Month: April 2018

Civil rights leader John Lewis promotes education at Las Vegas gala

Civil rights leader U.S. Rep. John Lewis spent his lifetime fighting for racial equality and human rights, but the 78-year-old icon stopped in Las Vegas on Sunday with a new mission to support education for the next generation. Rep. John Lewis, D-Ga., poses at the Four Seasons in Las Vegas on Sunday, April 22, 2018.

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Once-rundown Las Vegas office complex is spruced up and on the market

Tribeca Parc office complex in Las Vegas, Friday, April 13, 2018. The roughly 131,000-square-foot complex, now called Tribeca Parc, has three office buildings and is listed for $27.5 million. Chitose Suzuki Las Vegas Review-Journal @chitosephoto

Tribeca Parc office complex in Las Vegas, Friday, April 13, 2018. The roughly 131,000-square-foot complex, now called Tribeca Parc, has three office buildings and is listed for $27.5 million. Chitose Suzuki Las Vegas Review-Journal @chitosephoto
Tribeca Parc office complex in Las Vegas, Friday, April 13, 2018. The roughly 131,000-square-foot complex, now called Tribeca Parc, has three office buildings and is listed for $27.5 million. Chitose Suzuki Las Vegas Review-Journal @chitosephoto
New Hard Rock Hotel owners plan to overhaul the Las Vegas property
Former Haggen store in Las Vegas faces uncertain future
Banks ramp up foreclosure activity in Las Vegas
Las Vegas home sellers are wary and inventory slips

The squatters, withered landscaping and broken windows are gone. But inside the once-rundown office complex, a nameplate remains: Edwin Fujinaga, President & CEO.

Fujinaga owned MRI International, a medical billing-collections firm that was based in the suburban Las Vegas complex. But federal regulators and prosecutors went after him for allegedly running a massive Ponzi scheme, and the offices emptied and fell into disrepair.

Today, the property on Durango Drive at Hacienda Avenue is spruced up and on the market, ready to close the chapter on its blighted, beat-up past.

Well, save for the old boss’ nameplate, which is being kept as a joke, listing broker Bridget Richards said.

“We’re comedians at heart,” she said.

Insight Investment Partners and Northcap — two Las Vegas firms that bought the 8-acre property from a court-appointed receiver last year for $12 million — recently wrapped up their overhaul of the southwest valley complex.

They painted the buildings, resurfaced and restriped the parking lot, cleaned the HVAC system, added parking spaces by demolishing a courtyard, and finished construction of the two-level garage.

The roughly 131,000-square-foot complex, now called Tribeca Parc, has three office buildings and is listed for $27.5 million.

Even Richards doesn’t expect an investor to buy the whole place at that price, but she said prospective users who have eyed it include labor unions, insurance companies, law firms and an international art gallery.

“Right now I have a church calling me about the property,” said Richards, a principal with Perry Guest Cos.

Northcap founder John Tippins said, “Sverything feels brand new” at the complex, even the smell. But he also guessed that, before the overhaul, maybe 10 to 15 windows had been broken.

Troubled past

MRI’s “purposed” business, according to the Securities and Exchange Commission, was buying unpaid medical accounts at a discount from health care providers and trying to collect payments from insurance companies.

The agency sued MRI and Fujinaga in 2013, alleging they ran “an extensive and egregious Ponzi scheme” that defrauded thousands of investors, primarily in Japan.

A federal judge in 2015 ordered Fujinaga and MRI to pay more than $580 million in the case. Later that year, a federal grand jury indicted Fujinaga and two MRI executives in Tokyo, alleging they ran a $1.5 billion Ponzi scheme.

Fujinaga is scheduled to go trial Oct. 29, court records show.

MRI’s offices, meanwhile, emptied and became a target for vandals. Door locks were broken, windows and toilets were smashed, electronics went missing, and vandals busted through ceilings and walls to steal copper pipes and electrical wires.

Most of the landscaping also was dead or deteriorating, homeless people showed up, and hypodermic needles were found around the bushes, according to court filings.

“It was a disaster, an absolute disaster,” Richards said this week.

She used to work in an office nearby and said it “was always kind of a mystery what was going on over here.” It was a beautiful property, she said, but she never saw cars there.

When her group went in to remove the cubicles, the computers weren’t plugged in, as if it were a staging area with fake work stations to show investors, she said. One building even featured a “massive,” fake safe that anyone could bust through.

Still, the complex is great real estate, Richards said.

“They did a good job developing this property … But, you know, their loss is our gain, ultimately,” she said.

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

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Strategic Storage Trust IV Acquires 580-Unit Self Storage Facility in Las Vegas

LAS VEGAS, April 6, 2018 /PRNewswire/ — Strategic Storage Trust IV, Inc. (SST IV), a public non-traded real estate investment trust sponsored by SmartStop Asset Management, LLC (SmartStop), announced today its acquisition of an approximately 580-unit self storage facility located at 8020 Las Vegas Blvd. South in Las Vegas, Nevada.

"The property is located on Las Vegas Blvd. adjacent to Interstates 15 and 215, with solid population density and a high traffic count," said Wayne Johnson, chief investment officer. "This acquisition aligns well with our investment criteria and we believe the property will benefit operationally by being in close proximity to other SmartStop managed facilities in the area."

The facility has approximately 55,000 rentable square feet and features 24-hour onsite management.

About Strategic Storage Trust IV, Inc. (SST IV)

SST IV is a Maryland corporation that intends to qualify as a real estate investment trust for federal income tax purposes for the taxable year ended December 31, 2017. SST IV focuses on the acquisition of stabilized and growth self storage properties. SST IV owns four properties comprising approximately 2,120 self storage units and approximately 237,000 net rentable square feet of storage space.

About SmartStop Asset Management, LLC (SmartStop)
SmartStop is a diversified real estate company focused on self storage assets, along with student and senior housing. The company has approximately $1.5 billion of real estate assets under management, including 114 self storage facilities located throughout the United States and Toronto, Canada, comprised of approximately 72,000 units and 8.3 million rentable square feet. SmartStop’s real estate portfolio also includes five student housing communities with approximately 2,800 beds and 1.1 million square feet of space, as well as three senior housing communities with approximately 350 beds and 250,000 rentable square feet of space. SmartStop is the sponsor of SST IV, Strategic Storage Trust II, Inc., and Strategic Storage Growth Trust, Inc., all public non-traded REITs focusing on self storage assets. The company is also a national sponsor of Section 1031 exchange offerings using the Delaware statutory trust structure. The facilities offer affordable and accessible storage units for residential and commercial customers. In addition, they offer secure interior and exterior storage units as well as outside storage areas for vehicles, RVs and boats. Additional information regarding SmartStop is available at www.SAM.com and more information regarding SmartStop® Self Storage in the United States and Canada is available at www.smartstopselfstorage.com.

This press release may contain certain forward-looking statements within the meaning of Section 27A of the Securities Act of 1933, as amended, and Section 21E of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended. Such forward-looking statements can generally be identified by our use of forward-looking terminology such as "may," "will," "expect," "intend," "anticipate," "estimate," "believe," "continue," or other similar words. Because such statements include risks, uncertainties and contingencies, actual results may differ materially from the expectations, intentions, beliefs, plans or predictions of the future expressed or implied by such forward-looking statements. These risks, uncertainties and contingencies include, but are not limited to: uncertainties relating to changes in general economic and real estate conditions; uncertainties relating to the implementation of our real estate investment strategy; uncertainties relating to financing availability and capital proceeds; uncertainties relating to the closing of property acquisitions; uncertainties relating to the public offering of our common stock; uncertainties related to the timing and availability of distributions; and other risk factors as outlined in Strategic Storage Trust IV’s prospectus, as amended from time to time. This is neither an offer nor a solicitation to purchase securities.

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