When residents of Oasis at Gold Spike met with management Wednesday to discuss “important exciting information” about their community, they weren’t expecting an ultimatum.
“They said you’ve got 30 days to get out,” resident Tom Portanova said early Friday morning. “No one knows why.”
The Oasis is a hotel attached to the Gold Spike, but the third and fourth floors are home to a community of artists and musicians. Portanova, who tends bar at The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas and the T-Mobile Arena, brews his own beer in his apartment.
He said residents were told they have until Nov. 10 to find a new place to live. Some residents, Portanova said, still don’t know about the evictions.
A man who goes by Jojo, an artist from New Orleans and an Oasis resident, said the evictions will change the downtown community, but not for the better.
“How dare you bring culture in and then destroy it,” Jojo said. “You’re evicting people, but you’re also evicting the culture.”
An Oasis spokeswoman said the business was converting the 42 residential units into hotel rooms — there are currently 89 — because of increased demand for hotel stays. The spokeswoman, Megan Fazio, said Oasis was offering discounts for its current tenants if they chose to lease at The 211 or The Cottages at Downtowner, both blocks from Oasis.
Residents said living elsewhere wouldn’t feel the same. It’s also unclear if residents would get to keep the $600 per month rate that many of them were guaranteed in their yearlong leases.
“I didn’t sign up for that,” Portanova said.
Jojo said residents were “very sad” about the news, but he and Portanova were still in good spirits. Portanova said he’s always been a positive person, and though his lease wasn’t supposed to end until March, he just bought some land in Detroit to start his own brewery.
When asked where he was going to go after the evictions, Jojo said, “Everywhere.”
“I’m covered,” Jojo said, “but I’m still worried about everyone else.”
Even as Jojo and Portanova mourned the loss of their homes and community, music and laughter still echoed through the Gold Spike and the Oasis early Friday. Outside, a band had just finished setting up on a stage.
“These people are perfect, absolutely perfect,” Jojo said, leaning in close and punctuating “perfect” with a long, rolled R. “Somebody’s gotta save this.”
A worker at the Oasis’ front desk declined to give his name, but confirmed that management was “doing away” with residencies at the hotel. It’s not known how many people might be affected.