Former auto dealership makes way for high-rises

A Caterpillar claw-mounted backhoe tore through the block walls and aluminum roof of the former Falconi Honda dealership on West Tropicana Avenue on Wednesday, clearing the 12-acre site for construction of the $850 million Pinnacle Las Vegas condominium-hotel.

Michael Bellon, managing partner for The Falcon Group, said the demolition is “another significant milestone in bringing Pinnacle to life.”

Groundbreaking is scheduled for later this year.

Unlike other high-rise condo developers who may have rushed to the market too soon, Falcon Group spent two years carefully planning the project and getting the entitlements and zoning in place, Bellon said.

Falcon Group, led by investors and associates of Angelo Falconi, has owned the land free and clear for 20 years, bringing collateral to the project and eliminating debt service for land acquisition, Bellon noted. The land is valued at about $8 million an acre, he said.

Bellon credited Falconi for having the faith and courage to put up $12 million cash for the project at a time when other projects such as Krystal Sands, Aqua Blue, Icon and Ivana Las Vegas had failed. Berkshire Capital Financial of New York provided $50 million in mezzanine lending, or the bridge between equity and the construction loan.

The 36-story, 1,100-unit Pinnacle is part of the “third wave” of high-rise condo development to hit Las Vegas, Bellon said.

The first was Turnberry Place and Park Towers, followed by Metropolis, Panorama, SoHo Lofts and Sky Las Vegas.

At the height of construction, Pinnacle will provide 2,000 construction jobs and generate millions of dollars in tax revenue, Bellon said.

Marnell Corrao is the general contractor and YWS Architects is the architect. “Sky bridge” suites that adjoin the two towers distinguish the building.

Amenities include a three-acre “wet deck,” restaurants, movie theater, health and fitness center, full-service spa, office and business center and managed resort program. Unit prices range from the $400,000s to more than $1.4 million.

“We wanted to create something that single-handedly redefined the standard of Las Vegas condominium living,” Bellon said.

Upon opening in spring 2010, Pinnacle will employ 500 full-time workers.

RETAIL CENTER: Blackstone Capital Group has awarded a $4.2 million contract to TWC Construction to build a new retail center at 5105 S. Fort Apache Road.

Construction of four one-story, wood-framed buildings totaling 42,000 square feet is scheduled for completion by year’s end.

Blackstone has six projects in various stages of development in California, Colorado, Texas and Nevada with a combined value of $170 million.

OFFICE WORK: Crisci Builders has completed $1.5 million in tenant improvements for the fifth building at Marnell Corporate Center, 6720 Via Austi Parkway. Crisci built out 22,600 square feet on the fifth floor. Paul Auzenne was project manager.

TRANSACTIONS: Jeremy Green, Geoffrey West and Leo Biedermann of CB Richard Ellis represented Wynn Quail in the sale of nearly 43,000 square feet of industrial space on Quail Avenue and Wynn Road to Desert Springs Business Park for $6.2 million.

Michael DeLew and Greg Pancirov of Colliers International represented Coleman Airpark in the sale of 11,100 square feet of industrial space at 2985 Coleman St. in North Las Vegas for $1.35 million. The buyer was Weller South.

Fresh and Easy Neighborhood Market signed a 20-year lease for 14,000 square feet of retail space in Foothills Plaza at Stephanie Street and Horizon Ridge Parkway in Henderson. David Grant and Scot Marker of Colliers International represented the lessor, Foothills NV, in the $5.2 million transaction.

Direct Access Lending signed a 40-month lease for 3,248 square feet of office space at 8751 W. Charleston Blvd. Ryan Martin, Suzette LaGrange and Chris Jensvold of Colliers represented the lessor, Charleston Design Center, in the $245,000 deal.

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