Once-rundown Las Vegas office complex is spruced up and on the market

Updated April 13, 2018 - 6:32 pm

The squatters, withered landscaping and broken windows are gone. But inside the once-rundown office complex, a nameplate remains: Edwin Fujinaga, President & CEO.

Fujinaga owned MRI International, a medical billing-collections firm that was based in the suburban Las Vegas complex. But federal regulators and prosecutors went after him, accusing him of running a massive Ponzi scheme, and the offices emptied and fell into disrepair.

Today, the property on Durango Drive at Hacienda Avenue is spruced up and on the market, ready to close the chapter on its blighted, beat-up past.

Well, save for the old boss’s nameplate, which is being kept as a joke, listing broker Bridget Richards said.

“We’re comedians at heart,” she said.

Insight Investment Partners and Northcap — two Las Vegas companies that bought the 8-acre property from a court-appointed receiver last year for $12 million — recently wrapped up their overhaul of the southwest valley complex.

They painted the buildings, resurfaced and restriped the parking lot, cleaned the HVAC system, added parking spaces by demolishing a courtyard and finished construction of the two-level garage.

The roughly 131,000-square-foot complex, now called Tribeca Parc, has three office buildings and is listed for $27.5 million.

Even Richards doesn’t expect an investor to buy the whole place at that price, but she said prospective users who have eyed it include labor unions, insurance companies, law firms and an international art gallery.

“Right now I have a church calling me about the property,” said Richards, a principal with Perry Guest Cos.

Northcap founder John Tippins said, “Everything feels brand new” at the complex, even the smell. But he also guessed that, before the overhaul, maybe 10 to 15 windows had been broken.

Troubled past

MRI’s “purported” business, according to the Securities and Exchange Commission, was buying unpaid medical accounts at a discount from health care providers and trying to collect payments from insurance companies.

The agency sued MRI and Fujinaga in 2013, alleging they ran “an extensive and egregious Ponzi scheme” that defrauded thousands of investors, primarily in Japan.

A federal judge in 2015 ordered Fujinaga and MRI to pay more than $580 million in the case. Later that year, a federal grand jury indicted Fujinaga and two MRI executives in Tokyo, alleging they ran a $1.5 billion Ponzi scheme.

Fujinaga is scheduled to go to trial Oct. 29, court records show.

MRI’s offices, meanwhile, emptied and became a target for vandals. Door locks were broken, windows and toilets were smashed, electronics went missing, and vandals busted through ceilings and walls to steal copper pipes and electrical wires.

Most of the landscaping died or deteriorated, homeless people showed up, and hypodermic needles were found around the bushes, according to court filings.

“It was a disaster, an absolute disaster,” Richards said this week.

She used to work in an office nearby and said it “was always kind of a mystery what was going on over here.” It was a beautiful property, she said, but she never saw cars there.

When her group went in to remove the cubicles, the computers weren’t plugged in, as if it were a staging area with fake work stations to show investors, she said. One building even featured a “massive,” fake safe that anyone could bust through.

Still, the complex is great real estate, Richards said.

“They did a good job developing this property. … But, you know, their loss is our gain, ultimately,” she said.

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

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