Las Vegas Will Reinvent Itself: Real Estate Investor

Las Vegas, Nevada may be on its way back after suffering a severe economic downturn brought on by the housing market's collapse, say the local experts.

"Las Vegas will reinvent itself as it always has, and it will create its own demand," Don Peebles, chairman & CEO of the Peebles Corporation, a real estate development company, told CNBC on Thursday. "Now is a good time to buy. I'm a believer that when it's almost unbearable to buy in a sector with good fundamentals, that's a good time to go in."

Peebles recently bought 60 percent ownership in the Mardi Gras Casino.

"This property in particular has bottomed out," he said. "I don't think there's anywhere left for it to fall. So there's upside in the future."

Las Vegas, one of the hardest economically hit cities in the country after the housing bubble burst, is still struggling to recover with a 6.6 percent foreclosure rate and 14.5 percent unemployment. Declines in discretionary incomes for American consumers has also weighed heavily on its gambling and hospitality businesses.

But there are signs of stabilization, particularly in occupancy and business travel according to experts.

Occupancy is now averaging about 82 percent, which is some 25 percent above the national average, Dick Rizzo, vice chairman of Tutor Perini Corporation, a construction services firm, told CNBC on Thursday.

Tutor Perini, which does 80 percent of Vegas' large commercial realty work, has turned over 26,000 room units, a 25 percent inventory increase in the last three to four years, Rizzo said.

"So far, the impact of the economy on those specific units has been particularly good," Rizzo added. "I think the question is now, will we turn over another 5,000 units by the end of this year? I think it's a wait and see on that to see if those units will have any adverse effect on the occupancy rate."