Wednesday, May 23, 2012 | 2:54 p.m.
It would be easy to miss Apache Plaza, one of several strip malls along a sprawling, sun-drenched swath of Spring Valley, aka southwest Vegas. There are standard service businesses here—a wireless retailer, a mattress store, pet grooming—along with a Thai noodle house and Something’s Brewing coffee. And then there are signs for nine restaurants coming soon, including Crab Corner, Johnny McGuire’s, Mi Tierra, Slidin’ Thru, Mashisoyo and Manna Mediterranean Grill.
If this sounds like an overwhelming influx of dining, know that it’s by design. Halston Mikail of Wilshire Capital said his company hunted down future tenants for the plaza on South Fort Apache Road near Tropicana Avenue, focusing on operators with established business and using the good old mall food court as a model for what he hopes will generate traffic. Also, Wilshire is acting as bank and developer here, financing start-up costs—including kitchen equipment—to get these restaurants up and running. Mikail has the same plan for the corner of Durango Road and Centennial Parkway, where new locations for I Love Yogurt, Tinoco’s and Casa Don Juan are slated.
Could this odd but exciting model be useful in our re-blossoming Downtown, where the prospect of yet another bar on Fremont Street is enough for the community to get giddy? Can you imagine a delicious cluster of nine different eateries opening Downtown? Heads would explode.
But don’t hold your breath. Other than restaurant options, there’s something in the ’burbs that Downtown is short on—space. But creative thinking that leads to economic development, well, that’s something we can share all around.