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[J. Patrick Coolican]

On the horizon: A quick look at projects poised to shape downtown

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If it’s happening Downtown, J. Patrick Coolican is going to let you know about it.
Photo: Ryan Olbrysh
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J. Patrick Coolican

The action is downtown. Neil Young wrote a song about it, “Yeah the hippies all go there/Cause they want to be seen.”

While development remains fairly moribund in the rest of the Las Vegas Valley, there’s suddenly a diverse array of projects in various states of planning and completion downtown.

In the first of what will be a regular feature, let’s go around the horn and check in on some notable parcels.

Arnold Stalk has a history of community-minded development, especially retrofitting dodgy motels. He’s currently working on three projects:

The Econo Lodge at 1150 S. Las Vegas Blvd. is being sold to a nonprofit, which will link up with Las Vegas Urban League, Lutheran Social Services of Nevada and other nonprofits to offer transitional housing for veterans, along with medical and social services to that population.

Variety Early Learning Center will move from 990 D St. to the former Nevada State Museum at 700 Twin Lakes Drive. The school is for kids from 2 months to school age and will help prepare them for kindergarten. The move will allow the school to double enrollment to 250 kids. Much needed. Stalk is using a lot of skilled volunteer labor to do the work, but still needs $750,000 for the retrofit. Donate at varietyearlylearningcenter.org.

The Las Vegas Gateway Project at Fremont and Eastern, at the eastern end of downtown, already has the 2100 Club bar at 2100 Fremont, but will hopefully add a major commercial development that will revitalize the area while retaining its Latin feel. Stalk has approval for a 90,595-square-foot shopping center at the northwest corner of Charleston and Fremont, according to the Planning Department. Dreamers hope this could be an ethnic enclave that draws locals and even tourists, like Chinatown.

• At the same intersection, the important “Five Points” that bring together Charleston, Eastern and Fremont, Trinity Schlottman has approval for 85 Urban Loft townhouse units.

• Simon Malls received approval from the Planning Commission this month to build a 159,257-square-foot addition to the existing outlet mall and expand the parking garage. (Las Vegas: World leader in parking!)

• At 6th and Fremont, construction has started on Commonwealth bar.

• Across the street at 601 Fremont, approvals are in place for another bar.

• After years of financial limbo, Juhl Lofts at 4th and Bonneville seems ready to go. As one downtown real estate insider says, “I think people are waiting to see what rents it draws, as a barometer on whether to go forward with new residential projects.”

• The Las Vegas Planning Department informs me that Barnet Liberman received approval last year for a 14-story mixed-use building with 247 units and 7,580 square feet of commercial space at the northeast corner of Casino Center Boulevard and Coolidge Avenue. He also has approvals for a 1,200-unit residential project at Charleston Boulevard and 4th Street.

• U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement received approval for a big office building at Las Vegas Boulevard and Clark Avenue. Perhaps employees will want to live near work and will push up housing demand downtown.

• The Zappos-affiliated Downtown Project has proposed a much-discussed shipping container development at 7th and Fremont streets. The project would use actual shipping containers for bars, restaurants and such.

• And here’s hoping: Solterra, a British Columbia-based company, has approvals for two buildings at 1st Street and Hoover Avenue: a 50-story mixed-use tower with 700 units and 15,000 square feet of commercial space, and a 14-story mixed-use tower with 130 units and 5,000 square feet of commercial space.

This list isn’t meant to be exhaustive. So if you know of something else in the works, send it my way and we’ll do this again soon.

J. Patrick Coolican is a columnist for the Las Vegas Sun. Follow him on Twitter @jpcoolican or email him at patrick.coolican@lasvegassun.com. His Neon Eden radio show airs Mondays at 8 a.m. on 91.5 FM.
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