In Rumors: Chik-Fil-A, Eclipse, an Urban Park and More Closing Doors

First, the big news: Whispers have been circulating that one of the things most sorely lacking in Downtown—parks and public spaces—is about to be addressed in a thoughtful, unique manner. A park is coming to Downtown, and while exactly how it will shape up is not yet decided, this much we know: Funding is already in place, and a location has been selected. Using creative repositioning of public right-of-ways, Third Street Park (that’s what we’ll call it for now) will sidle up to the east side of Third Street, and likely stretch from Bonneville Avenue (alongside Juhl) to Charleston Blvd. That is approximately 40 feet wide and half a mile long!

More good news for 3rd Street? Eclipse, the luxe movie theater complex triangulated between Juhl, Newport and Soho Lofts, has broken ground with a 2016 target for opening. A good sign for certain, but much work remains to be done. Here’s hoping Downtown ends up with a gorgeous theater and not another Minami Hole. (Google it.)

Nearby, at Soho Lofts, rumors around the building suggest that the Lady Silvia bar is set to reopen this month. We’ve heard these things before, though, so we’ll kindly wait until our first bourbon and branch water is poured before getting excited. While we wish that we could wait out the opening at the eagerly-awaited Soho location of Goodwich, it too has yet to materialize. A search of the City of Las Vegas permits shows that $4345.70 in building permits have been issued, but not yet paid for. Meanwhile, we remain hungry and thirsty!

Good thing, then, that Pawn Plaza, just a block north on The Boulevard, quietly took down the fences last week. There is a whole mess of food and beverage spots headed for the (ahem) “new container park” but a walk-through on October 2 showed only two that were ready to serve: Rick’s Rollin Smoke (just the upstairs bar for now), Rita’s Italian Ice and Smoke’s Poutinerie. The grand opening of Pawn Plaza is scheduled for October 9.

Sticking with the #foodporn theme we have going: We know this might stretch the boundaries of what you may think of as DTLV, but  a few things of note are happening on Sahara Avenue, just south of that lamentably ugly “The Party Starts Here!” banner. First, just off The Boulevard, chef Sheridan Su (he of Fat Choy fame) has finally opened his labor of love, Flock & Fowl. Further west, at Sahara’s corner with Rancho, Tony Gemignani (the award winning pizziola responsible for Pizza Rock) is receiving rave word-of-mouth from many a downtowner for Little Tony’s, a small pizza and pasta joint inside Palace Station. And finally, the kicker: the pop-cult fanatics of Chik-Fil-A will be thrilled to hear that a huge outpost of the restaurant is slated to be built at the northeast corner of Sahara and Rancho. Until then, slide over to chef Natalie Young’s tasty Chow, the new chicken and Chinese spot next door to Writer’s Block on Fremont Street. Bawk bawk!

Remember the ModernLV, the art museum and educational complex that was slated to be built along Art Way and Charleston Boulevard? Spurred by a lack of recent news about the project, we spirited over to to see what was up. Given that the last update was made in June 2014, we figured the project was dead in the water. Not quite. Here’s what we heard: New leadership has taken up the cause, and they are working closely with both the City of Las Vegas (to secure a new location for the museum in Symphony Park) and the Nevada State Museum (to create a statewide affiliation for the facility). We eagerly await more information—and art!

The amiable Lance and Kent Johns at Atomic Liquors were recently spotted poring over renderings on a Friday afternoon. Renderings of what? Well, do you remember the former auto garage on the Atomic property, the one that was slated to house chef Ben Vaughn’s Southern Kitchen? Well, that one’s off the burner. With Vaughn now running his Southern Kitchen food truck, the Johns turned their efforts inward, and are now developing the restaurant themselves. They are bouncing various concepts around, and aiming for a Valentine’s Day opening.

Unfortunately, we must end this with some closings: Bikram Yoga Downtown has closed, and also body waxing boutique BOX, whose three-month run at Juhl barely seems like enough time to test the market. And these aren’t Downtown’s only steps backward this month: Sources tell us that many of the restaurant and bar projects planned for the 18b Arts District—including those planned for the former Winfield Manor building—have temporarily stalled amidst asbestos abatement and financing snags.

And our friends at Las Vegas Camera Club in Art Square, who have supplied our incredibly expensive but richly satisfying instant film habit these past few years, are calling it quits with an End of the World Party on Oct. 10, noon 5 to 6 p.m. They’ll be selling cool vintage Polaroid cameras and new Impossible Project film at fittingly apocalyptic prices. And if you don’t make it down there before Oct. 10 but your SX-70 still needs fresh ammo, just wander two doors down from LVCC to Nevada Light Gallery, where you’ll still be able to get Impossible film at very probable prices. Downtown dies! Downtown lives again! Shiny and chrome!

Vegas Seven