Developer buys Boulevard mall from lenders for $54.5 million

In this file photo, a family takes a stroll during the madness inside the Boulevard mall during Black Friday, Nov. 28, 2008.

Map of The Boulevard Mall

The Boulevard Mall

3528 South Maryland Parkway, Las Vegas

The Boulevard mall, a once-thriving Las Vegas shopping hub that slid in popularity and financial health over the years, has been sold to local developer Roland Sansone.

The $54.5 million deal closed on Nov. 21, property records show.

Brokers with CBRE Group, who listed the property this summer at a price of “best offer,” announced the sale today.

The 1.2 million-square-foot mall sits on 75 acres of land, but the Sansone Cos. acquired 56 acres, or about 780,400 square feet of space. Retailers Sears and Macy’s own their properties.

Sansone, who could not be reached for comment, wants more restaurants and some kind of entertainment venue at the mall, CBRE Senior Vice President Charles Moore said.

He has plenty of space to fill. The mall, two miles east of the Strip, is 75 percent leased, Moore said.

Its most notable vacancy is a two-level department store that was most recently occupied in 2008 by Dillard’s.

Sansone bought the mall from lenders who had acquired it in June from Rouse Properties of New York. The lenders took ownership through a “deed in lieu of foreclosure,” a process that lets them acquire a property weighed down by debt while avoiding the lengthy foreclosure process.

As Moore sees it, the mall now is in “good hands,” as Sansone is an experienced developer who will pump much-needed energy and money into the property.

“If you’re underwater, you’re not going to spend a heck of a lot of capital on a property you’re going to lose,” Moore said.

Developed in the 1960s by Irwin Molasky and Merv Adelson, Boulevard mall was hugely popular through the 1970s, turning Maryland Parkway into the valley’s premiere retail corridor.

But the mall eventually lost its standing with shoppers, who fled for the suburbs and Fashion Show mall, which opened in 1981.

The valley’s retail vacancy rate is currently 9 percent, according to Colliers International, far below Boulevard’s 25 percent.

Its tenants include JCPenney, Old Navy, Marshalls and Victoria’s Secret.