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Sour economy pushes back Tivoli Village opening

The economic slowdown has delayed yet another large-scale commercial development in Las Vegas, though construction will continue on the $850 million Tivoli Village at Queensridge at Rampart Boulevard and Alta Drive, an executive said.

Plans call for 700,000 square feet of retail, restaurant and office space at Tivoli Village with a mix of 340 condominiums. The project was scheduled to open in fall 2009, but has been pushed back to 2010, Executive Home Builders President Frank Pankratz said.

“In these economic times, basically in light of where the marketplace is and where tenants’ lives are these days, we extended the opening of it, and we’ll wait and watch the market,” Pankratz said. “In the meantime, we’ll be out there working away, just not as fast as we anticipated.”

Some tenants wanted to get into the project as soon as possible; other tenants are less eager to open stores today as they were a year or two ago, Pankratz said.

“We decided it was best not to be accelerating construction on the fast-track schedule,” he said.

Tenants that have signed leases at Tivoli Village include Grand Lux Café, Tommy Bahama, David Barton Gym, Ritual Salon and Spa and AG Jeans.

Tivoli Village is a joint venture between Executive Home Builders and Israel-based IDB Development, which also has a stake in the former Frontier property on the Strip. That project, tentatively named Plaza, has been postponed.

The companies developed the $250 million One Queensridge Place luxury condo tower that opened in late 2007 at Rampart and Alta.

While other projects have shut down or never started construction, Tivoli Village is “happening,” Pankratz said. People had been curious about when the village would open.

Grading and infrastructure work on the 30-acre site started in 2006 and the first condos were originally scheduled for completion in 2007. The work included excavation for underground parking and extensive flood-control engineering for the wash that runs through the property.

Rising construction costs and changes in the design of the residences drove the price of Tivoli Village from an estimated $500 million when it was announced in May 2005 to $750 million in 2006 and up to $850 million this year. The project was originally called Village at Queensridge.

Commercial projects that have been canceled, stalled or gone bankrupt are part of the “sea of change” in Las Vegas, real estate consultant John Restrepo said.

“I think developers that are in the construction process are wise in slowing down and letting the economy rebound, assuming they have the financial wherewithal to continue at a slower pace,” he said. “Until we see consumer confidence and spending come back, all bets are off.”

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

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