Sunday, November 6, 2011

Vestar develops Las Vegas retail project

Phoenix-based Vestar Development has paid $79 million in cash for a landmark Las Vegas-area retail development in a joint venture with Rockwood Capital of New York City.

It's the fourth deal Vestar has done with Rockwood and it is Vestar's first property in Las Vegas, a metro area that has been hammered by falling real-estate prices.

Vestar, which developed such signature Phoenix-area projects as Scottsdale Pavilions, Tempe Marketplace and Desert Ridge Marketplace, was drawn to Las Vegas because of its glut of undervalued retail properties and investment opportunities.

"Now is a great time to invest in the Las Vegas retail real-estate market," Vestar President Rick Kuhle said.

Like metro Phoenix, Las Vegas has been particularly hard hit by foreclosures and falling real-estate prices, with many retail properties now selling substantially below their replacement costs.

"We feel we got a great deal on a terrific property," Kuhle said, noting the company is looking for other retail-investment opportunities in the Las Vegas area.

The District at Green Valley Ranch is a 384,107-square-foot shopping center outside Las Vegas that contains a number of quality tenants, including Whole Foods Market, REI, Pottery Barn, Williams Sonoma and P.F. Chang's China Bistro.

The project was developed in two phases in 2004 and 2006 and is now about 85 percent leased.

The District at Green Valley Ranch was developed for an estimated $170 million by Las Vegas' prominent Greenspun family as part of their Green Valley Ranch master-planned community in Henderson, Nev.

Lenders, who were owed an estimated $120 million, took back the development in January after the Greenspuns' American Nevada Co. was unable to renegotiate the loan.

Vestar and Rockwood bought the property from LNR Partners LLC, which held the property on behalf of the lenders.

Vestar teamed with Rockwood last year to refinance Tempe Marketplace and to buy out a majority partner and, earlier this year, to buy two undervalued shopping centers in Southern California.

by Max Jarman The Arizona Republic Nov. 2, 2011 12:00 AM

Vestar develops Las Vegas retail project

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