LAS VEGAS-Site work for the 1,100-unit Pinnacle Condominium Resort-Hotel will get under way this week with the razing of two buildings. The distinctive dual-tower development is planned for 12 acres located 1.5 miles west of the Strip at the intersection of West Tropicana Ave. and Cameron St., across from the Orleans hotel, casino and arena. The Westside location provides for unobstructed views in all directions.

The developer and landowner is the Falcon Group. The partnership includes the Falconi Group, Praxis Resources Inc. and Las Vegas-based Elysium Enterprises. Falconi Group and Praxis are real estate development companies based in Pennsylvania. Falconi is led by Angelo Falconi, who owns shopping malls, auto dealerships and a piece of the Pittsburgh Penguins. Elysium Enterprises is led by Mike Bellon, a locally based entrepreneur and real estate developer who made his mark buying, developing and selling auto dealerships.

The development site, which Falconi has owned for some 20 years, used to be home to Falconi Honda, Bellon tells The main building that will be demolished on Wednesday morning is the 25,000-sf auto showroom and sales building. The building has been vacant since Bellon sold the dealership franchise for Angelo Falconi and it was relocated to West Sahara.

“The original (redevelopment) concept was an auto-themed retail center, with Pep Boys and that kind of thing,” Bellon says. “But a little over two years ago the condo craze began, so I asked him to hang on and let me see what we can do, and the opportunity presented itself for a higher and better use.”

Pinnacle Condominium Resort will be anchored by two curvilinear, 36-story towers connected by three sky bridges. Amenities are slated to include a three-acre “wet deck” on the sixth floor with a hibiscus-shaped pool; putting green; a pet-friendly area; a one-quarter-mile jogging track; and a “dive-in” movie theater. The development also will include two 7,500-sf, full-service restaurants; multiple lounges; a fully equipped fitness center; a full-service spa; and 50,000-sf of street-level retail below 40,000 sf of executive office space. In addition to the towers, there will be unique two-level condominiums on the sky bridges and 31 townhomes surrounding the pool deck.

When the project came to light in 2005, it did not include the sky bridges. Due to their uniqueness in the market, Bellon says the units have drawn keen interest from some of the largest celebrities and wealthy individuals in the world. “Originally, because they will cost so much to construct, I thought if I can just break even I will have done Pinnacle a great favor by creating something iconic and new,” says Bellon, whose inspiration came from the Atlantis development in the Bahamas. “The interest we’ve received has already exceeded the expected cost,” he says.

The average sale price for units in the towers is in the mid-to-high $700 per-sf range, which is below the price of most of the product on the Strip due to the location and the developers’ low-cost basis in the land. The two-level penthouses should sell for between $1,200- and $1,500-per sf. Bellon has “no idea” what the bridge units ultimately will sell for, only that it will be appreciably higher than the penthouse units, he says.

Rise Realty is the exclusive broker for the project and full 3% fees are being paid to cooperating brokers. A few months back, about 40% of the units had been presold. Today, Bellon is in a sort of silent period as the group nears the presale hurdle set by the construction lender, which is likely somewhere between 60% and 70%. The fact that the group is moving ahead with the demolition is a sign that it is close to clearing the hurdle.

The developers are currently working off of a >$50-million pre-development bridge loan from New York City-based Berkshire Capital. Berkshire senior loan officer Timothy Callahan, who originated the loan, told in May that the pre-development loan will be paid off by the construction loan, which is expected to come in at around $550 million. Gross revenue from unit sales is expected to top $900 million.

If sales continue to be strong, Bellon says both towers will be constructed at the same time. The current plan is to begin excavating the site in September and complete the project inside of 28 months. “It’s feasible to build them separately but it would be more cost-effective to build them concurrently,” Bellon says.

The towers were designed by Jon Sparer of Youngblood Wucherer Sparer Architects Ltd. Marnell Corrao is the general contractor. Publicly held Interstate Hotels & Resorts of Arlington, VA, has been tapped to manage the resort, which will allow absentee owners to have their units rented out on a short-term basis through an in-house hotel program. The sales office for the project (4780 W. Tropicana) has been open for the better part of a year.

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