Payback Time at Vantage Lofts

Ryan Crighton saw his $60,000 deposit for a unit at Vantage Lofts vaporize when the project’s developer, Slade Development, filed for bankruptcy in 2008.

Apparently, purchasing is the best revenge: Earlier this year, Crighton—along with his brother Richard and investment partner and fellow Silverado High School alum Chris Shelton—purchased the one-time $160 million Vantage Lofts project for pennies on the dollar. Through their real estate brokerage, the trio is investing another $15 million to build out 110 condo and loft units, a clubhouse, pool and other amenities—completing a property that had become an unfinished eyesore at the foot of the McCullough Range in Henderson. The hope is that within a year the brokerage (named Rothwell Gornt, after the nemesis investment house in the James Clavell novel Noble House) will be selling units for a lot less than the former price of $450 a square foot.

“If you talk to anyone who appreciates architecture, when this is finished, it’s going to be amazing,” Richard Crighton says.

The Crightons, both under 30, have already been working in the Las Vegas real estate market for about 10 years. They hit their own snags with a past venture, RCS Development, which saw construction loans fizzle after lender Silver State Bank went under.

It was a sort of recession rite of passage. Richard Crighton describes the past few years as living lean, keeping overhead low and debt minimal, while saving aggressively from property flips and other sales at their brokerage. The group recently closed a deal on a Vons-anchored shopping center in Boulder City and put together a huge land assemblage in downtown Las Vegas. The partners also own about 1,000 apartment units and other commercial buildings in town.

A name change is in the works for Vantage, but the floor plans will remain the same. And if Ryan springs for a unit again, at least he knows whom to call if things get ugly.