Saturday, June 14, 2008

Las Vegas - New Construction

With Las Vegas foreclosures keeping prices down in all segments of the market, Las Vegas homebuilders and commercial developers are looking for ways to cut expenses during the development stage so that they can keep prices competitive with existing projects. Many are exploring new building systems that incorporate "green real estate" for energy savings as well.

In the Las Vegas condos high rise market, a yet to be announced project has a cost cutting system that will save the developer more than a third over the traditional high rise building expense building from the ground up. The developer says this will allow him to price his units competitively with low rise product, and blow other high rise projects out of the water.

In downtown Las Vegas VERGE, a midrise project, is utilizing more new technology to build their product in the redevelopment district. Inspired by architect Dennis Rusk, VERGE was initially priced about 20% under existing competition.

Both projects will also offer special financing on Las Vegas mortgage loans to entice Las Vegas new homes buyers to the table.

And innovation is also coming to the Las Vegas commercial real estate sector, which until now has resisted change. Booming market conditions dissuaded builders from considering out of the box solutions, but a slow down has them scrambling for alternatives. The following are excerpts from an article about a new commercial building application:

Developer touts new construction concept
By Mark Hansel / Staff Writer

A local developer has introduced an innovative building concept to the Las Vegas market.
LM Construction is using the Koreteck system - a series of connected panels that can be installed using a small crew with minimal equipment to quickly enclose a building - at Wagon Trail Village, a shopping center at Decatur Boulevard and Wagon Trail Avenue, just off Interstate 215.
Larry Monkarsh, owner of LM Construction, said this is the first time Koreteck has been used in the valley.

Monkarsh is a third-generation contractor and developer, and LM Construction has built more than 3 million square feet of industrial and commercial space. Local projects include the Arrowhead Commerce Center on Pearl Street, and the Arroyo, adjacent to I-215 between Buffalo Drive and Rainbow Boulevard.

He has been looking for a project that would be a good fit for Koreteck, but had a hard time persuading local partners of its value.

"Everybody I brought this idea to thought I was crazy," Monkarsh said. "Now I believe the market is ready for this product."

Monkarsh said the development business is very much an "if-it's-not-broke-don't-fix-it" industry and with the prolonged success of proven methods in the valley, builders were reluctant to explore new concepts.

Changes in the development landscape, including increased construction costs and slumping real estate sales, have made the industry more receptive to alternatives, especially those that reduce cost.

A product with the potential to shorten a development timeline and decrease the number of workers needed on a job makes more sense now than ever, even if it has never been tried in Las Vegas before.

In a recent demonstration at Wagon Trail Village, a crew of five was able to completely attach the product to a 50-foot-wide, 25-foot-tall end wall in less than an hour.

Although developers who market Koreteck probably cringe at the comparison, the product's exterior looks remarkably like Styrofoam, which may explain the reluctance of some to embrace its use.

Kris Kutterer of Virginia-based Koreteck said, however, that in this case looks are deceiving.
Koreteck, he said, is extremely durable and consists of a solid, galvanized 20-gauge steel core surrounded by polystyrene insulation. It can be ordered in heights up to 18 feet, which are stackable for greater heights. Widths are 2 to 4 feet with solid, noncavity construction in 6 or 8 inch thicknesses. Interior and exterior finishes are applied as they are with other building material.

Kutterer said the product also offers energy savings over traditional building methods with heating and cooling systems, regardless of climate and location.

The monolithic (single-piece) nature of the insulation that is formed around the metal core increases efficiency by eliminating the thermal bridging at the panel-to-panel connection used in conventional wall construction. Although the amount of credits vary by market, Kutterer says the system adds points toward Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design certification.
Modifications, Kutterer said, are much simpler than traditional brick-and-mortar construction because panels can be easily removed to install an additional entrance or window.
"We can pretty much modify a project to suit a change in our clients needs, with a minimal increase in costs to them," Kutterer said.

Wagon Trail Village, Kutterer says, is typical of the type of project Koreteck was designed for. The roughly 24,000-square-foot center will include two future pad sites along Wagon Trail Avenue.

Koreteck can be custom designed for a client almost as a kit, with predetermined specifications and custom-made, numbered pieces shipped to the site. If a piece is damaged during construction, it can be reordered by number. Mark Hansel covers retail and Las Vegas homes for sale for In Business Las Vegas and its sister publication, the Las Vegas Sun. He can be reached at 259-4069