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LAS VEGAS-The first phase of the Village at Queensridge, a 30-acre, $850-million mixed-use development on the west side of the Las Vegas valley is one year from completion and on track from a leasing standpoint. The 700,000-sf phase includes 500,000 sf of retail and restaurant space in 18 buildings topped by 200,000 sf of office and 41 condominiums.

The project by Executive Home Builders is under construction at the intersection of Alta and Rampart, on the edge of the Summerlin master-planned community. The Village will occupy the northeast corner. Diagonally across the street is the Suncoast Hotel & Casino. On the southwest corner is One Queensridge Place, a four-tower, 385-unit for-sale residential development also by EHB for which the first two towers were recently completed.Currently, hundreds of workers are on the Village site, finishing up the 3,000-slip below-grade parking facility. Patrick Done, the EHB executive vice president in charge of the project, tells GlobeSt.com that steel will be coming up from the hole in the next week or so. The grand opening is slated for late spring 2009.

More importantly, Done says leases have been signed for 40% of the retail and that non-binding commitments have been made for another 15% of the retail. “If you’re close to 50% a year out from completion, that’s a good place to be,” he says.

Two-thirds of the retail space that has been leased or committed to date will house restaurants and entertainment venues, Done says, for the simple reason that such uses take more space than retail shops. For example, the most recent lease signings include Village Roadshow Gold Class Cinemas, the top luxury cinema brand in Australia, which leased 38,000 sf for an eight-screen luxury movie theater, and the Grand Lux Café, by the creators of the Cheesecake Factory, which will occupy 12,000 sf. The average retail shop, meanwhile, will occupy approximately 2,000 sf.

The restaurants and entertainment are vital to the Village at Queensridge, not because they draw tourists but because they draw locals. The development is designed to be a destination for well-to-do “west siders” who want good food and entertainment without having to go to the ever-crowded Strip. “Locals prefer not to go to the Strip and the West side is a very affluent part of the Las Vegas Valley,” Done says. “In addition to the demographics, the West side is generally under-retailed and lacking in good quality restaurants.”

On the office front, no leases have been signed but one tenant has committed to taking one-third of the office space, Done says. The tenant, from Los Angeles, is negotiating for a 62,000-sf space on the upper floors of one of the 18 low-rise buildings that will be erected on the site.

Marketing has yet to begin for the 41 condominiums, which will be housed on the upper floors of a single three-story building, but interest is high because there aren’t many of these mixed-use type of environments in Vegas where you can own a home, Done says. Pankratz says more than one thousand people have shown an interest in the units so the current plan is to wait until the units are completed and then hold a lottery. Pricing has not yet been determined.

“Now is not the time to be selling those homes,” he says. “People won’t appreciate the value until they can see the intricacies of the architecture and the layout of the village itself.”

The second phase of the Village at Queensridge is a 300-unit for-sale residential complex. The units will be housed in a 10-story building and two adjacent five-story buildings that will overlook Angel Park Golf Course at the north end of the Village property. Pankratz says it’s unclear yet whether will start on the second phase immediately upon completion of the first phase.

“We will watch the marketplace,” he says. “We’ve got plenty of time to determine whether it will be a seamless progression of construction or not, it’s a decision we do not have to make for at least a year.”

Meantime, EHB will continue to sell off the remaining units at One Queensridge Place, which currently comprises 219 condominiums in two 18-story towers. The units, which come in 43 different floor plans, average 3,500 sf and have been selling for between $800 and $1,300 per sf. EHB president Frank Pankratz tells GlobeSt.com that approximately 70% of the units have been sold that that more are scheduled to close as the individual units are built out to the customers’ specifications. Atop each of the two towers are two two-level 16,000-sf homes. Two have been sold, Pankratz says, each for more than $20 million.

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