Years after buying the project site, nightlife entrepreneur Victor Perrillo is building an events facility on the cusp of Fremont Street’s rowdy bar scene.
Construction is underway at the corner of Fremont and Eighth streets for the Venue Las Vegas. Now a steel skeleton, the downtown facility will offer indoor and outdoor event space, a performance hall, catering, a billiards area, and a bar called V2 = Virtue & Vice Lounge.
Perrillo, who owns a similar facility in Scottsdale, Ariz., held a groundbreaking ceremony in August with Las Vegas Mayor Carolyn Goodman and others. The two-story, 36,000-square-foot building — on the site where a former TV executive sought to build a 55-story condo tower during the boom years — is scheduled to open in phases starting this spring.
It will be fully operational by the end of 2015, said Nicholas Larez, vice president of operations for the Venues Group.
The facility, whose construction is apparently being financed by Zappos CEO Tony Hsieh’s Downtown Project, would give another boost to the once-struggling, Zappos-revived commercial corridor.
The Venue is part of a growing list of new businesses in the Fremont East District including retailers at the Downtown Container Park, the 200-person capacity Inspire entertainment venue and the Market, a small grocery.
Perrillo’s group aims to hold weddings, fundraisers, concerts, parties and other gatherings. For instance, they hope to tap into Las Vegas’ thriving conventions business to lure corporate events.
“We want to capture that,” Larez said.
Perrillo received City Council approvals in fall 2007 for a two-story, 43,000-square-foot facility — then dubbed Venue of Vegas — with tavern, nightclub and banquet space. He bought the project site soon after, in February 2008, for $3.9 million, county and state records show.
In 2010, the Phoenix Business Journal reported that he wanted to expand here but was waiting for the local economy to improve so he could land a construction loan.
He got one last June from 700 Fremont LLC, an entity that, according to state records, is controlled by Hsieh and Andrew Donner, who handles Downtown Project’s real estate deals. Perrillo can borrow up to $14 million from them, county records indicate.
Donner, through an assistant, referred questions about the Venue to Downtown Project spokeswoman Kim Schaefer, who did not respond to an email seeking comment on the loan.
Perrillo isn’t the only investor to eye the property in recent years.
In 2006, E! Entertainment Television co-founder Alan Mruvka received City Council approvals for a 55-story condo tower there, as well as a 20-story residential tower across Eighth Street.
Project plans called for 55,000 square feet of commercial space in the larger tower and 6,370 square feet of commercial space in the smaller high-rise.
At one point, the towers were designed to have a connecting sky-bridge, city records indicate.
But the project never came to fruition, and Perrillo had to bulldoze a vacant building to clear space for his facility.