The Boulevard mall on Maryland Parkway up for sale

An iconic local shopping center is up for sale.

The Boulevard, Southern Nevada’s oldest shopping mall, has hit the market in a deal that’s both a symbol of recession-related hard times and hope for the city’s economic future.

The sale also has the potential to shake up the market: The mall’s 1.18 million square feet equal about 30 percent of the gross leasable area in Southern Nevada’s regional mall sector, said Marlene Fujita Winkel, a vice president with CB Richard Ellis and one of the brokers who listed the shopping center.

“It’s a significant opportunity for someone to come into the market and have a huge presence,” Fujita Winkel said.

But it’ll take a few dollars to snap up The Boulevard. There’s no listing price, but the property’s loan was for $168 million, and it’s worth 30 percent to 40 percent of that, Fujita Winkel said. That difference between debt and value is why former owner Rouse Properties handed the center back to Midland Loan Services in June via a deed in lieu of foreclosure.

Rouse bought The Boulevard from General Growth Properties in 2011, as General Growth came out of bankruptcy. General Growth still owns the Meadows and Fashion Show malls. Ohio-based Forest City owns the Las Vegas Valley’s fourth regional mall, the Galleria at Sunset.

As the hunt begins for yet another owner, Boulevard patrons shouldn’t expect to see any differences, Fujita Winkel said. CB Richard Ellis has kept the management team in place, and CB Richard Ellis is working as much as it can to fill the mall, which is 75 percent occupied.

“There are tenants expressing an interest in leasing space, and we will be working with them through the process,” Fujita Winkel said. “The goal of the seller is to maintain or add value. But it’s a Catch 22: We can’t start signing leases that encumber the new owner for long periods of time. So it depends on what the buyer wants to do.”

The Boulevard has already taken a bit of a new direction in the last year, adding the Hispanic Museum of Nevada and TV station KMCC, an affiliate of Spanish-language network MundoFOX. The mall offers the opportunity to do even more, Fujita Winkel said.

“The surrounding demographics are transitioning, and the new buyer will control 56 acres to either continue on with the mall concept, or perhaps do something different,” she said. “Investors are looking for value-add opportunities in Las Vegas that could generate significant returns, and this is one of those opportunities.”

For the first few months after any purchase, it should be business as usual, as the new owner puts together a long-term plan, she added. After that, major remodeling could begin, rebranding could happen and new tenants might come into the center.

The 48-year-old mall’s last big renovation was in 1992.

CB Richard Ellis will gather offers over the next few weeks, weigh offers into the fall and hopefully close on a deal by the end of 2013, Fujita Winkel said. The successful bid won’t just be the one with the highest price offer; the buyer also needs a track record in the industry and a workable plan for turnaround.

The Boulevard is anchored by Sears, Macy’s and Marshalls. A fourth anchor, Dillard’s, closed in 2010.

Contact reporter Jennifer Robison at jrobison@reviewjournal.com or 702-380-4512. Follow @J_Robison1 on Twitter.