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October 20, 2017

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Preservationists ponder impact of Lady Luck footbridge on Mob Museum

Pedestrian walkway blocks view of new museum from Fremont Street Experience


Steve Marcus

A view of the pedestrian bridge that connects Lady Luck hotel towers in downtown Las Vegas is shown in this Sept. 21, 2010, file photo. The bridge obscures the view of The Mob Museum as you look north on Third Street.

Mob Museum

Las Vegas Mayor Oscar Goodman, left, and former Sen. Richard Bryan (D-Nev.) prepare to open the doors to the Mob Museum during a news conference at the museum site in downtown Las Vegas this morning. Launch slideshow »

Mob Museum Media Tour

A third-story room is shown during a media tour of the Las Vegas Museum of Organized Crime and Law Enforcement (the Launch slideshow »

In the old days, it might have been solved differently. Perhaps an unexplained explosion in the dead of the night. Or an offer they could not refuse. Fuggedaboutit.

That bit of irony wasn’t lost today on the Las Vegas Historic Preservation Commission. Members laughed, some thinking about what organized crime might have done about the Lady Luck pedestrian bridge, which blocks the line of sight north from the tourist-heavy Fremont Street Experience to the planned new Mob Museum.

Commissioners expressed some serious concern Wednesday about the 1980s-era bridge, which spans Third Street between the two Lady Luck towers, blocking the clear view of the Mob Museum along Third Street two blocks to the north.

The issue came up during a report on the status of rehabilitating the home of the forthcoming museum, which will open Feb. 14, 2012, in the former U.S. Post Office and Courthouse, 300 Stewart Ave.

“There’s been a lot of discussion over the years regarding the bridge,” Robert Chattel, the consulting preservation architect for the Mob Museum project.

“They have looked very closely at what could be done to remove the cladding on the bridge,” Chattel said. “The bridge will remain. The cladding will be altered to remain as transparent as possible.”

He said the plan is for the work on the bridge to be complete when the Lady Luck tower renovation work is completed.

“That will not be done, I would suspect, in advance of the museum opening,” Chattel said. “That would be done somewhat later. I believe they will have some kind of temporary improvement to the bridge prior to the museum opening.”

As part of his presentation, Chattel also showed some images of development being planned around the museum, including a proposed 12-story office tower just to the west, a two-story retail building and a pavilion area.

He said any new construction must be compatible with the historic character of the property, according to the National Parks Service. The parks service must approve all final designs, he said.

Commissioner Jack LeVine asked if there was any way that the bridge could be removed. Chattel said there was no way to have it removed — legally, getting laughs from commissioners.

Commission Chairman Bob Stoldal asked what more he would be able to see from the Fremont Street Experience once the bridge is made more transparent.

"Why are they spending any money to fix it if it's still going to be there?" Stodal asked.

Todd Kessler, of Resort Gaming Group, which is renovating the Lady Luck, said the bridge "will be a small as possible, based on the structural steel that's there." He estimated it is 12 to 14 feet in height.

"Removal of the existing cladding and the new cladding will be a nearly 100 percent improvement on the character of the bridge," Chattel said. "It is, at least in the design drawings that I've seen, very simple. The glass is nearly full height... It will be more transparent."

Commissioner Jarmilla McMillan-Arnold asked if the steel would still remain, or if the bridge would be truly transparent.

"I need to know how transparent you guys are going to make the bridge," she said. Kessler said the steel structure will still be seen through the glass.

"It's impossible to remove it," he said.

Stoldal said when he saw preliminary drawings of the planned 12-story retail tower that would be just to the west of the Mob Museum, "I got claustrophobic right away."

He said the buildings proposed to the north and east sides of the museum will also be almost as tall as the museum structure, which is about 45 feet in height.

He said he was also concerned about parking around the mob museum, which has space for 50 cars and some buses.

Kessler said currently there are only 50 spaces available now. But plans call for a new parking structure, with hundreds of parking spaces that will be available.

The commission plans to take a tour of the Mob Museum Sept. 28.

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