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Financial problems halt construction on retail center

Construction of the Centennial Hills Center project, a 300,000-square-foot medical and professional office and retail center on North Durango Drive and Grand Montecito Parkway, was halted on Oct. 1 due to financing problems.

Larkspur, Calif.-based developer Venture Corp. is stuck in a holding pattern with the development, which was being financed through Lehman Brothers. The global financial services firm filed for the largest bankruptcy in U.S. history in September.

“Basically, we’re mostly finished with the first phase. Right now, we’re on hold and trying to get over the hump,” Venture Chief Operating Officer Mark Heavey said. “There is more site work to be done. Technically, they are still out there, but true construction stopped on Oct. 1.”

The plans for Centennial Hills Center call for 18 buildings, mostly single-story offices. Much of the space is expected to be occupied by medical offices complementing the nearby Centennial Hills Hospital. An outpatient cancer facility, radiology and chemotherapy facilities, and a surgery center could also be part of the project.

Heavey said the lending issues have not yet affected the plans.

“The design hasn’t changed, it’s just stopped the progress,” he said.

“Basically, Phase One is eight buildings, and they’re 99 percent done. We haven’t redesigned the project. It’s just that we can’t do anything until Lehman figures out where they’re at.

“We have no control. It’s the weirdest situation. Even if we had a new loan, we couldn’t take it. My understanding is that (Lehman) is dealing with massive problems in high-rise projects that are under construction, so this project is fairly far down on their priority list.”

Venture is in various stages of development with 23 projects funded through Lehman Brothers.

Heavey said there has been no pressure from the business community or the hospital to finish work on Phase One, which originally was set to be completed before winter.

But the city of Las Vegas, he said, is requiring Venture to finish the streetwork surrounding the site.

City Public Works Director Jorge Cervantes said city officials recently met with the developer and are requiring pot holes along Grand Montecito Parkway to be filled in, calling it a driving safety issue.

Heavey said his company plans to proceed with the development as soon as possible.

“We’re still excited about the project and we’ve had interest,” Heavey said. “We just have a wait-and-see attitude until there is some progress.”


Contact Centennial View reporter Brock Radke at bradke@viewnews.com or 383-4629.

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