John Tippins sees the sellout of Newport Lofts as a sign that people are more willing to take a chance on downtown Las Vegas.
The remaining 41 units at Newport have been sold by ST Residential, a company selected by the FDIC to manage the condo development at Casino Center Boulevard and Hoover Avenue.
Pricing and targeted marketing were keys to selling the distressed property, said Tippins, regional managing director of ST Residential. The last unit recently sold for $205,000, or $124 a square foot, he said Monday.
"That's a steal," Tippins said. Prices started from the $300,000s for the smallest unit when sales began in 2006.
Buyers at Newport Lofts include first-time homebuyers, middle-income couples, professionals and investors looking at putting their units back into a rental pool, Tippins said.
The 23-story, 168-unit condo project was built in 2007 during a period some real estate analysts termed the "Manhattanization of Las Vegas."
The tower is noted for its rooftop pool and spa, fitness center, garden and clubhouse with panoramic views of the Las Vegas Valley. Floor plans range from 900 square feet to 3,000 square feet.
When the housing market collapsed, developer West Seegmiller advertised an auction of 60 units starting at $229,000.
Pyramis Global Advisors, the institutional assets management division of Fidelity Investments, had taken over as managing partner of Newport Lofts in late 2007 and canceled the auction.
The $115 million project was financed by Corus Bank of Chicago, which had financed several other condo projects in Las Vegas, including SoHo Lofts .
The Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. took over Corus' assets in 2009 and formed a public-private partnership with ST Residential to manage the assets. Members of the private equity group include Starwood Capital, TPG, Perry Capital and WLR LeFrak.
ST Residential also took over Spanish Palms condos at Spanish Trail and will add the gated community to its rental portfolio. The firm manages Loft 5, The Ogden (formerly Streamline), One Las Vegas, Newport Lofts and Monterey at Las Vegas Country Club, all in Las Vegas, and The Montage in Reno.
Residences at Newport Lofts start on the eighth floor, above the parking garage. Lower-level condos sold for $175,000 to $200,000, Tippins said.
"The success we've had, even though we're renting at Ogden ... people are wanting to come downtown," Tippins said.
The price of land downtown skyrocketed from $40 a square foot to $200 during the boom and is now back to about $40, Tippins said. That means high-density residential doesn't have to be 50 stories, but maybe 36 to 50 units per half-acre, the former land broker said.
Some 50 condo projects and 9,000 residential units were once planned for downtown Las Vegas.
While SoHo, Newport, Streamline and Juhl were completed, others such as Club Renaissance, Sandhurst, Wall Street Towers, Evolution, Stanhi and Cielo Vista never left the ground.
New York investors David Mitchell and Barnet Lieberman assembled five square blocks in 2006 for a project called Live-Work Las Vegas Condos, which is now being developed as the new City Hall and Regional Transportation Center.
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