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Land near Las Vegas Strip once planned for casino has new owners

The names were big and their plans even bigger, but the property near the Strip has nothing to show for it, just a vacant lot overtaken by weeds, and old signs touting a future casino-resort.

Now, years after George Clooney, a diamond magnate and others set out to develop the site, another group is taking a chance on it.

The Daneshgar family of Southern California bought nearly 60 acres of mostly empty real estate at the northeast corner of Harmon Avenue and Koval Lane for $130 million, property records show. The sale closed Feb. 12.

The buyers aren’t known for developing projects on or near the Strip, and it’s unclear what they plan to do with the site, which they acquired out of foreclosure. But the deal marks a rare, big land sale near tourist-choked Las Vegas Boulevard.

“It takes that old, tired piece of property that’s been vacant forever and puts some energy and life into it,” said listing broker Mike Mixer, executive managing director of Colliers International’s Las Vegas office.

Las Vegas consultant John Restrepo, founder of RCG Economics, said the land, just east of the Strip, could have a mix of high-density residential, retail and maybe a nongaming hotel.(Las Vegas Review-Journal)

CBRE Group broker Michael Parks, a former listing broker for the site, said he used to tell prospective buyers that the property could be planned for various uses and then sold in pieces to other developers. He also said that when he shopped it around, the sellers wanted $180 million.

The Daneshgar family, owners of Beverly Hills, California-based real estate firm 3D Investments, said in a statement Tuesday that it is “excited to purchase a core asset in Las Vegas with tremendous potential and a rich history of development approvals” and that it looks forward “to maximizing the potential of this very well-located site.”

Their acquisition includes the Harbor Island apartment complex next to the Hard Rock Hotel.

Property records indicate that the sellers included New York real estate firm iStar. The company did not respond to requests for comment Tuesday.

Like countless other parcels around the valley, this one has no shortage of old development plans that never came out of the ground. But the size of those projects and the builders involved set it apart.

In 2005, with easy money inflating Las Vegas’ wild real estate bubble, Starwood Hotels &Resorts Worldwide and Edge Resorts announced plans for the W Las Vegas, a $1.7 billion hotel-condo project at Harmon and Koval.

Soon after, Clooney, nightclub owner Rande Gerber, Miami condo developer Jorge Perez and former Las Vegas developer Centra Properties unveiled plans for a project adjacent to the W, a $3 billion hotel-condo project called Las Ramblas.

The W’s developers bought the Las Ramblas site in 2006. Then in 2007, a group that included diamond magnate Lev Leviev’s conglomerate Africa Israel Investments acquired the whole spread, property records indicate.

By early 2009, with the economy crashing, the landowners filed plans for a massive development that called for 6,700-plus hotel rooms and more than 328,000 square feet of casino space, Clark County records show.

But nothing was built, and lenders foreclosed on the site in late 2014.

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

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