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LAS VEGAS-Focus Property Group, whose portfolio includes 30,000 residential lots, said Monday it is in discussions with its lenders to restructure its current debt obligations and is also seeking to acquire new capital to support its ongoing endeavors. To help make it happen, the company has retained the Blackstone Group, the financial advisory services firm with $98.2 billion of assets under management. Focus Property Group chairman John Ritter says his company “remains financially viable” and will continue its operations while Blackstone seeks to strengthen its liquidity.

“The real estate market and lending conditions continue to deteriorate causing land sales to slow significantly,” he says. “Liquidity in all aspects of the real estate industry is extremely limited and within recent weeks the worldwide credit crisis has begun to negatively affect our potential multi-family land buyers. Like many others, we are working to restructure our debt and have begun those discussions with our lenders.”

Focus Property Group is a vertically integrated real estate investment company and developer of master planned communities based in Las Vegas. The company’s current projects total more than 14,500 acres in Las Vegas and throughout the Southwest, and the company’s portfolio includes approximately 30,000 residential lots along with commercial and mixed use property. Ritter was not immediately available Monday afternoon to provide additional detail on the company’s debt load or its assets.

“Those companies that face the market realities head on will be the ones that survive and that is what Focus is doing,” says Darrin Badger, Focus partner and acquisitions director. “We firmly believe in the long term viability and strength of the Las Vegas market. We believe in our projects and are committed to them.”

One of the company’s ongoing projects is Inspirada, a nearly 2,000-acre master-planned community in southwest corner of the Las Vegas Valley, adjacent to Del Webb’s Anthem residential development. Focus bought the site in a June 2004 federal auction for $557 million in conjunction with several homebuilders. This past July, Focus Property Group and the City of Henderson inked a development agreement for the 300-acre urban core of Inspirada, which is to be surrounded by 1,700 acres of walking trails, bicycle paths and single-family homes.

At that time, Ritter told GlobeSt.com that Inspirada Town Center would include up to 5,000 housing units and between 300,000 sf and 700,000 sf of retail, not including the retail that will be part of the casino-resort that will anchor a walkable town center with a central park. The bulk of the residential is designed to be housed in two 200-feet towers and the remainder in several four-and five-story buildings that will house the retail on their ground floors. Other buildings will have office space above street-level retail. Buildings for civic and municipal uses are also planned.

“It’s moving forward pretty aggressively,” Ritter said. “The infrastructure and roads, including a road that connects to Interstate 15, are under construction and will be finished in 24 months, and we are already negotiating deals for three of the mid-rise multifamily sites and one of the outlying, daily-use retail sites.”

The relatively early retail development is made possible because of Del Webb’s adjacent Anthem residential community, which Ritter said has a direct connection to Inspirada and is “really underserved” by retail. Ritter anticipated the first retail would be up and running within 36 months, as would the first of the town center’s residential developments, for which a park and community center already has been constructed.

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