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Howard Hughes Corp. plans new office complex in southwest Las Vegas

Summerlin developer Howard Hughes Corp. has laid out plans for a new office complex in an area where a slot-machine maker is said to be looking to move.

Howard Hughes executives recently filed plans with Clark County for two three-story office buildings at the northwest corner of Flamingo Road and Hualapai Way, in the southwest valley. The company, developer of Las Vegas’ largest master-planned community, owns the vacant 30.8-acre site.

Each building would be 90,000 square feet. The county Planning Commission is expected to consider the project on March 7, records show.

Las Vegas’ office market has been slowest to recover from the recession compared with other types of real estate in town, and construction has lagged other sectors amid the market’s high, albeit slowly shrinking, vacancy rate.

But the southwest valley — perhaps the fastest-growing section of Southern Nevada — has more demand for white-collar working space than other areas, especially for higher-quality buildings, and the project would follow other new offices that have come out of the ground.

The Review-Journal could not confirm who would occupy the planned complex. But according to people familiar with the matter, Australian slot-machine manufacturer Aristocrat Technologies is looking to move to newly built offices in that area near the 215 Beltway.

Two sources said the project would be on what’s now Howard Hughes-owned land, and one said the complex would be at the site of the proposed two-building complex.

Another source said Aristocrat’s new offices reportedly would be farther west, near furniture and appliance store RC Willey, but county government spokesman Dan Kulin said no project plans have been filed recently for parcels immediately west of the Hughes site.

Howard Hughes spokesman Tom Warden declined to comment on the office project. The developer’s plans with the county do not appear to mention Aristocrat, and Warden neither confirmed nor denied whether the new complex would be occupied by the casino supplier.

“We don’t speak publicly about any potential deals until they’re consummated,” Warden said.

Aristocrat’s current U.S. headquarters are near the intersection of Warm Springs and Bermuda roads, near McCarran International Airport. Efforts this week to get comment from the company were unsuccessful.

CONSTRUCTION PICKING UP

Southern Nevada’s office market had a 17.3 percent vacancy rate last quarter. The southwest was second-lowest among submarkets at 14.7 percent, and its Class A space was 5.2 percent vacant, according to brokerage Colliers International.

Office construction has picked up but overall is far from robust. Las Vegas analyst and consultant John Restrepo said the valley had “so much overbuilding” during the bubble years last decade, and lenders have been skittish about backing new projects.

But office buildings have been filling up in certain areas of the valley, including the southwest, making new developments more feasible.

“They’re in a pretty good spot,” said Restrepo, founder of RCG Economics.

Dallas-based Howard Hughes also has plans to build a six-story, 152,300-square-foot office building across the street from Red Rock Resort. In the southwest, projects underway include cage-fighting league UFC’s new headquarters and credit-card issuer Credit One Bank’s new offices.

If Aristocrat moves to the southwest, it wouldn’t be the only gambling-equipment maker there, and it wouldn’t even be the first in the area to hail from Australia.

Other casino suppliers with southwest valley offices include International Game Technology, at Buffalo Drive and Post Road; Scientific Games Corp., off Jones Boulevard just north of the Beltway; and Australia-based Ainsworth Game Technology, whose new North American headquarters are on the other side of Jones from Scientific Games.

Contact Eli Segall at esegall@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-0342. Follow @eli_segall on Twitter.

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