The Howard Hughes Corporation is a major real estate development and management company based in Las Vegas, Nevada, which was founded by Howard Hughes. Later sold to the Rouse Company, it is now a subsidiary of General Growth Properties.
Formation as Summa Corporation
Originally known as Summa Corporation, Howard Hughes Corp. was formed in 1972 when the oil tools business of Hughes Tool Company was floated on the New York Stock Exchange under the Hughes Tool name. This forced the remaining busineses of the “original” Hughes Tool to adopt a new corporate name – Summa. The name “Summa”, Latin for “higher”, was adopted without the approval of Hughes himself, who preferred to keep his own name on the business and suggested HRH Properties (for Hughes Resorts and Hotels, and also his own initials), but his executives paid no attention.
Company refocused on real estate
Following the death of Howard Robard Hughes Jr. in 1976 at age 71, most of Summa’s remaining business were sold off. Howard Hughes had ammassed vast holdings of undeveloped land both in Las Vegas and in the desert surrounding the city that had gone unutilized during his lifetime. His successors at Summa refocused the company on real estate development, selling all noncore business holdings.
Holdings sold off were:
- Hughes Nevada Mining (sold off in 1977)
- KLAS Inc. (holding company for the Las Vegas CBS affiliate, sold to the founders of the Weather Channel in 1979)
- Hughes Air Corporation (holding company for Hughes Air West; sold to Republic Airlines in 1979)
- Hughes Helicopters Inc. (sold to McDonnell-Douglas in 1984 and renamed McDonnell-Douglas Helicopters)
- Hughes Sports Network (a production company specializing in the broadcast of sporting events, sold in the mid 1980s).
Summa also owned a wide array of hotels and casinos, primarily in Las Vegas, that constituted the bulk of Summa’s business in the 1970’s.
Company Renamed and sold off
Hughes’ heirs eventually renamed the company in his honor, Summa became Howard Hughes Corporation in 1994. Hughes’ heirs sold Howard Hughes Corp. to the Rouse Company in 1996, and the company survives as a Rouse subsidiary. Rouse was acquried by General Growth Properties in 2004. Hughes’ heirs, primarily the Lummis family, continue to hold an equity interest in Summerlin, a giant planned residential community being built in stages by Howard Hughes Corp. on the Las Vegas outskirts.
Hotels and casinos formerly owned by Summa
- Desert Inn Hotel and Casino (demolished in 2001, replaced by Wynn Las Vegas Resort and Casino)
- Sands Hotel and Casino (demolished in 1996, replaced by The Venetian Resort Hotel Casino)
- The Landmark Hotel and Casino (demolished in 1993 to expand parking lot of Las Vegas Convention Center)
- Castaways hotel and casino (demolished in 1986, replaced by the Mirage and Treasure Island)
- Silver Slipper Casino (demolished in 1986 to expand parking lot of Frontier Hotel and Casino)
- Frontier Hotel and Casino (demolished in November, 2007, to make way for construction of a new resort that will resemble the Plaza Hotel in New York City)
- Xanadu Princess Hotel (Grand Bahama Island, Bahamas)
- Britannia Beach Hotel (Paradise Island, Bahamas) – now the Coral Towers Hotel at Atlantis Resort
Howard Hughes Corp.’s current projects are Summerlin, a massive master planned community that will eventually house 160,000 residents; Summerlin Centre, a mixed-use town center for Summerlin, and Fashion Show, a giant retail center in downtown Las Vegas currently undergoing a major redevelopment.
Most of Howard Hughes Corp.’s past projects have been business parks in the Las Vegas area, including The Crossings, The Canyons, The Plazas, Corporate Pointe, and Hughes Center.
- Howard Hughes Corporation website
- (light-duty/civilian part of Hughes Helicopters, sold off by McDonnell-Douglas in 1995)