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Las Vegas Sands buys buildings in southwest valley for future headquarters

Updated October 21, 2021 - 3:47 pm

Months after reaching a multibillion-dollar deal to sell its Strip properties, Las Vegas Sands Corp. has bought a new corporate headquarters in the southwest valley.

The casino operator purchased two office buildings and a parking garage on Durango Drive just south of Hacienda Avenue, property records indicate. The $21.55 million purchase closed last month.

According to a marketing brochure, one office building spans 31,647 square feet, the other 79,109 square feet.

Las Vegas Sands is exiting the Strip with its $6.25 billion sale of The Venetian, Palazzo and former Sands Expo and Convention Center, but its office deal shows the casino giant won’t be completely gone from Southern Nevada as it focuses operations on Asia.

The purchase also brings a well-known company to a Las Vegas office complex that years ago was abandoned and a target for vandals after its now-imprisoned former landlord was accused of running a massive Ponzi scheme.

Las Vegas Sands spokesman Ron Reese told the Review-Journal that the property will be the company’s future headquarters, adding that Sands is probably targeting a mid-2022 move-in.

Reese said staffers have already started packing and will be largely out of the offices in The Venetian by year’s end. He also noted the new complex is in a fast-growing area of the valley.

“We’re excited to be there; we’re excited to be in that part of town,” Reese said.

Sands announced in March that it was selling its Strip properties to investment firm Apollo Global Management and casino landlord Vici Properties.

“Asia remains the backbone of this company and our developments in Macao and Singapore are the center of our attention,” Chairman and CEO Rob Goldstein, a longtime Sands executive who took the helm after founder Sheldon Adelson died in January, said when announcing the deal.

Court and property records indicate its new office complex and a neighboring building that Sands didn’t buy were once owned by Edwin Fujinaga, former top boss of MRI International, a medical billing collections company.

A federal grand jury indicted Fujinaga in 2015 for allegedly running a $1.5 billion Ponzi scheme, after the Securities and Exchange Commission alleged in 2013 that he and his company had “victimized thousands of investors, depriving many of their entire life savings.”

MRI’s former buildings on Durango at Hacienda also emptied and fell into disrepair after Fujinaga was accused of fraud.

According to court papers filed in 2015, the complex had sustained “a significant amount of damage, theft and vandalism.” Windows and toilets had been smashed, door locks were broken, business documents were strewn all over, and valuable electronics gear was missing.

Most of the landscaping also was dead or deteriorating, and hypodermic needles were found around the bushes, the court papers said.

A former listing agent for the complex told the Review-Journal in early 2017 that he carried a baseball bat for protection there, that he saw homeless people sleeping outside, and that on several occasions, he walked into the offices and knew he wasn’t alone.

Two Las Vegas real estate firms bought the complex — three office buildings and the garage — in 2017 for $12 million from a court-appointed receiver and overhauled it. Among other things, they painted the buildings, resurfaced and restriped the parking lot, and cleaned the HVAC system.

Fujinaga, meanwhile, was found guilty in 2018 of eight counts of mail fraud, nine counts of wire fraud and three counts of money laundering, and sentenced in 2019 to 50 years in prison.

Now 75, he is incarcerated at a medium-security facility in Victorville, California, according to the Federal Bureau of Prisons.

The Review-Journal is owned by the family of Dr. Miriam Adelson, the majority shareholder of Las Vegas Sands Corp.

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

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