By  on February 7, 2007

Turnberry Associates, the real estate development company spearheading Las Vegas Town Square, a $750 million shopping center scheduled to open in October, is targeting local residents, rather than tourists, in one of the nation's fastest-growing regions.

The company said it has signed up a majority of future tenants, including Victoria's Secret, Abercrombie & Fitch, Guess and Banana Republic. The 1.5-million-square-foot center at the intersection of highways 15 and 215, less than two miles south of McCarran International Airport, also will feature an 18-screen movie theater, Whole Foods, Borders bookseller, Frye's electronics store and a 24 Hour Fitness gym.

Turnberry Associates, based in Aventura, Fla., is partners on the project with Las Vegas-based industrial developer Centra. Turnberry is leasing and managing the center's 150 planned retail units, and Centra is overseeing the 350,000 square feet of office space situated above the stores.

Town Square will have 20 buildings. "It's a place unlike a mall and unlike a traditional lifestyle center," said Joe Tagliola, president of retail for Turnberry Associates. "We're virtually creating a little town. It's a village-style setting designed around the concept of New Urbanism. We're actually creating a town square."

The primary indoor-outdoor gathering place will feature seating, grassy areas and an entertainment area with fountains that kids can splash around in and soft play areas. There will also be a series of courtyards with seating.

Tagliola said the project targets regional shoppers from the 600-square-mile metropolitan area instead of the city's estimated 35 million annual tourists. "We're being really careful to not focus on tourism. We're going after...Las Vegas metro,'' which has a population of more than 1.6 million, about 70 percent of Nevada's total.

From 1996 to 2005, officials said Las Vegas created 335,000 new jobs, increased inflation-adjusted taxable retail sales by $6 billion and added 17.2 million square feet for anchored retail centers, excluding malls, to a base of 25.2 million square feet.

Town Square will compete directly with centers including Desert Passage at the Aladdin Las Vegas resort, which features stores such as BCBG Max Azria, Ann Taylor Loft and bebe, and Fashion Show shopping center, a sprawling freestanding mall on the north end of South Las Vegas Boulevard with 250 specialty stores and five department store anchors.Las Vegas Town Square has leased about 80 percent of its retail units. Other tenants include BCBG Max Azria, Chico's, Cache, Crabtree & Evelyn, Eddie Bauer, Fossil, Hollister, Lucky Brand Jeans, MAC cosmetics, Michael Stars, Oakley, Puma, Replay, Solstice, Soma, Steve Madden, Tommy Bahama, White House Black Market and Apple.

"We're promoting and creating an environment with multiple uses," said Tagliola, adding that restaurants will include Texas de Brazil and Yard House. "It's going to be a really cool place to go and hang out in."

Architectural firms Marnell Corrao Associates, based in Las Vegas, and Baltimore-based Development Design Group both worked on Town Square. Based on renderings and models, the aesthetics meld architectural styles with a pronounced Mediterranean influence. Some of the buildings recall classic Italian villas, while others are modern, glass-and-steel structures.

"Many of the buildings have an old-world feel to them, like they've been around forever." Tagliola said.

The firm this year also will begin construction on the Fontainebleau, a 3,900-room resort and casino on Las Vegas Boulevard that will encompass 300,000 square feet of retail space, said Tagliola, who declined to name any tenants.

The 63-story project will be on 24.5 acres of the former El Rancho resort. The Fontainebleau takes its name from the venerable Miami Beach hotel, which was a favorite of the Rat Pack in the Fifties. The project is slated for completion in September 2009.

Among Turnberry Associates' previous projects were the three residential towers at the MGM Grand Casino Hotel in Las Vegas, the 2.4-million-square-foot Aventura Mall in Aventura, Fla., and the 420,000-square-foot Destin Commons in Destin, Fla.

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