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Strip motel with history of vandals, feral cats up for sale

Updated November 19, 2022 - 8:31 am

With its empty pool, boarded-up doors and windows, and barbed wire-topped fencing, the former White Sands Motel hasn’t changed much in years.

Except, that is, for its price tag.

The shuttered property, on Las Vegas Boulevard across from the Luxor, is being offered for sale through auction site Ten-X. The online auction runs from Dec. 12-14, and the starting bid for the narrow, 1.1-acre parcel is $1.5 million.

“The redevelopment opportunities are endless,” a listing declares, citing its proximity to Allegiant Stadium, T-Mobile Arena and other sites.

As with any real estate offering, there’s no telling whether the property will change hands or how much money it would fetch. But the run-down, 1950s-era motel building has a history of vandalism, vagrants and feral cats, and if it sells, it would almost surely be demolished.

A buyer would get a slice of America’s famed casino corridor and could develop a new project that caters to Las Vegas’ masses of tourists.

The property has been up for grabs over the years at sliding prices. It was on the market this spring for $12 million, down from $18 million in 2021 and $25 million in 2016.

The parcel — surrounded on three sides by the former Route 91 Harvest site — is owned by the estate of Spartaco Colleli, who owned the White Sands and died in 1992, property and court records show.

Frankie Valle of brokerage firm eXp Commercial, which has the listing, said in a statement this week that his team chose to use Ten-X to “garner maximum exposure to investors around the globe,” obtain the “best financial returns” for the property’s heirs, and allow “fair competition among bidders.”

Like many auctions, he added, the “starting bid is low in order to generate the most interest possible,” and there is an “undisclosed reserve price set for the auction to protect the estate.”

He also said his team has “received quite a bit of excitement and activity among potential bidders.”

The White Sands was built in 1959, during Las Vegas’ mafia days. At the time, it was advertised as a beautiful place, offering TV, coffee and air conditioning.

The motel closed around 2008, according to Clark County records, and has been in rough shape for years. According to a “declaration of imminent danger” from the county in 2015, the structure was dangerous and had criminal activity, and feral cats and kittens “were noted in all units.”

Later that year, a county official reported that the property was “abandoned” and had “not been maintained,” and that electrical and plumbing services had been vandalized.

“Despite putting up chain link fences and boarding up all doors and windows on the property, it has been very difficult to keep vagrants, trespassers and the animal groups from gaining access to and destroying the property,” wrote an attorney for the executor of Colleli’s estate, in a letter to the county in 2015.

We’ll find out soon enough whether the old White Sands, one of the Strip’s last motel buildings, finally sells. If it does, I’d prepare to bid farewell to the place — and if it doesn’t, don’t expect anyone to fire up the coffee pot or turn on the air conditioning again anytime soon.

Contact Eli Segall at esegall@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-0342. Follow @eli_segall on Twitter.

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