Investor still pursues distressed Las Vegas real estate

After the real estate market crashed last decade, investors swooped in for the leftovers. They bought cheap houses in bulk to turn into rentals and snapped up abandoned projects at steep discounts.

The bargain hunters included Ofir Hagay, who, with partners, bought partially built projects in Las Vegas, finished construction and signed tenants.

Today, beat-up, discounted properties are largely gone from the valley, but Hagay is still going after distressed real estate.

The 52-year-old Israeli native bought two office buildings out of bankruptcy in September for $24.8 million, property records show. He acquired the buildings, 8912 and 8918 Spanish Ridge Ave., in the southwest valley, through a new fund at his firm Moonwater Capital. (Las Vegas Review-Journal)

According to listing brokerage Sun Commercial Real Estate, 8912 Spanish Ridge, a three-story, 71,000 square-foot building, was fully occupied at the time of sale, and 8918, a two-story, 41,400-square-foot building, was 50 percent occupied.

Tenants include builder Harmony Homes, Meadows Bank and advertising firm SK+G, whose founders owned the buildings but pushed them into bankruptcy this year when their mortgage came due.

Las Vegas’ office market is still wobbly from the recession. But Hagay’s purchase comes amid a rising tally of office-building sales, reversing a recent slide, and stronger-than-average demand for space in the southwest valley.

The Spanish Ridge buildings were Hagay’s first purchase through his new fund, he said, and he has another half-dozen or so deals in the pipeline.

And his background is, to say the least, a bit different than other developers’.

Israel, Africa, Bulgaria, Las Vegas

As he tells it, he was born in Jerusalem but, while in the Israeli military, broke his neck in a training exercise, blocking him from becoming a combat officer. He moved to Freetown, Sierra Leone, at age 22 and worked for a company that, among other things, imported rice and exported diamonds and other commodities.

While in Israel for his father’s funeral, a coup hit Sierra Leone. Hagay says he lost everything and didn’t go back.

He eventually moved to Bulgaria, spending 10 years there before arriving in Las Vegas in 2003.

Hagay did condo conversions here, or buy apartment-rental buildings and then sell the units. But the economy crashed, and Las Vegas became flooded with abandoned, underwater and bank-owned properties.

Hagay formed WGH Partners with investors Michael Werner and Benjy Garfinkle. Among other deals, they teamed with The Krausz Cos. of San Francisco to buy and finish ManhattanWest, a mothballed mixed-use project on Russell Road just west of the 215 Beltway. They renamed it The Gramercy, completed construction and filled it with office tenants, eateries and apartment renters.

They sold The Gramercy’s two office and retail buildings this year for almost $62 million, three times what they paid for all of ManhattanWest in 2013.

Mortgage comes due

The Spanish Ridge buildings may have gone bankrupt, but they’re open and operational, not abandoned and unfinished like some of Hagay’s other purchases.

He bought the office buildings from SK+G founders Jerry Kramer and John Schadler, who filed Chapter 11 protection for the properties in March, records show.

In a court filing, Kramer said the ownership filed the case because the balance of their mortgage on the buildings was “due and owing.”

In a recent interview, Kramer said his group was never late with its mortgage payments. But refinancing the debt would have required them to make a cash payment of $5 million to $6 million, and they “weren’t willing to commit that kind of money,” he said.

He said his group was “hoping to be able to work it out” by filing Chapter 11, but Hagay came along and “made an offer that made everybody whole.”

Contact Eli Segall at esegall@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-0342. Follow @eli_segall on Twitter.

ad-high_impact_4
Business
Xtreme Manufacturing and Snorkel at World of Concrete
World of Concrete boasts 1,600 exhibitors across 745,000 net square feet at the Las Vegas Convention Center. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @KMCannonPhoto
CAT Smartphones displayed at World of Concrete 2019
CAT phones for trade workers on display at the 2019 World of Concrete convention. (Bailey Schulz/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
More woman-focused workwear coming to market
Carhartt Company Gear senior brand manager Katelyn Donah discusses a growing percentage of women in skilled trade professions. (Bailey Schulz/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
MGM Grand Plans To Add Retail And Dining To Its Strip Facade
MGM Grand President and Chief Operating Officer Scott Sibella said executives are “discussing redeveloping that entire frontage of the building out to the Las Vegas Strip.” (Todd Prince/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Boyd Gaming planning new corporate campus
Casino operator Boyd Gaming Corp. has filed plans to build a new corporate campus. The plans call for two 10-story office buildings and a six-level parking garage in the southwest Las Vegas Valley. Boyd Gaming operates The Orleans, the Suncoast, downtown's California Hotel and other properties. The new headquarters would be just a mile from its current main office building.
Bellagio Conservatory transformed to celebrate Year of the Pig
The Bellagio Conservatory Team transformed the 14,000 square foot conservatory to commemorate Chinese New Year, the holiday that marks the end of the coldest days of winter. (Rachel Aston/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
CES 2019: Intro uses sound to connect people
Intro, a startup that is part of the Future Worlds Accelerator in the UK, has an app that uses ultrasonic sound to find people and companies nearby. (Mat Luschek/Review-Journal)
CES 2019 Video: CES wraps up another year
Time-lapse video of the action at CES 2019 in Las Vegas. (Mat Luschek/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
CES 2019: Create your own beauty products
Beauty Mix by BeautyByMe is a product that lets you create your own cosmetics and beauty products. (Mat Luschek/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
CES 2019: Picobrew’s home brew machine
Picobrew brings automation to homebrewing. (Mat Luschek/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
CES 2019: Surviving CES
What it's like to spend four days working the mammoth tech convention. (Jason Bracelin/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Haier’s smart home
Haier presented smart home technology at CES 2019.
CES 2019 VIDEO: Foldimate makes laundry day easy
Foldimate has created a machine that will fold your laundry for you. Just feed it anything you need folded and it will do the rest. (Mat Luschek/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
CES 2019: Opte device corrects skin spots
Opte from Proctor and Gamble is a device for correcting spots and freckles from skin. It analyzes the area for spots and then covers them with a serum of matching skin tone. (Mat Luschek/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Circa hotel-casino in downtown Las Vegas unveiled
Derek Stevens reveals Circa hotel-casino in downtown Las Vegas. He plans open by the end of 2020. (K.M Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Circa, new casino coming to Fremont Street
Casino owner Derek Stevens announces his new property Circa, coming to Fremont Street in downtown Las Vegas in late 2020. (Michael Quine/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Dreenk My Oeno makes wine suggestions
At CES 2019 in Las Vegas, the Dreenk My Oeno tells you all about wine.
Polaroid One Step Plus camera unveiled at CES 2019
Polaroid has moved into the digital age with its One Step Plus camera with Bluetooth. With the connected app, it turns your smartphone into a remote for the camera, along with filters and features. (Mat Luschek/Review-Journal)
Amazon is everywhere at CES 2019 in Las Vegas
Seemingly everything works with Amazon Alexa
LG Smart Mirror helps you dress snazzy
LG’s Smart Mirror is less of a mirror but more of an assistant to help get you looking snazzy. It takes your image and recommends clothes for you or matches existing clothes with new clothes, which can be purchased right from the mirror. (Mat Luschek/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Underwater robots make waves at CES 2019 in Las Vegas
Robosea is a company dedicated to underwater robotics. They produce consumer robots for underwater filming as well as commercial products which can be used for underwater research. (Mat Luschek/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
CES 2019 - Victrola record players spin in Las Vegas
A new spin on an old favorite, Victrola record players are meeting a demand for retro products. The brand is also making furnitures with built-in speakers.
CES 2019: Slamtec robots ready to serve
Slamtec is a robotics company out of China whose goal is to provide solutions for laser localization mapping and navigation. They have created two autonomous robots that can be used in areas such as bars, restaurants and malls. (Mat Luschek/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Mixologiq drink maker appears at CES 2019 in Las Vegas.
This is the Mixologiq drink maker.
CES 2019: Veritable smart garden
Let’s face it; not all of us have green thumbs. And herbs are particularly difficult to grow, considering their constant need for sunshine. Enter the Veritable smart garden from Exky, which does it all for you. (Heidi Knapp Rinella/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Bonnie Springs Ranch near Las Vegas being sold to developer
Bonnie Springs Ranch near Las Vegas is being sold to a developer, set to close in March. Bonnie Springs, west of Las Vegas off State Route 159 — next to Spring Mountain Ranch State Park — spans more than 60 acres and was on the market for $31 million. The developer and his project partner are under contract to buy the ranch and plan to chop it up mostly into custom-home lots. The plans includes a 25-room motel, a restaurant and a 5,400-square-foot event barn.
Bone-conduction headphones form Aftershokz
Aftershokz offers bone-conduction headphones - headphones that don’t go in the ear.
CES Happy Hour party at Hangover Suite at Caesars Palace
Conventioneers mingled during the Hardware Massive CES 2019 Happy Hour Bash at The Hangover Suite at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @KMCannonPhoto
Autonomous Cars and Futuristic Aircraft Rule CES
Day two of CES was dominated by autonomous cars and futuristic aircraft in the North Hall of the Las Vegas Convention Center.
TekNekSavr fights neck problems caused by smart phones
Atiya Syverson invented the TekNekSavr to help fight neck and head problems caused by strains while typing on smart phones. (Mat Luschek/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
TOP NEWS
News Headlines
Home Front Page Footer Listing
Circular
You May Like

You May Like