By  on October 16, 2007

For years, the Strip had all the fun. Now retailers are venturing beyond the glitter.

When it comes to retail, the suburbs of Las Vegas have long been seen as the poor relative of the Strip, with its luxury brands and upscale restaurants.

Now, that's changing.

Summerlin Centre, a 100-acre community with 1.4 million square feet of retail, offices, a hotel and residences built around public spaces will feature a 149,000-square-foot Nordstrom unit slated to open in 2009. The General Growth Properties project will have 300 adjoining acres with various styles of housing.

At the edge of Summerlin, an $850 million mixed-use community, the Village at Queensridge, is under construction with an opening scheduled for November 2008. About 11 miles northwest of the Strip, Queensridge aims to give residents access to some of the same high-end brands and amenities that tourists have long enjoyed on the Strip but without the hassles of traffic, finding parking and navigating crowds.

"We have the Strip and the Strip is fantastic, but as locals, we want our own place," said Eli Applebaum, executive vice president of Executive Home Builders' commercial division. "We are looking for offerings that will define us and give the soul to this city. We're looking for stores and tenants that will give us that je ne sais quoi: a bakery that does its baking on the premises, a farmer's market and restaurants with terrace or patio seating."

The Village's Art Nouveau-style architecture will be realized in limestone, dolomite and Alicante marble from Jerusalem, Jordan and Spain, respectively, Applebaum said. The company is targeting the wealthy; 340 condos ranging from 2,000 square feet to 16,000 square feet are priced from $2 million to more than $25 million.

The northern portion of Summerlin Centre already boasts the 414-room Red Rock Casino, Resort and Spa, which features entertainment, meeting facilities, 10 restaurants, a 16-screen theater, a spa and 3-acre pool complex. More than 92,000 residents live in the 36 square miles that Summerlin comprises.

The Curve is a Southwest mixed-use development on the I-215 Beltway between Durango and Sunset Roads. The $300 million project's first phase includes two 18-story condominium towers and 114,025 square feet of retail space. The Curve is being marketed as having "the best of the Strip within a master-planned community."The price of land in the valley — more than $600,000 an acre in 2006 — has made the mixed use model increasingly popular.

The 28-acre Village at Queensridge will have 700,000 square feet of commercial space, including 450,000 square feet devoted to retail. Applebaum said the company is aiming for a mix of luxury brands, one-of-a-kind boutiques, art galleries, jewelry stores, home furnishings stores, a health club and a grocer. So far, Queensridge has signed leases with a handful of stores and restaurants. According to sources, Ron Herman is negotiating to open his second Las Vegas store at the Village at Queensridge. Herman in August unveiled a 3,000-square-foot unit at the Forum Shops at Caesars Palace. Herman could not be reached for comment and Applebaum declined to comment.

Applebaum cited an agreement with Tommy Bahama for a 3,900-square-foot store and said leases have been signed with AG Jeans for a 2,200-square-foot space and Belle Gray. The store, which is owned by actors Harry Hamlin and Lisa Rinna, will open in a 1,200-square-foot space.

Kidville, a family concept that features a playground, salon, cafe and classes, will launch with investors such as tennis greats Andre Agassi and Steffi Graff, a couple who are Summerlin residents.

In addition, there will be a David Barton Gym, Applebaum said.

"The way we're building this project is targeting it to families," Applebaum said. "The needs of the locals were not really paid attention to because so much of the money and creativity went into the Strip."

Dining will be an important element of Queensridge. So far, four restaurants have been enlisted: Mikuni, a Japanese eatery from Sacramento; Mermaid Inn, a bistro by restaurateur Danny Abrams; Mastro's Steakhouse, a concept that originated in Scottsdale, Ariz., and Left Bank, Roland Passot's French brasserie. An as yet unnamed Prohibition-style bar is being developed by Abrams.

Asked where locals now shop, Applebaum said, "Meadows Mall, a moderate mall owned by General Growth Properties is 7 or 8 miles from our location. The major anchor at Meadows is Macy's. A lot of people go to the Strip."

Applebaum acknowledged that Summerlin Centre and Queensridge are competing for some of the same tenants. "There's definitely going to be overlap with General Growth's [Summerlin Centre]," he said. "There will be some tenants that we definitely want and we will fight for them."Stephen J. Stephanou, a principal of Madison Retail Group, said Queensridge will serve the high-end residential communities in the surrounding area. "Summerlin Centre is a regional shopping center," he said. "Queensridge will have wine-tasting bars and interesting coffee shops. The idea is to create a place that's different and has more authenticity. With a few exceptions, so much of Las Vegas is just stucco facades."

Applebaum, who did his first deal in Las Vegas in 1985, said the area has evolved quite a bit since then. "We've been suburban but we ran out of land," he said. "The feel of the town is becoming urban."

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