Michael Parks

Casino Seller

When Michael Parks tore his ACL, MCL and meniscus playing indoor soccer last year, he knew it would be a long road to recovery. Almost as sudden—and just as challenging to bounce back from—was the plummet of Las Vegas real estate values, which Parks endured as a member of the team that handles casino transactions for CB Richard Ellis.

Top-of-the-market land on the Strip was valued at $35 million an acre just three years ago, Parks says. Now land on the Strip is worth only $2 million-$4 million an acre. With the company for eight years, Parks is confident that Las Vegas is resilient enough to recover when housing prices throughout the nation stabilize. “I don’t think people are going to gamble like they were until they have that sense of security back—until they feel their largest asset isn’t evaporating in front of them.”

In the meantime, Parks stays alert, researching the market, developing relationships with top-tier executives and talking up Las Vegas, all essential tasks when it comes to selling high-profile properties. “Our group’s expertise is being able to tell a story, convey the story to buyers on why a property is worth what it is and what the upside potential is,” the 35-year-old says.

John J. Knott II, executive vice president of CB Richard Ellis, says Parks’ creativity, integrity and attention to detail are instrumental to a team that sold the Sahara for $345 million in 2007.

“He is the poodle in the dog-and-pony,” Knott says. “Relationships are a critical part of the business. He knows a lot of people, and he’s well-thought of because he’s smart and he’s one of the experts in the industry worldwide.”

Parks, who earned a degree in hotel administration from UNLV, also had a hand in sales involving the Las Vegas Hilton ($292 million in 2004), the Flamingo Laughlin ($105 million in 2006), the Reno Hilton ($150 million in 2006) and the Horseshoe ($25 million in 2005), in addition to other properties in Las Vegas and throughout the United States. The sale of the Trump Marina hotel-casino in Atlantic City is the most recent prominent transaction with which he was involved.

With banks starting to loosen credit, more conventions being booked in 2011 and a downtown renaissance projected in 2012, more deals could be on the way. Parks is wary but optimistic. Maybe he’s not dancing exuberantly like Hey Reb, the UNLV Rebel mascot he portrayed in 1996, but he’s seen enough to keep moving and articulating all that Las Vegas offers.

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