Toward the end of July, I remember driving past the Fountain Blew, looking up, and asking someone in my car: "Is it me, or does it look like they are taking the place apart?"
My companion looked up, assessed the situation, and said "Yeah, it looks even less complete than it did last month, what's going on?"
I didn't have an answer.
Now I do.
The Fountain Blue, once the most promising project of Las Vegas 3.0, has been completely scrapped. At least for the foreseeable future.
How scrapped is it?
So scrapped that its new owner, Carl Icahn has begun selling the property off piece-by-piece. TVs, computers, beds, dressers, and other furnishings are literally being sold off like they would be at a neighborhood yard sale.
This news comes just a few weeks after the same old man indicated that he had absolutely no plans to complete the Fountain Blew, and that he had simply bought it to flip for a quick buck. Such is the sense of community and pride that exists throughout the Vegas Valley ... the world's largest real estate slot machine.
For further information about this fire sale, allow me to refer you to this article in the New York Post:
Now, this is bad news for Las Vegas as a whole, but it hits even closer to home for yours truly.
You see, the Fountain Blew was supposed to be a boon for Beverly Green.
What is Beverly Green?
It's my old neighborhood in Las Vegas. Hell, it's not even my "old neighborhood" technically since I still have a rental home there.
For those who are not aware, Beverly Green is the residential neighborhood that begins at Sahara and Paradise Avenues. If you've ever been to the Sahara Monorail station, you've more or less been to Beverly Green. Look across the street past the Starbucks, past the rows of massage parlors, and past the transvestite hookers standing on the corner ... and there it is ... glistening in all of its glory.
As much as I hate Las Vegas as a whole, I have nothing but love for Beverly Green. It was my favorite neighborhood in which to live in Las Vegas, and I mean that with all sincerity. I liked my old neighborhood so much that I was THIS CLOSE to buying a house on Santa Clara Drive, just behind Record City.
That transaction, however, was a debacle unto itself, and some day I may tell the story. Suffice to say that my experience dealing with Las Vegas Real Estate agents (a scummier, scammier, more disgusting, more dishonest, more incompetent group of people I have yet to meet) was yet another small factor in my decision to leave Las Vegas.
Beverly Green is by far the most walkable neighborhood in Las Vegas, and since it is served by the monorail and four major bus lines (including the ACE and DEUCE), it has one of the lowest rates of automobile commuters in the entire Valley. For me, this was a huge attraction.
Even though I only lived in Beverly Green for two years, I quickly became familiar with most of my neighbors. Many of them had lived there for decades, and while they were all quite strange - including a woman hoarder with a mound of trash in her back yard 8' high, and another woman who plastered illegible messages on her truck every morning, I grew to become quite fond of these people. There were very few douchebags on my block, and even fewer piece of shit Californians. I hated everybody else in Vegas, but these people, the people of Beverly Green ... I could tolerate.
Most of the people in the neighborhood were excited about the Fountain Blew, and they anticipated a real neighborhood resurgence when it was completed. They envisioned skyrocketing property values, new businesses nearby, lower joblessness rates, and a revitalization of the North Strip ... which was essentially an extension of The Green itself.
Alas, it does not appear that this day will come soon. It looks as if the North Strip, Beverly Green, Naked City, and the Arts District (collectively known as "Rexville") will be waiting a long, long time for revitalization, and dare I even entertain the notion that it will never happen at all.
I'm sorry to hear of the latest developments at the Fountain Blew. This building literally towers over my old/current-ish neighborhood, and is visible from every north-south street in the area. It's imposing presence is a daily reminder of just what could have been on the North Strip, and like Echelon Place, it will sit for years as a taunting reminder of what will never be.
I think I speak for myself and everyone else in Beverly Green when I offer the following open letter to the current owner of the property.
Dear Mr. Icahn,