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Sale of Showcase Mall a rarity among Las Vegas Strip properties

A large portion of Showcase Mall, on the Strip, has been sold for $145 million to a group of New York investors. Photo taken on Thursday, June 26, 2014.

Showcase Mall, the Strip retail center known for its giant Coke bottle and M&M’s out front, has a new landlord.

A group of New York investors, including the family that launched Jordache jeans, recently paid $145 million for a 190,000-square-foot chunk of the property.

The sale, one of the more lucrative in Las Vegas in recent years for nonresorts, gives the Nakash family and their partner, investor Eli Gindi, majority control of the mall on Las Vegas Boulevard near Tropicana Avenue, an area that’s packed with pedestrians and poised for even more, thanks to new retail and entertainment projects across the street.

The deal also is a rarity, as malls on the Strip rarely change hands.

Casino companies, which dominate the resort corridor’s shopping scene, and other Strip retail investors often are reluctant to sell, as they want to keep their holdings on one of the best-known boulevards in the world, brokers said.

“When you have an iconic area that’s always going to be great, (properties don’t) trade very often,” CBRE Group broker Matt Bear said.

Showcase’s new owners were drawn by its location, its brand-name tenants of Coca-Cola, M&M’s and Outback Steakhouse, and its price tag, said Jonathan Bennett, managing director of Nakash Holdings, the family’s private-equity arm.

Part of Showcase Mall Sold to Investors

A large portion of Showcase Mall, on the Strip, has been sold for $145 million to a group of New York investors. Photo taken on Thursday, June 26, 2014. Launch slideshow »

Bennett said the investors “plan to own it forever” and are planning some aesthetic upgrades. He would not give details but indicated his group might spruce up the Coca-Cola bottle with LED lighting, Times Square-style.

“The bottle as it stands is fantastic, iconic; no one wants to change it,” Bennett said, “(but) maybe you could make it more exciting.”

Showcase was built in phases starting in the 1990s and is chopped up among three main ownership groups: the Nakash family and Gindi; original developer Barry Fieldman, of Henderson, whose group owns about 42,000 square feet; and Unilev Capital Corp., of Beverly Hills, Calif., which bought a 97,000-square-foot piece, containing the Hard Rock Cafe and Ross Dress for Less, for $93.5 million in 2011.

The Nakashes — whose Jordache Enterprises conglomerate includes clothing, aviation, olive oil and real estate investments — and Gindi bought their portion in late May.

The sellers were Angelo, Gordon & Co., a New York investment firm, and City Center Realty Partners, a San Francisco-based developer. Those firms, which did not respond to requests for comment, invested in Showcase in 2005 and developed the portion that Unilev bought.

Unlike other mall owners on the Strip, Angelo, Gordon & Co. planned to sell all along, a local broker said. The firm is a hedge-fund manager, and such companies generally buy assets and sell them a relatively short time later.

“They’re not mall operators,” the broker said.

Meanwhile, the Showcase sale comes as tourists increasingly bypass casino floors for shopping malls, nightclubs and restaurants — and as more investors develop retail projects to lure these visitors.

Caesars Entertainment Corp. recently opened the Linq, a $550 million open-air complex with dozens of retail, dining and entertainment options; in 2016, MGM Resorts International plans to open the Park, a $100 million outdoor plaza across the street from Showcase; Treasure Island owner Phil Ruffin is replacing part of the resort’s lagoon with a three-story shopping center; and developers also are building the 55,000-square-foot Grand Bazaar Shops in front of Bally’s.

Bennett, of Nakash Holdings, said he isn’t bothered by the increased competition, in part because MGM Resorts and entertainment giant AEG are building a 20,000-seat arena across the Strip from Showcase, a project that will pump even more pedestrians — and prospective shoppers — into the area.

New York’s Times Square, he noted, is packed with retailers, but they do well, thanks to the constant throngs of visitors.

“There’s business for everybody,” he said.

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