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Las Vegas OKs financing for 420-unit affordable housing complex

The Las Vegas City Council on Wednesday put its weight behind a project that will eclipse the yearly goal officials set to increase the city’s affordable housing stock.

The council voted unanimously, with two abstaining, to transfer $22 million in state bonds to the nonprofit Nevada H.A.N.D., Inc., for construction of a 420-unit apartment complex, with 386 units expected to be affordable and the remainder to be market rate.

Proposed at 400 S. Decatur Blvd., the site of the former Fletcher Jones Chevrolet dealership, the estimated $94.5 million multifamily housing development will fill a “huge need” in the city, Councilwoman Olivia Diaz said.

The project surpasses the yearly goal of producing 279 affordable housing units citywide, according to Kathi Thomas-Gibson, the city’s director of community services.

In the resolution adopted Wednesday, the city will transfer about $22 million in tax-exempt state private activity bonds to Nevada H.A.N.D.

The bonds allow cities or counties to finance construction, acquisition or rehabilitation of multifamily housing units that meet certain affordable housing criteria, at costs lower than a conventional loan, according to Thomas-Gibson.

Las Vegas received more than $33 million in such bonds this year, she said, and city officials have earmarked that financing for affordable housing. The latest project will be funded through various tax credits and affordable housing funds, with developer George Gekakis contributing $8.6 million in cash.

Gekakis said the project has an additional 60 affordable units, pushing the development to 480, although 420 was the number included in all city staff materials.

“We think this is just a fantastic development where we’re going to go into a community that’s really had disinvestment for quite a long time and we’re going to bring something new,” said David Paull, director of real estate development for Nevada H.A.N.D., which will co-own the property with Gekakis.

The project will create 50 construction jobs and five permanent onsite jobs, city officials say.

The multi-level apartment complex, with planned retail space on the ground floor, will maintain one-, two- and three-bedroom units with rents ranging between $326 and $1,169 monthly. The units will accommodate families earning 30 to 60 percent of the area median income, city officials say.

Households earning between 30 and 50 percent of area median income are considered “very low income” renters, according to the Nevada Housing Division.

Opioids lawsuit

The council on Wednesday also voted to authorize an outside legal firm, Eglet Adams, to file a complaint in state court targeting the opioid abuse epidemic locally.

The firm was directed to file a lawsuit against manufacturers, distributors and prescribers of opioids that have harmed Las Vegas and its residents, according to a city staff report.

The city’s move follows similar lawsuits filed by the state of Nevada and numerous cities, including Henderson.

Crazy Horse Too stripped

The former Crazy Horse Too strip club, operating most recently as Sin City Teaser’s Gentlemen’s Club, was stripped of its erotic dance establishment license after city officials said the building had fallen into disrepair.

The council unanimously voted to revoke the license after officials outlined a recent spate of problems at the club, located at 2476 Industrial Road.

Issues beyond an unsafe building included vagrant break-ins and criminal activity occurring on the premises.

A lawyer representing the majority landowner and licensee said his client was willing to remedy issues but a dispute with other owners was hampering progress.

The club had been open just eight hours once a month for the past five years — without serving liquor — in order to maintain its erotic dance establishment license and land use rights.

Its predecessor, Crazy Horse Too, gained notoriety years ago under the ownership of Rick Rizzolo, a former Las Vegas strip club magnate with suspected mob ties who was twice sentenced to prison for tax evasion.

Badlands legal fees pile up

The city’s legal clashes with the would-be developer of the defunct Badlands golf course near Summerlin has forced Las Vegas to dip into coffers to bankroll attorneys.

City Manager Scott Adams said Wednesday the city had 14 separate agreements with law firms and had spent $885,000 in legal fees — about half of the $1.7 million those agreements allow.

Contact Shea Johnson at sjohnson@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-0272. Follow @Shea_LVRJ on Twitter.

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