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More apartments coming to downtown, developer eyes Historic Westside

With his newest apartment complex taking shape in downtown Las Vegas, developer Sam Cherry now wants to put up rentals in an area builders have long overlooked: the Historic Westside.

The Las Vegas City Council last week approved an agreement with Cherry that calls for a five-story, 84-unit rental complex with 10,000 square feet of commercial space. He is acquiring a roughly 1-acre plot of city-owned land for the “nominal” sum of $6 to build workforce housing, records show.

Cherry, CEO of Cherry Development, told the Review-Journal he envisions food and beverage outlets and hopefully a business incubator program in the $22 million project near Washington Avenue and Interstate 15.

He hopes to break ground next year.

City Councilman Cedric Crear, whose ward includes the Historic Westside, couldn’t name the last apartment complex to be built in the segregation-era neighborhood.

“There hasn’t been,” he said.

‘Kick off future development’

Cherry opened a 63-unit rental complex in Las Vegas’ Arts District two years ago, and he is slated to finish an 84-unit project in the Fremont Street area in January. Those projects, and the one penciled for the Historic Westside, are under his Share Downtown brand, and they’re considerably smaller than what apartment developers have been building in Southern Nevada’s suburban outer rings over the last several years.

But he is bringing more housing to the downtown area — something local officials have long said is needed to further revive the city’s urban core.

As Cherry sees it, the Historic Westside complex in particular could “really help kick off future development” in that area.

Crear said that city officials tried to land housing proposals for the project site, at the northeast corner of D Street and Jefferson Avenue, but no one responded before Cherry got involved.

According to Crear, the concept for the project was modeled after one in Seattle, where the site of the first Black-owned bank in the Pacific Northwest was redeveloped into a complex with affordable housing and commercial space.

‘A little bit familiar’

Las Vegas was once known as the Mississippi of the West, with Black residents all but confined to the west side of the city.

Grant Garcia, chief operating officer at Cherry Development, told the City Council last week that he recalls from “growing up in Las Vegas, you’re not supposed to go in that area.”

But he noted this sounded “a little bit familiar” to what he and Cherry heard some two decades ago when they set out to build condo towers in the Arts District, which Garcia said was a “forgotten area of town” that cab drivers avoided.

The Arts District is now lined with small businesses including bars, restaurants, breweries, coffee shops and clothing stores.

Cherry’s first Share Downtown project, at the corner of Casino Center Boulevard and Colorado Avenue, opened in 2020. It has a waiting list of tenants, he said.

In March, he held a kickoff event for his second Share Downtown, a $20 million project at the corner of Stewart Avenue and 11th Street. The developers are offering prospective tenants hard-hat tours.

In both projects, each of the units span just 480 square feet. Current plans for the Historic Westside complex call for the apartments to measure the same size, according to a representative for Cherry.

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

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