Pittsburgh Business Times
Updated: 7:00 p.m. ET Jan. 8, 2006
of business challenges, the distance between hawking a few
hundred $15,000 Honda Civics each year to selling more than
1,000 luxury condominiums for well more than $300,000 each
might appear vast.
Washington County entrepreneur Angelo Falconi, that would-be
chasm is boxed into the same 12 acres of Nevada desert
located only a mile-and-a-half from the Las Vegas Strip.
Falconi Group, a consortium of businesses led by
Falconi that includes shopping malls, car
dealerships and a stake in the Pittsburgh Penguins,
is leading a nearly $600 million development of a
major new condo resort.
Pinnacle, the resort features 1,100 condo units divided
between two 36-story towers, 65,000 square feet of retail,
restaurant and office space, and numerous amenities.
project is slated for a site Falconi owns on heavily
traveled Tropicana Boulevard, where he operated a Honda
dealership until five years ago.
to take two years to complete, the Pinnacle will feature a
pool and a jogging track along with a health club and
wireless room controls.
the most coveted units at the Pinnacle will be found in the
window-flanked sky bridges spanning the two towers where
residents will enjoy wall-sized windows on each side.
pursuing the project through a partnership called the Falcon
Group, which includes Praxis Resources LLC, a Bridgeville
development firm, and Elysium Enterprises, a Las Vegas
revenue from the condo unit sales, the Falcon Group has
lined up the New York firm of Marshall & Stevens to help
finance the project.
Falconi, now in his 80s, the venture is among the largest in
a career that spans 40 years. And that's saying something
for a businessman whose holdings employ nearly 900 people
and whose real estate portfolio totals nearly 1.5 million
square feet of commercial and residential space, including
car dealerships throughout the country and substantial
holdings in Florida.
a true entrepreneur willing to take chances to be on the
cutting edge of different projects," said Ed Morascyzk,
Falconi's nephew, as well as chief counsel for the Falconi
and Falcon groups. "When he feels that there is a project
that has merit, size does not intimidate him."
And in a
Las Vegas real estate market full of its share of
multimillion-dollar mirages, the development partners are
confident their project is ready for construction.
Mineo and Jerry Sukenik, both principals of Praxis, as well
Michael Towers, Pinnacle project director, say the main
development stage of the project is nearly completed.
though it's a very expensive project, there's sound
reasoning behind it," said Mineo. "To (Falconi's) credit, he
understood it, jumped on it, and moved aggressively to get
already achieved all the necessary zoning and other
approvals for the project, the Falcon Group is entering the
Pinnacle's presale period. Falcon hopes to sell 50 percent
of the development's units by summer, at which point they
hope to begin to establish financing and start construction.
said the Pinnacle already has commitments for between 30
percent and 40 percent of the condo units at the
development, part of a growing trend known as condo resorts,
in which condo owners can offer their units for rent either
through a program run by the property's management or on
Group has hired Interstate Hotels, formerly a
Pittsburgh-area firm now based in Maryland, to manage the
emphasized the Falcon Group currently has New York-based
Turner Construction Co., a national contractor, conducting
preconstruction services on the site in a market in which
contractors are in high demand.
perfect world, we'll break ground this summer," he said.
project is banking on Las Vegas being the perfect market.
Towers noted that last year nearly 8,000 people moved to Las
Vegas each month, a growth level he doubted any other city
in the country could match. He quoted a local study that
suggested that in the midst of a major development boom
going on in Las Vegas that there was still a shortage of
more than 20,000 residential units.
level of growth that Joseph Kubiec, the managing director of
the Las Vegas office of Grubb & Ellis, experienced first
hand when he moved there from Cleveland eight years ago.
time, the population of Clark County, in which Las Vegas is
located, doubled to 1.8 million.
just see the velocity in the economy that you do here," he
Kubiec wonders if and when the market for condo towers will
become glutted in Las Vegas, which has been undergoing a
much discussed "Manhattanization" of new residential
80 condo projects are currently in the planning stages for
Las Vegas, including a a 50-story project by Donald Trump
and developments to complement the established MGM and Palms
casinos, among others.
noted that the first two condo tower projects in Las Vegas,
one of which was developed by Pittsburgh native Don Soffer's
Aventura, Fla.-based Turnberry
Associates, the other by a developer named Irwin Molasky,
have done well.
have been very successful," Kubiec said. "Many thought that
both of them were crazy."