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LAS VEGAS-Locally based EHB Cos. and equity partner IDB Development Corp. have bolstered their leasing team at Tivoli Village, a would-be 1.35-million-square-foot mixed-use development. Construction is ramping back up after being slowed late last year so the development schedule could be reevaluated in the light of the new economy. The result is a smaller first phase that could flow right into the second phase if a recent increase if leasing activity holds up, the developers recently told GlobeSt.com.

To help make that happen, EHB and IDB have leasing veterans Robb Cox and Diane Brandes to complement an existing leasing team that includes Lynne Thier and Heaven Yoshino. Cox was formerly a VP of leasing for Simon Property Group responsible for the leasing of 14 shopping centers. He also has served as a leasing director for TrizecHan, a large Canadian real estate developer; a regional VP of leasing for Centermark/May Centers in California; and a general merchandise manager for Judy’s Merchandising Group, where he managed a team of eight buyers. Cox’s most recent leasing assignments include Simon’s Fashion Valley, Forum Shops and Stanford Shopping Center.

Brandes, a 15-year veteran of the industry, most recently worked for General Growth Properties on the development team that was responsible for leasing 16 million square feet of development projects. She started her career as a senior director of consumer marketing for Trizec Properties. She also has worked as a leasing representative for Trizec.

“We are fortunate to be under development with secure financing to recruit staff for the purpose of carrying out our vision,” says Tivoli Village EVP Patrick Done.

The project is within the Queensridge master-planned community at the intersection of Alta and Rampart in Las Vegas, on the edge of the Summerlin master-planned community. Tivoli Village is rising on the northeast corner. The Northwest corner is home to the Suncoast Hotel & Casino. Also at the intersection is One Queensridge Place, a planned four-tower, 385-unit for-sale residential development also by EHB for which the first two towers were completed in 2007 in partnership with IBD.

Site work for Tivoli Village began four years ago. Three years ago, a major subterranean garage had been built and the project was ready to go vertical and slated to be built in a single phase that would open in late 2008. Two years ago, it became a phased project, with the 700,000-square-foot first phase to be completed in 2009, consisting of 500,000 square feet of retail and restaurant space in 18 buildings topped by 200,000 square feet of office space and 41 condominiums. A second phase called for an additional 300 condominiums in three buildings overlooking Angel Park Golf Course at the north end of the property.

Late last year, several months after the developer, locally based EHB, sold an additional stake in the project to equity partner IDB, Israel’s leading holding company, they slowed construction in light of the souring economy so the partnership could review its options. Done told GlobeSt.com earlier this month that the new plan is for a 370,000-square-foot first phase to be ready for a soft opening in late 2010. The new first phase, rising at the southern end of the site, essentially consists of the amount of space for which the partnership had firm lease commitments, he said, and is being built without any financing.

“There were a number of tenants still interested and there were others who said they didn’t have the capital or were no longer interested in expansion so we had to respond to that,” said Done, explaining that all of the leases had to be renegotiated because of the scope changes. “If this thing plays out as we see it we should be able to start on the remainder [of the original first phase] very close to when we open the first phase, ideally opening in time for the 2011 holiday season.”

Done is hopeful about being able to roll right into the second phase is based in part on ongoing conversations with retailers and the close tracking of sales data. “Sales are anticipated to be flat, maybe one- to two percent up for some, depending on the retail category. When comparable sales hit this point, we understand where the market low is,” he said. “There’s really only one way for retailers to grow earnings on consistent basis, and that’s by adding stores. Reducing expenses works in the short run but to show consistent growth, you need to expand. We’re expecting to see demand next year as the capital markets loosen up.”

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