It was supposed to be the biggest mall in Las Vegas — a 2 million-square-foot behemoth with an ice rink, mini golf and an amusement park.
And like countless other projects from the bubble years, it was never built and the land was lost to foreclosure after the economy tanked.
Developers now want to blanket the site with housing.
The Las Vegas City Council approved plans on Jan. 16 for hundreds of houses and apartments on the former Great Mall of Las Vegas site at Grand Montecito Parkway and Deer Springs Way, near the U.S. Highway 95-215 Beltway interchange in the northwest valley.
The project plans were from builder KB Home, city records show. The Calida Group, a Las Vegas apartment developer whose name and logo appear on some planning documents, confirmed that it will build a rental complex there.
All told, the plans are another sign of Southern Nevada’s fast-growing homebuilding industry and mark a rare apartment project for the northwest valley.
City documents show plans for 303 single-family homes and two multifamily projects with 491 apartments combined, all on about 60 acres.
Calida co-founder Eric Cohen said Monday that KB is buying the project site from developer EHB Cos., which acquired the land during the recession, and that his group will buy a portion of the spread from KB.
Cohen said he plans to build a 306-unit rental project and to break ground in December, right after he closes the land purchase.
Apartment developers have focused on “core areas” of the valley — construction has been heavily concentrated in such places as the southwest valley and Henderson — but as land prices climb, they have looked to other parts of town, he said.
“This is a nice alternative,” Cohen said.
KB Home spokesman Craig LeMessurier said the company “cannot comment on land we don’t own” but added that it expects to close the purchase soon.
EHB chief executive Yohan Lowie and President Frank Pankratz could not be reached for comment.
Developer Triple Five announced plans for the Great Mall of Las Vegas in 2004. According to a news report at the time, the shopping hub was expected to measure at least 2 million square feet.
The project was supposed to feature condo towers, news reports later said. But plans were scaled back, and Triple Five decided to build an open-air center similar to Town Square Las Vegas instead of an enclosed mall.
But by spring 2009, with the economy crashing, Triple Five shelved the project.
The site was foreclosed on later that year, and EHB bought the land in 2010, property records show.
James Grindstaff, vice president of planning and development at Triple Five, said Tuesday that the company pursued the project because, other than grocery-anchored strip malls, the northwest valley had a “significant lack” of retail.
He also said his group pre-leased probably 40 percent of the mall by the time the market collapsed, bringing the project down with it.
“Once the economy crashed, all bets were off, and that was the end of that,” he said.