Las Vegas Sun

October 18, 2019

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Old downtown Las Vegas motel to be converted into apartments


Wade Vandervort

A view of the Safari Motel on East Fremont Street in downtown Las Vegas Wednesday, Sept. 4, 2019.

A shuttered 1950s-era motel with a troubled history is the latest downtown property slated for redevelopment into apartments.

Las Vegas Apartments LLC will convert the former Safari Motel on East Fremont Street into a 21-unit apartment complex with financial assistance from the city of Las Vegas.

The City Council approved an agreement today granting the owner up to $95,000 in financial assistance for the project from the Redevelopment Agency.

The property owner, Santa Monica-based realtor Mary Mashhadi of Las Vegas Apartments, must maintain and restore the former motel’s neon sign to its original condition as part of the agreement, according to city documents.

Las Vegas Apartments purchased the property in May 2019 for $950,000, documents show.

At the time, the Safari Motel was still operating under former owner Wendy Linh Yeh, a spokesman for the Mashhadi family said. The company owns and operates other properties downtown that it has similarly acquired and converted, he said.

Built in 1956, the 25-unit Safari Motel had a notorious history in recent years.

A man was stabbed in one of the rooms in 2016. A fire broke out in 2013, causing $25,000 in damage, displacing the manager and killing a dog. The city described it as a “blighted and crime-ridden property” in documents.

Las Vegas Apartments will rehabilitate the existing structure, making landscaping improvements, installing new flooring and appliances, updating the plumbing system and adding a security gate, among other improvements. The resulting modern-style apartments are expected to be finished in May 2020 and will be rented at market rate, city documents state.

The company must either restore the LED, African Safari-themed motel sign and keep it on site or donate it to the city for preservation, documents stipulate.

“We’re supposed to keep the sign in place, which we will happily do,” the family spokesman said.

The council approved the project without comment.