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Siegel Group acquires Emerald Suites Tropicana

Siegel Group has purchased Emerald Suites Tropicana for slightly more than $20 million, the third Las Vegas acquisition in as many weeks for the Los Angeles-based real estate development company.

The 225-room, extended-stay hotel is near Tropicana Avenue and Valley View Boulevard, not far from Interstate 15 and the Strip.

The property, originally built as a combination of apartments and extended-stay suites, is mapped for individual condominiums. It was operated most recently as a hotel with daily rental units.

SASCO Properties, a Siegel Group affiliate, will take operational control and immediately reposition the property, converting the majority of units back to extended-stay. The property will be renamed Siegel Suites Tropicana and operate under the Siegel Suites brand.

Siegel Group President and Chief Executive Officer Steve Siegel said he’s aggressively pursuing “smart and calculated” acquisitions in Las Vegas.

“People have come and left town,” Siegel said Wednesday as he drove around the valley looking at properties with broker John Tippins. “I think in a market like this, we’re able to do more deals. There’s less competition and sellers are more nervous now.”

Siegel also bought The Falls Apartments, a 230-unit apartment complex near University of Las Vegas, Nevada, for $14.8 million. The property will be renamed Siegel Suites Cambridge and operate under the Siegel Suites brand.

It’s within walking distance of the university and down the street from Siegel Suites Twain, another property Siegel acquired at the corner of Paradise Road and Twain Avenue.

Siegel said he plans to convert the traditional apartments into extended-stay units, giving tenants flexibility on how long they want to stay and how much they want to pay for amenities and services such as housekeeping.

Siegel Group has worked diligently over the last six months to build its portfolio and now has more than 2,500 units in Las Vegas, Mesquite and Reno.

The CEO said he’s not worried about reports of Las Vegas real estate being overvalued.

“If you’re good at your business, good at what you do … Vegas is unique, there’s only one Vegas. When it comes back, it comes back stronger than ever,” Siegel said.

HOUSING OUTLOOK: Forbes magazine and Moody’s.com, two media sources that put Las Vegas on their endangered cities lists for everything from housing to commercial development in the last few years, now have Las Vegas at No. 10 on their list of cities to buy homes.

Based on models that estimated 2008 housing inventory, sales rates and turnover, the magazine compiled a list of markets that are experiencing price declines, but where buying looks attractive because there is likely to be an increase in sales in the near future.

Forbes and Moody’s is showing the median home price in Las Vegas at $307,900, down 3.6 percent from 2006. Fort Worth, Texas, was No. 1 at $156,500, up 1.7 percent, followed by Kansas City, Mo.; Houston; Cleveland; Denver; Long Island, N.Y.; Washington, D.C.; Orlando, Fla.; and Phoenix.

DEFENDER’S OFFICE: General Design and Construction is doing $611,745 of design-build tenant improvement work for the Office of the Public Defender at 309 S. Third St. The contractor is expected to complete renovations to the four-story, 70,000-square-foot building in the spring.

RAINBOW SUNSET: Plise Cos. has broken ground on a $60 million, eight-story office building at Rainbow Sunset Pavilion, a 25-acre business park being developed by Plise at Rainbow Boulevard and Sunset Road. The building is scheduled for completion in fourth quarter 2008.

VENTUREPOINT: Construction has begun on the $25 million, 160,000-square-foot VenturePoint Speedway development at Tropical Parkway and Mount Hood Street.

The project consists of 16 concrete tilt-up units ranging in size from 6,000 square feet to 32,000 square feet. All units will be “turn key,” meaning they’re ready for move-in. Amenities include high-finish exteriors, 22-foot clear height, evaporation coolers, warehouse lights and dock- and grade-level loading.

Contact reporter Hubble Smith at hsmith@reviewjournal.com or (702) 383-0491.

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