By BUCK WARGO, LAS VEGAS SUN, September 9, 2011

The sluggish economy and halt of real estate development in Las Vegas isn’t keeping a new developer on the sidelines. Daniel Grimm announced plans for a 360-unit apartment complex near Southern Highlands. He completed a land purchase in August.

Grimm, former president ofthe Pacific division of Miami-based Peebles Corp., the developer of Las Palmas Hotel & Residences on Paradise Road that is on hold; said he’s purchased 20 acres on the northwest comer of Dean Martin Drive and Irvin Avenue for $2.3 million from Texas-based Beal Bank.

Before acquiring the foreclosed property, Grimm said Clark County changed the zoning from triplexes to multifamily that allows 18 units an acre.

Grimm, who has lived in Las Vegas for more than three years, said he started the company, DG Development Corp., March 1, because he is optimistic about development opportunities in the valley .

Grimm said he sawbuilding an apartment complex in the southern valley as an opportunity and is in the process of acquiring more land in Las Vegas for another development project.

Grimm said he expects to have construction fmancing in place by early 2012 and plans to start construction by the middle ofthe year . The project will be built in two phases with the first completed in the middle of 2013 and the second in 2014, he said. The units are two and three stories.

“I believe in Las Vegas long term,” Grimm said. “I think the next 12 to 24 months is going to be choppy, but my horizons are longer than that. I’m confident that in the next decade Las Vegas will be performing again, not at the level it was in 2006, but there will be respectable growth.”

The apartments will be an upper-end complex, Grimm said. It will target young professionals who want to live in near Southern Highlands.

Grimm said he’s optimistic that building an apartment complex is a good risk because he expects it to outperform the single-family market.

Many people will be unable to purchase homes because oftight and poor credit, and many are unwilling to purchase because they fear property values will keep falling, he said.

“People looked at homes as a source ofwealth before,” Grimm said. “I think you’ll see a higher rate ofrenters than with home ownership.”

CORRECTION: A reference to rents going for about $115 per square foot a month was removed . I (September 9, 2011)