Madeleine and Don Andress love high-rise living at One Queensridge Place
One Queensridge Place offers an on-site wine cellar for residents
The bedroom in a home Madeleine Andress says the couple plans to stay in forever
The Andresses’ beautifully appointed living room
Allure, a popular condo option on the Strip
For empty nesters looking for a new home, there’s nothing like simplicity and a great view. Thanks to the high-rise condo building craze of the last decade, there are many such residences to choose from. And now is the time to take advantage—prices are down more than 60 percent from the market’s peak in 2006.
Empty nesters are starting to get off the sidelines and buy in Vegas. “There’s been an increasing number of people in recent months who are looking to relocate to Las Vegas or are looking for a second home,” says Bruce Hiatt, a broker with Luxury Realty Group in Las Vegas. “Buyers are entering the market with cash,” he says, because they realize Vegas offers more value for their money than other cities. The strongest interest has come from Californians eager to escape the Golden State’s high taxes and live in a state with no income tax and lower property taxes, Hiatt says. Many of the potential buyers are wealthy and in their 50s, and they see Vegas as a great investment. According to Hiatt, more than 75 percent of them prefer high-rise condos to single-family homes. “That market is really heating up,” he says, “because they are fearing the prices have bottomed out and will go up.”
The movement of empty nesters into high-rises has accelerated with the opening of condo towers along the Strip starting with Turnberry Towers and including Allure and Panorama, as well as the luxurious One Queensridge Place in Summerlin. Don and Madeleine Andress say they considered the idea of forgoing a single-family home in Las Vegas for quite some time before they moved into One Queensridge Place.
Owners of Las Vegas’s Harley-Davidson franchise since 1995, the Andresses rent out their five-bedroom home in Canyon Fairways, and live in a 6,000-square-foot condo. The empty nesters with four grandchildren say their 15th-floor condo is more than sufficient to accommodate family members and entertain guests while also offering spectacular views of the entire valley, including the Strip and Red Rock. “It’s like being up in an airplane,” Don says. “I don’t care if it is the ocean or somewhere else, if you have a view, it makes it special. It’s relaxing.”
Whenever the Andresses leave their high-rise to travel or spend time at one of their other residences, they don’t have the security concerns that would exist in a single-family home. They also chose Summerlin over the Strip because of the desire for privacy. “It’s quiet and secure, and you don’t have to see anybody if you don’t want to,” Don says. The condo, which has custom wood flooring and lighting and such unique touches as antique Chinese silk, combines the spaciousness of a home with the comfort and convenience of a single-story residence.
“I love the home so much,” Madeleine says. “You can personalize it. It’s an easy transition being up there and instantly felt comfortable and warm. This is the house we plan to stay in forever. We’re never moving again. This is it.” Especially appealing to her, she says, are the amenities at One Queensridge Place, which include valet service, a gym, pool, upscale coffee bar, wine cellar, and rooms to host her book club, parties, and other activities. “I grew up in New Orleans,” she says, “and I like the city feeling and urban lifestyle.”
Because Las Vegas is an entertainment destination, it will continue to attract empty nesters from around the country, especially California, says Giovanna Piccoli, a real estate agent and investment specialist with Award Realty in Las Vegas. “A lot more people feel much more comfortable about buying now, especially the older demographic,” Piccoli says. “They have been patient because they saw what was coming and see the opportunities out here.”
Steve Bottfeld, executive vice president of Marketing Solutions and a housing consultant and analyst, affirms that with more Baby Boomers retiring in the coming years, many will be willing to swap their homes for a condo lifestyle. They are attracted to living closer to entertainment, dining, and shopping without having to get into their cars, he says, and high-rises also provide the safety they desire. “The Baby Boomers have just gone through the worst economic situation of their lives,” Bottfeld says. “Now they want to live more simply. Nobody wants to drive 20 minutes to buy something at the store or drive an hour to a restaurant. They like taking an elevator down and being just a short distance away from restaurants and shopping.” One Queensridge Place, 702-646-6377. Allure, 702-699-8998. Turnberry Towers, 702-732-9797
photography by bryan hainer; nate ludens (allure)