After buying Village Square in late 2011, the shopping and office center’s new owners quickly set to work recruiting new tenants, adding 10 businesses since the start of the year.
Now the owners, Westport Capital Partners, are looking to build on that momentum by launching a wide-reaching renovation of the 240,000-square-foot complex near Sahara Avenue and Fort Apache Road in the western valley.
The renovation, which broke ground Tuesday and is scheduled to wrap up by the end of the year, will give the center a facelift and improve accessibility, with redesigned parking areas, better pedestrian walkways, new signage and new facades, said Colby Durnin, a principal with Sentinel Development, which is managing the project. The developers did not disclose the cost of the renovations but said the construction and addition of new tenants should create about 250 jobs over the next year.
Interior spaces also will be updated, Durnin said, in an attempt to attract more tenants and drive up an occupancy rate that hovered around 50 percent for several years before the new owners took over.
“This will give a new look and feel for a shopping center that used to be a hub for the Summerlin community,” Durnin said.
Already, several new businesses have moved in — including restaurant 808 Tapas, real estate company RE/MAX and cosmetics store Maka Beauty — a sign of the “pent up demand” for quality commercial space, Durnin said.
In 2009, the center's then-owners defaulted on their debt and lenders took over the center. And though the commercial real estate market still is struggling to recover in the wake of the recession and office rents remain at seven-year-lows, UNLV professor Nasser Daneshvary said there was still an opportunity for shopping centers to succeed, especially if their location was good.
“I think the location has potential in terms of the residential area it’s in,” said Daneshvary, director of UNLV’s Lied Institute for Real Estate Studies. “The job market is improving, the housing market is going through a significant improvement. ... Everything is moving in the right direction for consumer confidence and spending.”
Daneshvary said when investors buy distressed properties, some of the cost savings can be rolled back into capital improvements, which can help jump-start activity and give the shopping center positive momentum.
Durnin said the renovations would help make the property more accessible and walkable and that regular community events — like Easter egg hunts or wine tastings — would help draw residents from nearby Summerlin and Peccole Ranch.
“We’re targeting quality tenants that have a wide range of the spectrum ... from family night through date night,” Durnin said. “Success breeds success. ... If you have twice the number of businesses to come see, you have more reasons to come to the center. It’s all about attracting the right businesses.”