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Gaming Guru

Jennifer Shubinski

Expansion Planned by New Showcase Mall Owner

28 February 2005

LAS VEGAS -- The Showcase mall, known for its landmark facade featuring a multi-story Coke bottle and M&M package, was sold to a California investor who said he will stick with plans to expand the center.

San Francisco-based City Center Retail LLC bought the south Strip property, which includes 190,000 square feet of retail space and a parking structure, from Cleveland-based Forest City Enterprises and Henderson-based Makena Development for $142 million, according to Clark County Assessor Records.

The company also purchased the leasehold interest to the Denny's restaurant property next door for about $30 million, said Barry Fieldman, Makena Development managing partner.

Makena Development and its partners retained one third of the property in the sale, which includes the Adidas Performance Center and Grand Canyon Experience stores, Fieldman said.

"That entity wasn't interested in selling; we'd like to stay there for a very long time," he said.

But the timing and the price was right to sell the other portions of Showcase, Fieldman said.

"When the sun's out, you make hay," he said.

George Connor, a senior vice president of Colliers International, Las Vegas, said there are dozens of companies that are looking to own a piece of the Las Vegas Strip. Connor represented the seller in the transaction and was instrumental in helping bring many of the current tenants to the mall.

"It's a great asset, well located and it has tremendous upside potential," he said.

Mark Stefan, managing member of City Center Retail, said his company was attracted to the mall because of its strategic Strip location.

"It's ground zero on the Strip in Las Vegas. It gets a tremendous amount of foot traffic," he said. "There is a synergy and energy in the existing tenants."

Stefan plans to expand the property to include an additional 85,000 square feet of retail and for-sale residential condos that would be built on the site now occupied by Denny's. The 24-hour restaurant would be a tenant in the new structure, Stefan said.

Stefan said he does not have new retailers to announce because he has just started the marketing process.

"We have a tremendous amount of interest from retailers," he said. "We are in the process of deciding exactly the mix that would be best from moving the project forward."

The expansion would include 80 to 100 for-sale condominiums built on top of the new retail structure, Stefan said. Per a settlement reached between neighbor MGM Grand and the previous owners, the structure would not be built higher than the mall's existing 12-story parking garage.

City Center's purchase of the Showcase is not its first foray into the Las Vegas retail market.

The company developed the Silver City Plaza, 3001 Las Vegas Boulevard South, which includes a Ross Dress for Less and a Denny's. That property was completed and sold by City Center this month for more than $42 million, according to Clark County Assessor records.

City Center also developed the Gold Key Shops, opposite the New Frontier and sold that property last year, Stefan said.

Despite selling those properties shortly after development, Stefan said he plans to hold Showcase for the long term. He said the company also is looking for other opportunities throughout the valley.