Monday, Aug. 29, 2005 | 11 a.m.
Actor George Clooney and nightclub developer Rande Gerber have signed on to invest in a previously announced hotel and condo project on Harmon Avenue between Koval Lane and Paradise Road.
The $3 billion Las Ramblas project, the largest and most expensive project to date in the rapidly-growing Harmon and Koval corridor, also will include a casino as well as a spa, health club, dining and shopping.
The Sun first reported on the project in March, when Centra Properties purchased 25 acres for a hotel and condo complex by buying the 996-unit Harbor Island apartments and several four-plex buildings nearby for about $85 million.
Centra is owned by Las Vegas developers Kenny Sullivan and Jim Stuart, who are developing the project with the Las Vegas arm of Related Cos. of New York. Related is known for building mixed-use urban developments such as Time Warner Center in New York and CityPlace in West Palm Beach.
Gerber and Clooney are "personally investing a significant amount of money" in the project and are also buying condos there, the developers said. They wouldn't specifically disclose that investment.
Related and Centra officials, as well as Gerber and Clooney, were not available for comment by press time.
Clooney told the Los Angeles Times in an interview that developers are considering "some sort of dress code" for the casino "so that it will feel like you are walking into a more formal Las Vegas of a different age or a classic Monte Carlo casino."
Gerber said in a statement that he had discussed the possibility of developing a project with Clooney for the last two years and that the pair will be actively involved Las Ramblas' design.
Clooney is a Las Vegas regular and a friend of Gerber, who is known for developing the Whiskey nightclub at Green Valley Ranch Station Casino in Henderson as well as other hip nightspots in New York and Los Angeles. One of his newest ventures is a lounge called Stone Rose in Related Cos.' Time Warner Center.
"We're investing financially and creatively to develop an idyllic environment that reflects our personal tastes and interests and where we can relax with our friends who also love this town," Clooney said in a statement.
Las Ramblas will begin construction in mid-2006 and eventually feature 11 high-rise buildings. It joins several other projects in the neighborhood, where hip, luxury residences will soon replace low-rent buildings.
Last week Starwood Hotels and Resorts Worldwide and developer Edge Resorts announced plans for a $1.7 billion condo complex and W hotel on 21 acres just west of Las Ramblas. To the north, Hard Rock is building a $1.2 billion condo-hotel and residential project.
Las Ramblas will include 300 hotel rooms, 2,764 condo units, 1,326 condo-hotel units and 19 bungalows. The first phase will be complete by 2008 and consist of a 300-room hotel with 370 condo-hotel units, a second tower with about 560 condo-hotel units and two gateway residential condominium buildings with 285 and 344 units, respectively.
Gerber's company will develop restaurants, clubs and lounges for Las Ramblas, named after a long promenade in the heart of Barcelona, Spain. The project is envisioned as a Main Street lined with bars, restaurants and other attractions down the middle of the property with residential units above the retail offerings.
The project's scope has grown since March, when developers envisioned a $2 billion project with up to 3,500 condo units. Centra at the time said a casino might be part of the design.