Developer looks to revive Vegas’ oldest mall

Las Vegas' retail market is growing.

In the 1960s, shopping malls were a brand-new fad that attracted visitors from all around who wanted to visit all the vendors they could think of on one site. Through the years, the country's love affair with malls slowly dimmed, as shoppers sought to avoid crowds and instead chose to visit specialty retailers.

Because of this, many malls in the U.S. are either vacant or mostly empty, leaving huge chunks of commercial real estate dotting the country's landscape. Developers are seeking for new uses and transformations for the shopping complexes, including one in Las Vegas.

Sansone Companies recently purchased the Boulevard Mall, which was built in the Las Vegas valley in 1965. The company now is looking to not only retain the current tenants, but increase vendors and other retail fixtures.

The mall was put on the market in June when its previous owner, Rouse Properties, completed deed in lieu of foreclosure.

Charles Moore, senior vice president of CBRE's Private Capital Group, which brokered the deal, told CBS affiliate KXNT that Boulevard Mall was one of the largest retail assets marketed in Sin City in the past five years.

"There's some good plans," Moore said. "The mall itself has 75 percent leased at this point and his intention is to release as it is and bring new life to the asset that will cater to surrounding community."

The new owner, Roland Sansone, used to have some retail stores in Boulevard Mall, so he's familiar with his new purchase. Moore said Sansone will bring "more excitement to the area," perhaps even some entertainment options, such as a movie theater.

Vibrant Vegas
Recent reports on the retail market's performance in Las Vegas in third quarter 2013 found constant improvements, including the ninth straight quarter of positive net absorption.

However, the market's future remains to be seen, as rising interest rates could halt further growth and expansion. The increases, on the other hand, could spur some investors to ramp up activity, as they think the market has already factored in future hikes, a nationwide expert recently told The Associated Press.

"REITs are finally looking fairly valued," said Abby Woodham, fund analyst at Morningstar. "They could, of course, go down further, but the valuation is much more attractive now than it has been for quite some time, so it's not all doom and gloom."

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