Giunchigliani looks at putting pressure on would-be developers

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Enough is enough is the thought that comes to County Commissioner Chris Giunchigliani’s mind as she looks forward to a July meeting and considers the depressing sites along the north end of the Las Vegas Strip.

Her district includes large tracts of bare acreage and abandoned construction once dedicated to projects that would have soaked up billions of dollars in spending as they created thousands of jobs and generated a lot of tax revenues.

There’s the abandoned Fontainebleau, the former site of the Sahara and Boyd Gaming’s partially built Echelon development where several floors of bare concrete give no hint of what were multi-billion-dollar spending plans.

The mid-July meeting of building officials and property owners is expected produce an explanation of plans for a “wrap” aimed at improving the aesthetics associated with the 50-plus stories of the Fontainebleau that owner Carl Icahn has told local officials he has no plans for finishing.

Giunchigliani has been taking hard looks at what can be done to put pressure on would-be developers whose building permits are expiring. Her goal: encourage every action possible to improve the depressing sites associated with a lot of bare steel and concrete.

She long ago tired of having people draw parallels between the current look of the north Strip and any of those Middle Eastern cities after a bombing raid. All that abandoned construction, she suggests, is well…kind of depressing.

But there is a bright spot or two.

She is pleased to hear the owners of the Sahara, which mostly disappeared in an early morning explosion months ago, are “within $100 million” of getting the financing needed to recreate it. The commissioner is optimistic the start of building there may inspire activity elsewhere on the north Strip.

There are also county plans for improving the looks of Convention Center Drive between Paradise and the Strip. Giunchigliani sees it as a small but important step in the right direction toward that moment when some or all of the projects are restarted.

 

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