Since the economy tanked, steel girders of the Shops at Summerlin have been standing like silent sentinels just south of Red Rock Resort, 11011 W. Charleston Blvd. That will change in the coming months, according to Tom Warden of The Howard Hughes Corp.
“Construction is under way,” said Warden, senior vice president of community and government relations for Hughes Corp. “It’s getting built.”
He spoke to the community at Las Ventanas, 10401 W. Charleston Blvd., on June 26.
The Shops at Summerlin is a 106-acre site. Warden said plans call for three anchor department stores and about 125 shops, restaurants and businesses, with the steel sentinel becoming eight stories of Class A office space on top of one story of retail.
“It’s, for all intents and purposes, the type of shopping that people go to the mall for, although this is not going to be an enclosed mall,” Warden said. “This will be an urban grid.”
He said the shopping center probably will open in late 2014 or early 2015.
The construction was put on hold in 2008 after the economy spiraled into a tailspin.
“I tried to explain to the media that it wasn’t a stalled project, it was a ‘steel sculpture garden,’ ” Warden joked. “But that didn’t fly, did it? No, the fact is that that was a GGP (General Growth Properties) project –– the prior company that we were a part of –– and it dissolved, and now it’s (the Shops at Summerlin) going to be totally redone. It’s a totally new design.”
Final plans were not yet determined, but he said the new design would utilize much of the already-standing steel, with some pieces set to be removed due to the redesign. Although exposed for years after the site closed down, the steel has been found to be in good shape, he said.
“Just a little bit of maintenance needs to be done,” Warden said. “We have equipment on site — maybe you’ve seen the earth movers and bulldozers — but we are actually working on some of the soil issues around there.”
At a follow-up interview on July 9, Warden said motorists on the Las Vegas Beltway, which abuts the 106 acres, would see structures going up as soon as the ground was prepared.
“I think you will see vertical construction within a few weeks,” Warden said.
The possibility of a shopping center with upper-end stores appealed to Sally, a Summerlin resident who asked that her last name not be used.
“I think it would be wonderful,” she said. “The area can use those types of shops. Then there’d be no reason to go down to the Fashion Show mall.”
She said the store brands she’d like to see include Williams-Sonoma and Nordstrom. Dillard’s and Macy’s have signed on as major department stores.
Sports enthusiasts are more concerned with whether plans to center the site include a baseball stadium, because Hughes Corp. and some partners recently acquired the Las Vegas 51s baseball team, part of the Pacific Coast League. Warden said no decision has been made on what the centering element will be but that a stadium was one possibility.
“The first step was acquiring the team,” Warden said. “That’s now been done. The next step is to pull together the stakeholders. That would be the city, the county, also the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority. ... Bottom line, we hope we can pull together all the groups involved and figure out how to build this stadium.”
Warden said a baseball stadium, including parking, would require 20 acres. Hughes Corp. representatives have visited baseball parks in other cities, including Reno, Sacramento, Calif., and Columbus, Ohio.
Jesse Budos, who lives in the area, said he had not heard of the possibility of a baseball team coming to Summerlin but liked the idea.
“I’d go and watch the games once in the while,” he said. His buddy, Jeremy Fiel, said he’d like to see a sports team headquartered in Summerlin.
“We need some entertainment out here,” Fiel said.
Warden said if a baseball complex does go in, it will likely seat 8,000 to 10,000 people, but he couched that by saying, “That’s if we decide to go in that direction. If that doesn’t get built there, there could be an urban park, a park that would have an amphitheater or it could have office product, office towers, in there.”
Red Rock Resort briefly offered an 8,800-seat amphitheater but closed the venue in early 2013.
What has been the biggest stumbling block to Hughes Corp.’s growth plans?
“The economy has really made development of all types tight across the country, and I think you’d be very hard-pressed to find a regional retail shopping area of this magnitude going forward in today’s economy, anywhere in the country, really,” Warden said. “So, I would say this is one of probably a very small handful of potential locations for regional retail. And that’s why, now, we finally got the attention of the regional retailers, because during the downturn no one wanted to think about investing capital. But the market is waking up now. The retail market is going through a reawakening.”
Another Hughes Corp. parcel, about 200 acres, lies directly east of the Shops at Summerlin site. It will be developed with plans for townhomes, dining and a variety of entertainment venues.
Contact Summerlin/Summerlin South View reporter Jan Hogan at email@example.com or 702-387-2949.