Friday, March 11, 2005 | 11:11 a.m.
Development firm Centra closed escrow this week on the 996-unit Harbor Island apartments on Harmon near Koval, and plans to raze the property for a $2 billion complex of high-rise condominiums and a boutique hotel.
Centra, owned by Las Vegans Kenny Sullivan and Jim Stuart, purchased the apartment complex and 14 separate four-plex buildings that were next door for about $85 million. The property, totaling 25 acres, is located on Harmon Avenue between Koval Lane and Paradise Road, adjacent to the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino. The project is being developed in partnership with the Related Cos.
Centra also has plans throughout town for mixed-use projects throughout the valley, including in Henderson, in the southwest at Sunset Road and the Las Vegas Beltway, and at Industrial and Flamingo roads. The company also is continuing with its plans for a 1.8 million-square-foot retail center on Las Vegas Boulevard near the Interstate 15/Interstate 215 interchange.
"Our intentions are to do an amazing project," Sullivan said of the Harmon project. "What's different about this and other projects that have been announced is that we have 25 acres to work with. Most projects announced will be built on two and three acres of land."
Centra expects to submit its plans for its Harmon project to Clark County later this month. Preliminary designs show a complex of 10 to 12 high-rise buildings with up to 3,500 condo units. The height of the buildings has not yet been determined but probably will be 28 to 32 stories tall, Sullivan said.
Retail also will be a component of the project, he said.
Gaming may be a part of the project, but Sullivan said it is too early to say definitively. The land does have H-1 zoning, which allows for gaming.
"The way we're designing this, our intention is to build a Main Street down the middle of the property, like Las Ramblas in Spain, then with residential above it," Sullivan said. "It will be like living in New York City, with lots of activity down on the street."
Las Ramblas is a long promenade through the heart of Barcelona, Spain. Along the street are stalls, restaurants, bars, hotels and street performers.
Centra expects to be under construction with the first building in the first quarter of 2006.
Centra's partner, the Related Cos. is involved in numerous projects throughout town, including development of the city's 61 acres, the World Market Center furniture mart, and the Icon condominiums at the northeast corner of Convention Center Drive and Las Vegas Boulevard, behind the Ross Dress for Less.
Centra's project is one of many that are being planned along the Harmon Avenue corridor.
The Centra project is near the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino and its planned $1 billion complex of four condo-hotel towers.
The Hard Rock towers would be built on a 24-acre site now occupied by apartment complexes. A company controlled by Hard Rock executive Peter Morton bought the land last fall for $86 million.
Construction is expected to begin sometime this year with the first phase to be completed about a year from groundbreaking.
That project includes plans for restaurants, nightclubs, retail shops, a health club and spa. Preliminary plans call for 1,500 units ranging from studios to one- and two-bedroom units and 6,000-square-foot penthouses. Poolside bungalows and villas also are planned.
David Atwell, Las Vegas casino resort broker, said the entire Harmon corridor is being redeveloped.
"This is the wave of the future, of older, low-rise apartments and motel-hotel type buildings making way for major projects," he said.
Atwell said he recently brokered a deal for a motel at Harmon and Las Vegas Boulevard for the development of a condo-hotel with retail.
Atwell said the Marriott Grand Chateau time share, at 75 E. Harmon, also points to the trend in redevelopment. Atwell said he also was involved in that land property deal.
Homebuilder DR Horton recently purchased 33 acres of land at the northeast corner of Harmon Avenue and Koval for $86.5 million and some industry experts say the property may be developed into a dense mixed urban village with a casino component. The property now includes a complex of low-rent apartments built in 1963.
"We will see these kind of properties redeveloped into higher and better uses," Atwell said.
Centra is no stranger to big, ground-breaking projects.
The 3-year-old company sent the retail world abuzz last spring when it announced plans for a 1.8 million-square-foot retail project on 100 acres on Las Vegas Boulevard at the I-15/I-215 interchange.
The Town Square shopping center, described as a "super-regional lifestyle center" will include a 200-room hotel, Sullivan said.
The company expects to break ground on the project within the next two months with a planned opening date of November 2006, he said.
Another unique project Centra is involved in is at the northwest corner of Stephanie Street and I-215 in Henderson.
Centra has joined with Beazer Homes to develop 40 acres (across from RC Willey Home Furnishings) into the valley's "first transit-oriented development," Sullivan said.
The property would be crossed by the Regional Transportation Commission's proposed light-rail transit system, and Centra wants to take full advantage of that, he said.
"Where density belongs is adjacent to the mass transit corridors," Sullivan said.
Sullivan said the project is now at the city of Henderson for approval, and may include 1,200 to 1,500 residential units with some retail.
"We've traveled all around the country as to how it works in other cities, and now its up to educating the public on how to use mass transit," he said.
Centra expects the earliest the Henderson project will begin is later this year.
And if all those projects weren't enough to keep its plate full, Centra also is expected to close escrow on two pieces of land, 50 acres and 15 acres, respectively, for another series of high-rise condominiums.
The first project, 50 acres in the southwest at Sunset and I-215, will be a mixed-use development of high-end office buildings and high-end condominiums, similar to the Hughes Center office park at Flamingo and Paradise.
Sullivan said the company expects to close escrow on that land at the end of May.
The company also is in escrow for 15 acres at Industrial and Flamingo. The land is situated behind the Tommy Rockers Cantina & Grill but does not include the restaurant, Sullivan said.
Centra plans to develop a condominium project on that site. Preliminary plans are for a couple thousand condo units in up to five buildings.
Sullivan said the Industrial corridor parallel to the Strip will continue to change.
"All those old industrial buildings are about to come down," he said. "It is a very viable area of town, and industrial is not the highest and best use."
The residential and large-scale retail projects are a departure from Centra's beginnings building industrial properties in North Las Vegas and office buildings. The company is now under development with Centra Point office park at the Las Vegas Beltway and Durango Drive.
"We have constructed and leased almost a half million square feet in 22 months (at Centra Point) and what we've proven is there's great demand for people to live and work on the 215," Sullivan said.