Friday, March 27, 1998 | 10:10 a.m.
Guests at a reception unveiling plans for the elegant Versailles condominium project near the Badlands golf course were going to get a chance Thursday night to see what the view would be like from one of the three proposed towers' 12th floor.
But the weather halted plans to offer tethered balloon rides to 1,149 feet -- the elevation of the top of the Stratosphere Tower.
So, instead, the 400 invited guests were able to watch a nine-minute video giving a virtual tour of the multimillion-dollar project offering high-rise condo living with a price tag between $1.1 million and $7.7 million.
"It's an excellent view," gushed Gilles Pageau, president of Taurus Development, the Canadian-based coordinator of the 14.5-acre project on the Badlands' ninth hole. "From the front are views of the city and from the back, where the studies and bedrooms are, you can see the mountains."
Five other companies are part of the team developing the project. Among them are Peccole Nevada Corp., which is putting up a portion of its Queensridge property for Versailles. The land has been in the Peccole family for more than 45 years.
Versailles -- one of four luxury condo projects on Southern Nevada's horizon and one builders say will be better than New York's Park Avenue and L.A.'s Bel Air -- will be filled with top-drawer features.
The units themselves will range from 3,000 to 13,000 square feet. On the first four floors, there will be four units while the rest of the floors will have two units per floor.
Besides ornate landscaping, access to the golf course, around-the-clock security, a spa, a ballroom and concierge and valet service, the 10 different floor plans offer terraces, dens, direct-access elevators, and a collection of fancy amenities.
But who will buy the palatial abodes?
Dennis Smith of Las Vegas-based Home Builders Research said he has no data to offer any historical perspective on that type of product. He acknowledged that there are several high-end residential properties, but nothing in the condominium classification. Smith said there are no production homes worth more than $1 million in Las Vegas, but there are high-end homes by several developers in Summerlin, Queensridge, Lake Las Vegas and Spanish Trail.
"Very rich people," Pageau said with a laugh. "That's who will buy here."
And those buyers include world travelers looking for second (or third) homes in a gaming mecca that will soon be home to a new tier of high rollers populating Bellagio, Paris, the Venetian and Mandalay Bay. Pageau also is targeting big-money sports personalities and Hollywood celebrities who may prefer to fly directly to Versailles' on-property helipad.
Top executives from high-end companies and foreign business people from Europe to Hong Kong also are on Pageau's prospects list. Taurus Development hired a Los Angeles consultant to study the demographic possibilities, but Pageau said the company is confident enough that it would build two of the three buildings -- 56 of the total 84 units -- without completing a sale. He said he had 50 solid prospects even before Thursday night's reception.
Pageau said ground would be broken this summer with completion of the first two buildings occurring 14 months later. He said timing of the construction timetable is perfectly sandwiched between current resort projects with the first residents of the condo due to move in around the turn of the century.
One of the announced upscale condo projects that would compete with Versailles is The Park at Hughes Center, a project offered by the Molasky Cos. Irwin Molasky's project, located at the Hughes Center complex between Flamingo Road and Sands Avenue at Paradise Road, has the advantage of being the closest condo project to the Strip.