las vegas "collapse" and my thoughts on it
Here's a video concerning current state of affairs in Las Vegas, NV. It's two videos. I put both of them in a YouTube playlist.
[Edit: The playlist doesn't work anymore, sorry about that.]
This is a good presentation, however it misses a very important point, that being the planning process when it comes to very large projects.
If you have a super-huge project like the construction of a shopping mall, it takes years of planning before the ground is even broken for the foundation. It is also guessed that the economic environment at the time the plan is made will remain that way long enough to get the thing constructed and open for business.
What happened in Vegas is that there was a radical shift in the economy during mid-construction for many of the large projects. What happened is what you see in the video above - everything was put on hold.
The most interesting part of the presentation above is the Dairy Queen that decided to put the brakes on and not open shop. And although I don't have proof of this, I can guarantee the reason that was halted had nothing to do with money and everything to do with red tape. The DQ uses a freestanding building in a shopping plaza, so they're nothing more than leasing the space for their tenure there and don't own the land as far as I'm aware. This absolutely cannot be a money issue. Somewhere along the line something got mismanaged by the city, and for every moment that DQ building stands vacant, they're losing money.
What will become of these projects? I have no idea. For the large ones, when you build something that big you've got to do something with it. Tearing it down would cost too much even if you were able to get money back for all the scrap. I'm guessing the people in charge of the large projects are just waiting to see what the city says they can do because they're already committed to it.
Per the housing development mentioned in the video, the same deal applies. These communities were planned years ago and got halted mid-construction just like the large projects because of the economic downturn. As such, the exact same situation applies - the managers of the projects are forced to do nothing but sit and wait.
I will say however that I wouldn't be a bit surprised if some of those super-large projects end up exactly like what happened in Detroit with their vacant skyscrapers. Too big to build/rebuild, too expensive to tear down, so there they sit literally collecting dust.
It is amazing that any skyscraper could be vacant considering all that could be done with one. I mean, heck, even if only the first ten floors were usable, as long as the building is structurally sound, USE THEM. Lease those spaces out! True, it doesn't cover the lease cost, but at least it's something and it actually gets used.
This is incidentally the exact same thing they did with the old brick mills from my stomping grounds. Those buildings were just like the vacant skyscrapers are now. Too big to rebuild, too expensive to tear down. So what they did is rebuilt what they could that was salvageable and leased out the spaces. And it worked.
Corporate entities who own skyscrapers are going to have to do the same thing. If you can't use all of it, fix up and use what you can. Otherwise the whole thing will remain a white elephant for as long as it stands.