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LAS VEGAS-Hoping to wait out the economy and recoup the $15 million it has already invested Verge Living Corp. is seeking an additional two-year extension on its entitlements for a 300-unit, nine-story Downtown condominiums-over-retail development. The project is for a 2.9-acre site on the northeast corner of Main and Bonanza roads.

In mid-2007, the developer had commitments in hand for more than 70% of the units and banks were lined up to finance the $135-million project, which was originally slated for completion in late 2008. In November 2007, Prudential Americana, the company handling sales for the project, filed for bankruptcy. The following month, Verge received a one-year extension on its entitlements.

In June 2008, Verge Living Corp. president Darren Dunckel wrote in an open letter on the website established for the project that 80% of the units had been spoken for and that negotiated prices were 25% higher than one year earlier. However, he also said that some design elements of the building needed to be changed and that there had been challenges in obtaining approvals to relocate underground utilities that bisected the property.

The developers behind Verge Living Corp are Gerald Schaffer and Yossi Attia, who purchased the land for the development in August 2001 for $900,000. In a November 2008 letter to the City seeking the additional time extension Verge Living Corp. president Darren Dunckel writes that the company has since invested $14 million in the project.

“As the mortgage crisis began Verge had several [letters of intent] for construction financing only to see a collapse in the credit market” that has since worsened, Dunckel states in his letter. “Since that time Verge has been aggressive in its efforts to secure construction financing necessary to build the building.”

Plans called for a 350,000-square-foot brick-and-glass building with two levels of underground parking, 34,000 square feet of retail including a rooftop restaurant. Amenities would include two fitness centers, pools and spas, a pet park, and 10,000 square feet of office space for residents’ use only.

The additional two-year reprieve will go before the Las Vegas City Council next week.

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