Expanding His Business in Challenging Times
Q: You have been able to grow your commercial and residential assets during one of the most depressed economic periods – especially in Las Vegas. How do you view the current state of the market and what do you see happening in the next year?
Las Vegas is slowly rebounding. It is still going through a rough and brutal period, but I can see it slowly coming back. The streets, restaurants, cabs, nightclubs and hotels are busy. People are not spending as much as they once did, but that will come back too over time. I feel that the next year will continue to get better and we will see improvement.
Q: Where do you see the Las Vegas real estate and hospitality market one year from now?
I see it improving day by day, month by month and definitely year by year. In a year from now the real estate and hospitality market will be in a better position than it is today; while still having a lot of room for growth and improvement.
Q: You launched a new hospitality category into the Las Vegas market with Rumor and Artisan – how do you think the “boutique” concept has worked in Vegas and do you plan on expanding the concept in the city or elsewhere?
The “boutique” concept is something that Las Vegas has needed for a long time. We were the first to bring it to town and it is now here to stay. Our customers are extremely happy that they now have an alternative from the strip and from the “cookie cutter” chains that line Paradise. We absolutely plan to expand in this city as well as in other cities. One of our goals is to also move on to the strip and to acquire one of the larger properties.
Q: At Rumor and Artisan you have cultivated a loyal following of locals – what do you think it is about those properties that has attracted that type of loyalty and fervor?
We have properties that the locals love to come to because they are treated like family when they are there. We know their name and what type of experience they are looking for. We constantly offer the locals niche concepts and events that other properties just simply cannot.
Q: With Gold Spike you took a chance on downtown Las Vegas – with the current economic client, how do you compete with the discounts on The Strip? Why do you believe someone should stay downtown?
Downtown is coming back quickly and very strong. It has its own sense of community and vibe. We don’t look to compete with the strip at all. People come to Downtown Vegas for a completely different reason than they go to the strip. They come to experience a piece of old Vegas while enjoying updated and newly branded and remodeled hotels and casinos as well as new bars, lounges, shopping and overall living. We are very pleased with the Gold Spike and all our other investments in Downtown. We are one of the first companies to step up and start the resurgence in downtown and we will be here for the long haul.
Q: You recently purchased a Class A office space in a prime area that you are going to invest in and market as a “boutique” office building – Tell us what that means and what you will be doing to the building to make it fit that category?
The location of the office is incredible. We are right across the street from the Wynn Golf Course, as well as the Howard Hughes Building. We plan to completely remodel the look, feel and vibe of the building. The aesthetics will be completely updated and made modern. We learned a lot about what people like with the conversion of Rumor, and we are going to apply some of the same thoughts here; have common area amenities for all the tenants such as Dog Park in the parking garage, pool table in the lobby, and arcade games for our building employees to utilize. Overall, we are going to create a fun work environment in our common area spaces. We are a small enough building to create a sense of community within the different businesses/tenants inside the property. Our office building is also very convenient for our tenants and their customers: unlike other business parks nearby, there are no long walks to get to the car and everything they need is close by.
Q: With Nevada having a large Hispanic population, you recently purchased a residential building and branded it Las Residencias – how does marketing to a niche audience differ from marketing to your Siegel Suite residents?
With Las Residencias we are going after a very specific market demographic and giving them a home and sense of community that they won’t find elsewhere in Las Vegas. The building is catered to their likes and needs. However, it is no different than what we do now with our apartments, it is simply going after a different demographic.
Q: What advice would you give to anyone looking to invest in a property in Las Vegas?
Make sure you understand the Las Vegas market; you need to be on the ground floor operating your property every single day. You need to understand the market and this is one of the most competitive markets in the country. We feel very strongly that there has to be a face and a name to the business like there has always been in Vegas over the last 50 years such as Jackie Gaughn, Steve Wynn, Kirk Kerkorian, etc. In Vegas people know the business by the face and name behind it, not by the corporation.
Q: Jobs are hard to come by, but you have been able to grow The Siegel Group – how many jobs do you think you have added over the last two years?
Approximately 700 and counting. We have stayed very aggressive in this down market and we will continue to do so. We continue to add to our organization with talented individual’s every day.