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Downtown project hopes to lock in locals

1215 Las Vegas Boulevard about to undergo a major renovation. Plans are in place to turn it into a 15-story apartment bldg. Locals split. 5/11/17 (Heather Mills | KSNV)

Changes to the landscape of Downtown Las Vegas is coming soon. An LA-based developer is hoping to attract millennials and new tenants with a new 15-story building.

“I wouldn’t want to live anywhere else in Las Vegas,” said Lesli Jouskey. She lives in the historic John S. Park neighborhood east of Las Vegas Boulevard, south of Charleston. She said it’s a neighborhood full of character. “Now it’s coming back up and so we love that," she says.

The challenge has always been the area right off Las Vegas Boulevard. “Just this little part is the part that sucks.”

But, changes are underway and have been. Developer Ilan Gorodezki bought and spruced up the Super 8 in 2010. In 2013, he snatched its neighbor; a blighted hotel; and returned it to its former glory with a major retro-chic facelift opening in 2016.

Now, he has new plans to build a 15-story mixed-use building with 16,000+ square feet of retail, 370 residential units, a restaurant and even a dog park. The project has now received a green light from Las Vegas City Council.

Gorodezki said the project is two to three years out, but he said the area is in desperate need for urban housing for young professionals.

In a statement, he said, “The triumphant return of Las Vegas from the bottoming- out during the "Great Recession" also gives me great hope for the city and its future prospects. Even today, when housing options are becoming more and more scarce for people in other metropolitan areas, Vegas is one of the most affordable and yet dynamic and energetic cities to live in.”

But, neighbors behind the building are on the fence.

J.D. Kollar sad growth is good. “New development brings new business down here,” he said he’s lived downtown for several years and likes to see the changes. “We live downtown so we spend our money downtown.”

Jouskey, on the other hand, grew up with the Thunderbird in her backyard and even married at the wedding chapel inside it. She said she isn’t sure she’s on board with its future.

“I'm surprised, but life goes on, it is what it is," said Jousekey.

Gorodezki said he has a deep emotional connection to Las Vegas and wants to see this area thrive. He said he’s working to widen his footprint in the area and already employs 70 people in the area.

The cost of the project is estimated around $60 million.

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