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Boutique design central at The Avenue

Las Vegas developer and designer Ken Wolfson sees potential for the evolution of the “Rancho wellness and spa district” as his $6.5 million loft project nears completion.

Wolfson is building The Avenue, a five-story building at 621 S. Tonopah Drive with five residential lofts and a commercial loft. Vanguard Construction is the general contractor and occupancy is expected in September.

Two-story loft units range from 1,580 square feet to 3,350 square feet, with prices starting in the $700,000s. The ground level will have 1,800 square feet of commercial use.

Wolfson, 41, said luxury boutiques and urban redevelopment are the next logical step for Las Vegas. The Avenue uses less than a half-acre of land and makes perfect sense for a city plagued by land availability issues, he said.

“I think it’s well designed and an appropriate application,” Wolfson said. “There’s only nine or 10 houses left in this neighborhood. Within a short time, this will be brand new mixed-use.”

Wolfson, who came from California with a background in finance, was among the early developers to go knocking on the city’s door with proposals for downtown development.

He originally planned to build a loft project at First and Fremont streets on a 7,000-square-foot lot that he bought for $360,000 in April 2003. He sold it a year later to Golden Nugget for $1.6 million.

Wolfson had established a relationship with city planners and economic developers who were supportive of his mixed-use development.

He said the city passed two landmark revisions in 2004 to the medical district around Rancho Drive and Charleston Boulevard — first the live-work text overlay and then a modification that encourages mixed-use development with no height restrictions or residential adjacency requirements.

Wolfson’s next project, The Strand, is planned for professional offices and residential flats in a four-story building next to The Avenue.

“My motivation is to come up with something unique,” he said. “Architecture and interior design are really my top priority. I could do a bigger project, but I thought there was a niche for a boutique product. That’s really the calling card behind what I do.”

BUSINESS PARK: Panattoni Development has started construction on Civic Center Corporate Park, a $25 million business park at Civic Center Drive and Alexander Road in North Las Vegas.

Four buildings from 16,000 square feet to 100,000 square feet are planned for the 14-acre site. The 16-unit first phase will have 4,000 square feet to 8,650 square feet for sale or lease. Each unit has two docks and a grade-level door with office shells available for build-out. Completion is scheduled for the fourth quarter.

SHOPPING CENTERS: Las Vegas-based RCS Development plans to build the 22,000-square-foot Patrick Neighborhood Plaza at Patrick Lane and Pecos Road and the 11,750-square-foot Serene Neighborhood Plaza at Serene Avenue and Tamarus Street. Construction costs for the retail centers are estimated at $9 million and $5 million, respectively.

General contractor for both projects is Massengale Construction; Gatski Commercial is the leasing agent. Construction is scheduled to start this summer and finish in the first quarter of 2008.

CHARITY HEADQUARTERS: The Goodwill headquarters building on Cheyenne Avenue in North Las Vegas is on the market for $16.5 million, or $222 a square foot. The 74,380-square-foot building, listed by Cesar Talavera and Perry White of Marcus & Millichap, sits on a 4.4-acre lot and is divided into a retail showroom, office area with mezzanine and warehouse with 10 dock wells and a grade-level, roll-up door. There are 112 parking spaces.

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