LAS VEGAS-An entity of Triple Five Nevada has paid $180 million for a 5.4-acre site fronting the Las Vegas Strip next to the 26-acre Riviera resort-casino. Located at 2955 S. Las Vegas Blvd., the site was previously home to the La Concha Motel. The seller, Lorenzo Doumani, CEO of Majestic Resorts, tells that the buyer has optioned two adjacent parcels that, if exercised, would give it nearly 18 acres to master plan.

The buyer is listed on county records as Las Vegas Strip North Holdings LLC, whose local address matches that of Triple Five Nevada. Triple Five recently sold its 9.2% stake in Riviera Holding Corp. to Riv Acquisition Holdings, the private equity group that is trying to acquire the publicly held casino owner and operator.

The smaller of the two additional parcels optioned by the Triple Five entity is the Peppermill, a Strip-front restaurant immediately south of the Riviera that sits on a 1.13-acre site controlled by Doumani. The Triple Five entity has a three-year option to acquire the property, Doumani says.

The larger site, totaling about 9.5 acres, abuts both the east end of the Peppermill property and the south side of the Riviera. The site surrounds Kishner Drive, which is accessed off Convention Center Drive, one block south of Riviera Boulevard. Details of the Triple Five entity’s option agreement with this seller, whom Doumani describes as a friend of his, was not immediately available. The multi-parcel site currently houses Somerset Apartments, Somerset House Motel, a strip mall and the Villa Roma Inn.

Given its activity thus far, it is likely the Triple Five entity also is trying to acquire the parcel at the corner of Las Vegas Boulevard and Convention Center Drive and the two on either side of it because all three would be surrounded by the parcels it already has acquired or optioned. John Knott, executive vice president of CB Richard Ellis’ Las Vegas-based Global Gaming Group, did not return a Monday phone call seeking comment.

The $180-million sale was brought up during the third quarter conference call of Riviera Holdings Corp. During the call, an executive with Riviera said the buyer told him it was tentatively planning to develop a shopping center on the site, and perhaps a hotel.

A related entity to Triple Five Nevada, Triple Five Group owns the West Edmonton Mall in Canada and the Mall of America just south of Minneapolis. Controlled by the Ghermezians, a Canadian-based development family, Triple Five Group also is planning a major mall development in northwest Las Vegas.

Doumani previously planned to redevelop the La Concha Motel site himself. In early 2004, he announced plans to develop the site with a hotel tower and a condo tower. A little more than one year ago, he announced plans for a single tower that would include both a Conrad-branded hotel and Waldorf-Astoria-branded condominiums. The entitled project was placed on the back burner when the residential market turned.

Doumani is the son of Edward Doumani, who built the Tropicana as well as El Morocco and La Concha. The elder Doumani also was Steve Wynn’s longtime partner in the Golden Nugget Las Vegas and Atlantic City.

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