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Naked City developers oppose proposed parolee release project

Updated February 13, 2024 - 8:03 pm

Developers and property owners trying to revitalize a neighborhood just north of the Las Vegas Strip are expressing concern over a proposed facility for transitional living for released offenders.

Real estate investment company 3 Keys Communities, which provides “shared living arrangements to cut costs” according to its website, has applied to the City of Las Vegas for a special use permit for a one-story, 28-unit apartment complex on West Chicago Avenue that could house up to 68 residents with two administrators.

Nicole Capra, the managing partner and owner of 3 Keys Communities, said the project in the Naked City neighborhood would house parolees and act as a “sober living” site.

A neighborhood meeting was held Jan. 25, and David Raanan, one of the developers who lives in the area, said public pushback is clear — close to 50 people showed up to express their concerns.

“You can’t take people who have been arrested, send them to jail and then put them in the same place where all of these things are happening in the first place,” he said. “It makes zero sense, and you’re talking about hundreds of feet away from every single vice known to man — drinking alcohol, prostitution, marijuana. You really think this is the best place for someone to get healthy?”

The proposed facility will go before the Las Vegas Planning Commission Tuesday night at a public hearing for a special use permit, since the complex would be within 1,500 feet of a city park and child care center. City staff has recommended the project be denied.

Raanan and fellow developer Glenn Plantone own a 24-unit apartment building, a 24-unit motel and a planned 87-unit multifamily development called The Philly at 215 they hope will open in two years. Raanan said their idea is to turn the area into a working-class neighborhood that caters to Strip employees and professionals, not a halfway house area for parolees.

“It’s not good for the community,” he said about the 3 Keys development. “We care because we have property here, but I also live in Naked City and I want to be able to walk around the area and not be looking over my shoulder all the time.”

Capra said there is a “stigma” around transitional living for released offenders projects and a “lack of understanding.” She said she believes the development will make the community safer, because it would bring with it an increased police presence.

“I appreciate their concerns and understand their concerns,” Capra said about pushback against the facility. “However, their concerns are coming from a place, honestly, of not really understanding the program. The concerns that were voiced (at the neighborhood meeting) were regarding other types of programs and aren’t actually what we are doing.”

The board of directors for Allure, a residential developer that owns more than 400 condos in the area, said it has “serious concerns” about the project in a letter to the planning commission and Las Vegas Councilwoman Olivia Diaz, whose ward includes the development.

“We are worried about the safety of our community,” the letter said. “We do not know who will live in the transitional housing or their backgrounds, only that (they) have recently been released from prison. Along with the tourists, many of our residents walk in the vicinity of the proposed transitional housing. This makes us feel uneasy and vulnerable.”

Diaz did not respond to a request for an interview from the Las Vegas Review-Journal.

Alexander Iverson, who owns a small apartment building in Naked City, said he does not see the project as being part of the area’s revitalization efforts.

“For years the city and community have been working together and striving to revamp, update, and change the atmosphere of Naked City for the better, however the work is far from complete,” he said in an email statement to the Las Vegas Review-Journal. “We do not object to 3 KEYS entering our community, but do not agree with their assumptions that criminals and drug addicts who want to clean up their act will simply do so regardless of their surroundings and environment. The temptations are unfortunately high in this area for drug addicts and criminals.”

Plantone, who also manages a number of properties and two homes in Naked City, said the project goes against the vision many have for Naked City’s future — a revitalization of a once-storied area of Las Vegas that has since fallen on hard times.

“My vision, and Dave agrees with me here, is we want to do this one street at a time,” he said. “And we are so close to where Atomic Golf will be and if we can take one street and make it really nice, then people can be comfortable on that street, and then someone else or an investor says ‘Oh this is great I can see the opportunity here.’ And then we can start buying and just bringing this whole area up.”

Contact Patrick Blennerhassett at pblennerhassett@reviewjournal.com.

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