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[IMGCAP(1)]LAS VEGAS-Fifield Cos. this weekend will auction off 10 units at Allure Las Vegas, its 41-story, 428-unit residential condominium development at the north end of the Las Vegas Strip. The Chicago-based developer says the units are part of limited group of previously canceled purchase contracts for which “the buying parties forfeited a significant portion of their deposits,” thus allowing them to be offered for sale again at “greatly reduced prices.”Allure Las Vegas is located one-half-block off the north end of the Strip on 5.25 acres surrounded by the Sahara, Riviera, Circus Circus and Stratosphere hotels. Fifield landed its $195-million construction loan for the first tower –all that has been completed so far – in fall 2005. At the time, the project was 85% pre-sold at an average price of $480 per square foot.

[IMGCAP(2)]Fifield developed the first tower in a joint venture with CB Richard Ellis-Strategic Partners, ASF Realty, and ABF Inc., an Andrew Fonfa investment company. The auction is being run by Auction One Las Vegas and is free and open to the public. The auction date is Saturday, April 18 at 1 p.m. The location is Allure Las Vegas, Penthouse unit #4001. Winning bidders will be required to make a 15% down payment.Allure offers, resident storage, valet parking and 24-hour security and Wi-Fi in all of the public spaces including the outdoor pool deck. Sarah Prinsloo, VP of sales and marketing for Allure Las Vegas says the units to be auction include studio, one, two and three bedroom residences. The size range is 662 square feet to more than 1,800 square feet. The units can be previewed at Auction Las Vegas’ web site now and in person two hours prior to the auction.

Fifield’s announcement says the auction was “seller-initiated,” causing some local sources to wonder aloud if it wasn’t also “lender-suggested.” A Fifield representative did not immediately respond to a request for an update on the number of closed sales, the number of units currently under contract and the status of the initial construction loan. Such loans typically have three-year initial terms but can also include extension options.

For those thinking the auction is a sign of distress, Fifield says in its prepared statement that a recent Deutsche Bank report cited Allure as being the most active closer in the past two months and one of only four residential high-rise projects in the resort corridor actively engaged in the closing process.

“We have had tremendous success with our other sales programs and are always looking for creative new ways to attract buyers and deliver value,” Fifield principal Alan Schachtman says in a prepared statement. “Our seller-initiated public auction gives us another opportunity to emphasize the great value that can be found at Allure.”

While Allure was Fifield’s first Las Vegas high rise, the company has developed many high-rise office buildings and after that start of the 21st century had gotten into high-rise residential development, with projects in its hometown of Chicago and in Hallandale Beach, FL. In 2005, when Allure’s sales were averaging $480 per square foot, well below most other condo offerings at the time, Schachtman told GlobeSt.com Fifield was able to hit a lower price point while still meeting a high standard of quality because of the company’s experience building high-rise projects and its longtime financial backers such as Union Labor Life Insurance Co., which lead the construction financing for Allure.

“I get a kick out of projects announced by people doing their first high-rise,” he said. “Doing a high rise right out of the box is really tough without adding the complexity of doing it in Las Vegas, where things are really overheated and you have to have really strong cost control.”

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