Published Wednesday, May 15, 2013 | 3:25 p.m.
Updated Thursday, May 16, 2013 | 9:20 a.m.
Residents of The Ogden high-rise in Downtown Las Vegas are buzzing about what they say is the impending sale of the building to a foreign company.
The Ogden, 150 Las Vegas Blvd. North, is an activity hub for the nouveau downtown tech crowd and home to Zappos CEO Tony Hsieh, who typically houses guests in some of the apartment/condo building’s rooms. It is one of several residential buildings here owned by ST Residential LLC, a Chicago-based company.
ST Residential’s website also lists these properties: Juhl, another downtown building at 353 E. Bonneville Ave.; Loft 5, 2715 W. Pebble Road; Monterey at Las Vegas Country Club; ONE Las Vegas, 8255 Las Vegas Blvd. South; Spanish Palms, 5250 S Rainbow Blvd.; and The Montage in Reno. The website is still listing the properties as leasing space.
Sources say the deal is in escrow with an unknown buyer.
In January, the trade publication National Real Estate Investor reported ST Residential was putting up 13 properties worth about $1 billion for sale.
The properties in Las Vegas, Atlanta, Houston, Chicago, Phoenix and elsewhere were purchased for roughly pennies on the dollar from Corus Bank, which collapsed in 2009 in the aftermath of the nationwide financial crisis.
The Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation took control of Corus‚ majority shares, while another group, including Starwood Capital and TPG Capital, took hold of a minority share. Now ST Residential is selling off the private holdings on Starwood and TPG.
Sources say the sale was part of ST Residential‚s plan all along ˆ to sell the properties when the economy improved; the group may have been pushed along in that plan after learning the difficulty and length of time it takes to get things done with the properties when the federal government is a partner.
In January, the National Real Estate Investor reported that ST Residential had already paid off 32 loans and sold 60 percent of its condo inventory.
Mary Trader, speaking on behalf of ST Residential, said Wednesday no Las Vegas properties had been sold and that the company was “still going through a process.”
Though Hsieh leases some 50 of The Ogden's rooms to house guests and visitors, sources say he is not the buyer. Speculation that Zappos is involved stems from the fact that later this year the company is moving its headquarters and some 1,300 employees from Henderson into old City Hall, about a block from The Ogden.
Many of those employees may want to move downtown to be close to work. Neglected for years, downtown possesses little in the way of residential housing.
Redevelopment group Downtown Project, whose partners include Hsieh, has purchased a large apartment complex, Mayan Plaza, near Alta Drive and Martin Luther King Boulevard, that many say will target some of those Zappos employees.
Other businesses also are starting to think in terms of residential construction downtown. At a meeting of people interested in downtown developments last month, Richard Worthington, president and chief operating officer of Molasky Group of Cos., said his company was considering an apartment project that would include 170 to 190 moderately priced workforce units.
Joe Schoenmann doesn’t just cover downtown, he lives and works there. Schoenmann is Greenspun Media Group’s embedded downtown journalist, working from an office in the Emergency Arts building.