Paradise Palms, the golf course-adjacent neighborhood east of Maryland Parkway and just north of Las Vegas’ city limits, was recently named the Valley’s “Hottest Neighborhood of 2015” by real estate website Redfin, the sole central ‘hood among outlying contenders such as Desert Shores and Silverado Ranch. Why Paradise Palms? Although it shares much in common with proper Downtown enclaves such as John S. Park or Beverly Green, the braintrust at Redfin found that “the neighborhoods that are going to be the most popular this year aren’t suburban, but they aren’t quite urban either; they’re in a sweet spot where affordability and convenience overlap.”
That sweet spot is located right between Downtown and the University District, less than two miles from the Strip, and has the added bonus of relative privacy and solitude thanks to its curved streets and cul-de-sacs. But the area’s most appealing features are undoubtedly its vintage architecture and storied past. As real estate agent Lauren Cutsuvitis states in the Redfin report, Paradise Palms “could easily be considered the epitome of vintage Las Vegas, as most homes were built in the 1960s with a heavy influence from the architecture of Palm Springs.”
For the uninitiated, that architecture includes open, ranch-style floor plans, post-and-beam construction on concrete slabs, clerestory windows, decorative block walls, and an uninterrupted flow of outdoor and indoor spaces, typically enabled by walls of glass. Although great examples of midcentury homes can be found scattered throughout the greater downtown area, especially in Glen Heather and McNeil Estates, Paradise Palms seems to have the greatest density of distinctly midcentury modern properties in the Valley, many of which were designed by Dan Palmer and William Krisel, the architectural team who left their mark on housing developments all throughout the Southwest, most notably in Palm Springs.
“We chose to work with Dan Palmer and Bill Krisel, two young, innovative architects from California, who had success in the Southland area,” wrote builder Irwin Molasky in an email reproduced on the Paradise Palms website. “They were dedicated, bright young men, and together we planned a community of curvilinear streets with parks, schools, golf course, shopping centers and large lots. In the first year we opened, we won the American Builder Award for the best planned community.”
Paradise Palms has also been home to significant figures in both Las Vegas history and the entertainment world in general. According to the Paradise Palms website, former residents include Johnny Carson, Debbie Reynolds, Phyllis Diller, Caesars Palace founder Jay Sarno and Frank “Lefty” Rosenthal, the inspiration for Robert DeNiro’s character Sam “Ace” Rothstein in the movie Casino. Interestingly, the Rothstein house scenes in Casino were not filmed at Rosenthal’s home at 3572 Spencer St., but rather at the more aesthetically impressive 3515 Cochise Lane.
Because people generally buy into Paradise Palms specifically for its classic aesthetic and historical significance (and also a very strong sense of community and identity), homes that either retain original features or have been renovated to reflect the spirit of midcentury modern tend to sell very quickly. A Krisel design with a colorful paint job at 1418 Cayuga Parkway was on the market less than a week—and sold for $5,000 over list price. And a gorgeous remodel at 3224 Sundown Dr. was listed on Jan. 26 but already had an accepted offer by Jan. 30—even listed at $137 per square foot, well above the $94 median for the zip code (it remains to be seen what the actual sale price will be, but given its condition, probably at or close to the $224,999 asking price).
Homes on the east side of the Las Vegas National Golf Course (formerly the Stardust Golf Course) tend to be very large—in the 3,000-to-5,000-square-foot range on minimum quarter-acre lots—and command commensurate prices. A current listing at 3534 Cochise Lane is a perfect example. Although listed at $550,000, it spans 4,436 square feet, making its per-square-foot price $124, higher than the Paradise Palms median, but typical for higher-quality properties in the neighborhood. Billed as a “classic” house, it offers luxury features such as a sauna in the master bathroom, a massive, cedar-lined walk-in closet, and of course, panoramic views of the golf course.
Meanwhile, properties on both the north side of Desert Inn Road and on the streets bordering the Boulevard Mall to the west are generally smaller and more affordable, but that lower price tag also tends to come with “fixer-upper” status. Many homes in the area have great “bones,” but show wear from years of neglect or abandonment. This makes these properties very appealing to investors and DIY-ers alike, especially if they retain original or unique features. A throwback house at 1509 Ottawa Dr. sold to a cash buyer for $127,000 after barely two days on the market (expect to see it for sale again in about six months for double the price). Despite being in desperate need of TLC, it stood out for its vintage fixtures, including a sunken tub in the master bathroom, floating brick fireplace, and distinctive decorative block facade.
Among current listings that have potential is a three-bedroom, two-bathroom house at 1682 Golden Arrow Dr. (its address is “undisclosed,” probably indicating there are current rental tenants). There aren’t many pictures, and the ones there are don’t do the home much justice, but with almost 1,900 square feet of space on a quarter-acre corner lot, it’s not too terribly priced at $205,000—unless it needs more work than the listing indicates (the house previously sold in 2013 for $143,000, and there is no indication any remodeling has been done since).
Not far from there at 1900 Caballero Way is a 1,250-square foot home with four bedrooms and two bathrooms. It may seem tiny on paper, but thanks to an open floor plan, vaulted ceilings and high windows, it’s very airy, and at $129,000, priced just a bit high at $103 per square foot. However, it’s been on the market for about 200 days, which raises all sorts of flags, especially in a neighborhood with such high demand and scarcity of quality properties.
If you’d prefer to skip all the dirty work of restoring a house and jump right into hosting fab cocktail parties, the “Caddyshack” house (pictured at top … and it has its own Facebook page!) at 3328 Seneca Dr. is inexplicably back on the market for a whopping $305,000, after previously selling for $285,000 last July. The lime-green, golf course-adjacent house is an immaculately restored example of the midcentury aesthetic, replete with a champagne bubble room divider screen, geometric wallpaper, linoleum floors, a resort-like pool with firepit, and even a putting green. The price is high, even for its condition and location, but it does include “everything currently inside or on the property excepting only tenant’s personal property,” which redefines “move-in ready.”
“CADDYSHACK” PHOTO BY BRYAN HAINER