Las Vegas Sun

December 8, 2016

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Joe Downtown: Ferguson Motel being converted into taverns, retail spaces

Built more than 60 years ago, the Ferguson Motel is one of the nicer-looking pieces of Vegas memorabilia still upright on Fremont Street.

It’s been closed for several months, however, after Downtown Project partners purchased it in December for $5 million. A fence surrounds the more than 1 acre of property at 1028 Fremont.

When the fence comes down, according to plans submitted with the city, it won’t be a motel anymore. Instead, there will be three separate taverns run by three different owners, plus nearly three dozen retail shops. The current parking lot serving three buildings, which form a horseshoe around the lot, will be converted into nearly 9,000 square feet of patio, according to the plans.

In city documents, staff confirm parking requirements aren’t needed for the space because it lies within the city’s Downtown Centennial Plan boundaries. And in a justification letter, Todd Kessler, hired as part of a team to work on Downtown Project’s real estate purchases, pointed out that 2.75 acres of vacant land just a block away are soon to be converted into parking by Downtown Project. “Retail Center” patrons will be allowed to park there “for a discounted fee,” Kessler wrote.

The motel’s 69 rooms will be converted into 31 retail outlets in sizes ranging from 280 to 1,040 square feet. According to a schematic, the motel’s registration office will become a coffee shop. Two buildings just north of the motel will be converted into private offices.

Kessler also wrote the project would "provide a much needed amenity to the new wave of urbanites that are now living Downtown, as well as attract other suburban area residents to come experience what is occurring Downtown.”

The three tavern owners will require three separate special-use permits, which the city's Planning Commission will consider at its 6 p.m. meeting Tuesday, July 9.

Joe Schoenmann doesn’t just cover downtown, he lives and works there. Schoenmann is Greenspun Media Group’s embedded downtown journalist, working from an office in the Emergency Arts building.

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