Two women crossed Swenson Street at Sierra Vista Drive on a recent weekday morning, walking toward the apartments on the southeast side of Sierra Vista. On the northeast side, a man and his wife were asking passers-by whether they could spare some cash for the bus.
On that side, a Las Vegas Convention Center parking lot has taken over much of the land from Swenson Street to 920 Sierra Vista Drive, replacing downmarket apartment complexes that were occupied up until demolition. The lot is being constructed to make way for added parking and outdoor exhibit space.
Today, the Sierra Vista Square Apartments stand alone, next to the Western Village shopping center.
Steve Turner and his wife, Nancy, have lived in Sierra Vista Square since January. In May, the authority received board approval to buy the 3.35-acre parcel for $4.6 million, in a deal that would require the authority to hire a property manager to oversee the apartments until all 100 or so leases expire.
A few weeks ago, Turner was told by the neighborhood rumor mill that he and his wife didn’t have to move out of their apartment, that the deal fell through. Around the same time, management began painting and sprucing up the property.
Terry Jicinsky, the authority’s senior vice president of operations, said negotiations are continuing with 920 Sierra Vista Drive Holdings, in care of CW Capital Asset Management. The latter in July 2012 bought the parcel for $2.6 million out of foreclosure at a public auction from Assured Lender Services.
“We entered into final negotiations with the property owner, and we have not finished those negotiations yet,” Jicinsky said.
Both sides are doing their due diligence, he added.
“We have every intent of finalizing the purchase if we can come to an agreement with the current owners,” Jicinsky said.
Outside, the complex features signs advertising $99 move-ins. No one at the apartments could be reached for comment.
Next door, Western Village is home to LV Convenience, La Costa Restaurant, Iglesia Evangelica de Apostoles y Profetas and Dukem Ethiopian Restaurant. Dave Jhawar, leasing agent for Western Village, said the property is full, and he’s unaware of any interest from the convention authority.
“They have never called me,” he said.
Aside from its Sierra Vista Drive initiatives, the convention authority has been busy sprucing up its property. From adding an extra airwall and putting energy-efficient light bulbs in the C halls to upgrading the Starbucks to feature a double-sided counter, changes abound.
During the past two years, the authority has completed $20 million in improvements to the Las Vegas Convention Center.
“I think they’re all rooted in meeting customers’ expectations,” Jicinsky said.
Outside, permanent metal and steel shade structures replaced the canvas over the walk from the Las Vegas Monorail to the South Hall, and taxi-stand covers have been added in the area.
“Many of these programs help us get toward the Global Business District concept. We’re committed to making sure these programs dovetail into the eventual renovations of the convention center,” Jicinsky said.
The Las Vegas Global Business District is the authority’s planned $2.5 billion project to renovate the convention center and create a transportation and technological hub around the property.
By the time the International CES takes over the center in January, Jicinsky said he hopes to have four electric-vehicle charging stations built, all of which are being funded with a $50,000 grant from the Consumer Electronics Association.
“As electric cars become more common, we have the intent of adding more and more charging stations throughout the campus,” Jicinsky said.
Contact reporter Laura Carroll at firstname.lastname@example.org or 702-380-4588. Follow @lscvegas on Twitter.