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Grading started for condo project The Mercer

Chicago-based JDL Development is grading the 5-acre site and laying underground utilities for The Mercer, a 113-unit mid-rise condo project at Tropicana Avenue and Grand Canyon Parkway in southwestern Las Vegas.

The Mercer is more than 50 percent sold and occupancy is expected in summer 2008, JDL President Jim Letchinger said Wednesday during a sales event celebrating the start of construction.

Although financial issues have delayed other condo projects in Las Vegas, The Mercer is fully financed by First American Bank in Chicago and proceeding with construction, he said. Vanguard Construction is general contractor for the $50 million project.

Letchinger said he’s read about all of the foreclosures in Las Vegas and the downturn in the housing market, yet he hasn’t seen any price reductions for mid-rise luxury condos.

Foreclosures will allow people moving to Las Vegas to enter the housing market who might not have otherwise been able to afford a home here, he said.

“The real estate market doesn’t correct itself in little steps. It has to take one huge hit and then it starts to recover,” Letchinger said. “It’s all driven by the capital markets. When capital markets wake up with too much product and too many loans, they shut the faucet off. That might be the wrong time.”

People who closed escrow eight months ago were really at the peak of the mortgage “boiling point,” he said.

Prices at The Mercer range from $422,000 for a two-bedroom, 1,400-square-foot unit to $748,000 for a three-bedroom, 2,370-square-foot unit.

JDL, established in 1993, has developed more than 1,000 high-end residential units and is currently building a high-rise rental apartment in Chicago. JDL formed a joint venture with Las Vegas-based Modern Living Holdings for The Mercer.

DESIGN-BUILD: Clark & Sullivan and Arrington Watkins Architects won a $16.8 million design-build award for a Metro police substation at the Las Vegas Convention Center. Plans call for a 25,000-square-foot substation and adjacent 300-car parking structure.

ULTRALUXURY HOME: An 18,378-square-foot mansion at 1186 MacDonald Ranch Drive in MacDonald Highlands closed escrow for $17.5 million, the highest recorded residential home sale in Las Vegas, brokers Stan Hicks and Mason Richburg of Coldwell Banker Premier Realty report.

Last year, the Queensridge home of former strip club owner Michael Galardi sold for $14 million.

The MacDonald Highlands home, built in 2005 on two acres on Dragon Ridge Golf Course, has six bedrooms, 61/2 baths and four fireplaces. It has a courtyard, pool, regulation tennis and basketball courts and a covered patio for entertaining.

The sellers were Mark and Holly Wattles. The buyer is the Laurie Nancy Walton Trust.

INDUSTRIAL PARK: Cross Creek Development has broken ground on the 40-acre Raceway Business Park at Hollywood Boulevard and Ann Road near Las Vegas Motor Speedway.

The developer is selling 24 one-acre pad sites complete with utilities, street and drive lights and screened walls. The second phase will have concrete tilt-up buildings ranging from 5,000 to 7,000 square feet with side yards.

Cross Creek paid $22 a square foot for the land. When complete, the $70 million project will have about 1 million square feet of industrial space and 400,000 square feet of office and retail space, Cross Creek President Mitchell Wilson said.

BROKER MILESTONE: Office brokers Brad Peterson, Randy Broadhead and Darren Lemmon of CB Richard Ellis recently surpassed $1 billion in transactions with three big leases in August.

They signed online shoe retailer Zappos.com to a $4.2 million lease for 109,000 square feet of office space at 2280 Corporate Circle in Henderson.

The brokers also negotiated a seven-year lease for AT&T to take 71,600 square feet at Corporate Pointe, 10450 W. Charleston Blvd., for office space and a call center.

Peterson represented Stantec Consulting in a five-year, $2.2 million lease of 15,000 square feet at EJM’s Arroyo Corporate Center, 5895 S. Tenaya Way.

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