actual tenants on its retail ground floor, including The Lady Silvia, Globe Salon, Amanda Harris Gallery of Contemporary Art and Resnicks Grocery.

Soho Lofts: Retail on the bottom and gold on the ceiling.

Soho Lofts: Retail on the bottom and gold on the ceiling.

Of course, if Lucky Dirt’s plans come to fruition, its projected apartment pricing might close the above-demonstrated gap between income-restricted value rentals and higher-priced luxury condos in the city’s core, opening up the market for more middle-class individuals and families as a viable alternative to suburban living. Stay tuned–we’ll be watching this closely.


Vegas Seven