GMG - Las Vegas Weekly

September 4, 2014

Las Vegas Weekly

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∑ Vegas Racked reported last week that Ikea already has plans to expand its Vegas location to 415,085 square feet—making it equal to the second-largest store in the U.S. But other grand plans have also come to fruition here: H&M It seems the Swedes are big fans. The Stockholm-headquartered clothier opened a 55,000-square- foot store at the Forum Shops in 2010, the largest at the time. (The Big Apple now carries the title, with a 57,000-square-foot location.) Forever 21 The LA-based retailer's 126,000-square-foot store at Fashion Show Mall has been bested in size since 2010, thanks to larger stores opening in California and elsewhere. High Roller If you've been living under a rock, you might not know that Caesars' "observation" wheel stands 550 feet tall, making it the largest non-Ferris Ferris wheel in the world—for now. Plans for wheels in New York City and Dubai in the next couple of years have been reported—and both will eclipse the Linq's anchor attraction. –Mark Adams size matters The grand plans of the Las Vegas Strip 8 September 4–10, 2014 2100 by chriStopher devargaS; blue angel by Sam morriS; h&m by mona Shield payne AsWe SeeIt O p i n i O n + p O l i t i c s + H u m O r + s t y l e Feeling blue ∑ During the middle of the 20th century, east Fremont Street amassed an astounding collection of Mid-Century modern and themed signage and architecture for fantastic little motels, each lighting up at night on the main thoroughfare, a quaint response to the developing resorts on the Strip. The motels gave the area its distinctive character, but as the years went by and the buildings deteriorated (in lockstep with the neighborhood), sign poachers came calling, seeking vintage neon for their personal collections, while new owners of the buildings simply removed the signs or painted over them in less fanciful font. But when it happened at the Blue Angel recently, there was a small uproar—the sculptural letters spelling "Blue Angel" on the arches were replaced with the words "night club," and the blue-and-white Googie-style sign spelling the word "motel" was replaced in black and yellow paint with the neighboring nightclub's address. The community outrage prompted the Historic Preservation Commission to address the issue of the Blue Angel at its August meeting and broaden the conversation to all of Fremont East. "Fremont Street is really a historic scenic byway that needs to be preserved," says commission member Bob Stoldal. "This is a pressing matter. This is one of the more active streets in regard to change." But historic preservation and private property rights are not the best bedfellows, and it's not as if the city can step in and assert preservation. Even if a building or landmark is designated as historic, the city has no authority, often to the chagrin of the community, which takes the perspective of "our neighborhood, our history and our personal stories." The commissioners tossed around different ideas that include collecting data for the area through a new survey of East Fremont (the last historic survey that included the Blue Angel was in 2002) and creating awareness among building owners, as well as financial incentives. "What we'd like to do is be able to make a case where we can educate," says commission member Jack LeVine, mentioning cities like Wildwood, New Jersey, Cocoa Beach, Florida, and Palm Springs, California, as ideal models for preservation. "I hope to see greater sensitivity by the owners of the property toward architecture and signage." But Arnold Stalk, planning and development consultant for the owners of the fenced-in Blue Angel at 2100 Fremont St., says the Blue Angel, built in 1956 and eligible for historic preservation designation, still has a long haul ahead. "The area is too green right now to market and develop the property," he says. "The site has not attracted investors. We have to come up with thousands of dollars to tear the building down, but the plan is to restore the signs." –Kristen Peterson > bAd pAInt job? at left, the original Blue angel signage; at right, the altered version.

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