October 12, 2023 - 6:11 pm
Judging by the amount of feedback generated by the original Boulder City Review story, interest in seeing some development or rehabilitation of the old Flamingo Inn Motel on Nevada Way was high along with hopes for a property that has long been an eyesore in the historic district would finally return to something like its original lustre.
But those hopes are on hold as the owners, Daren and Donna Saunders of Boulder City, have made the decision to sell the property, along with all of their other holdings in the city.
“Two years ago, when we set out to develop our new construction projects, we didn’t properly anticipate the length of time it would take to pull everything together,” Donna Saunders said in an email statement. “We now have everything approved by the City and are ready to roll but have unfortunately been faced with family challenges from our growing list of grandchildren and the need to help care for our aging moms living on both sides of the pond. My 88-year-old mother is especially challenged and needs our focused attention.
“My husband and I have decided it is time to sell all of our Boulder City office properties and development projects and free ourselves to focus on our families and officially call ourselves ‘retired’,” she wrote.
Daren Saunders moved to Boulder City about eight years ago and still has family in his native England. Donna Saunders has been a Boulder City resident for more than 30 years and saw the deterioration of the Flamingo in real time.
Built in 1949 and opened in 1950 as Moore’s Motel, it was one of several formerly bustling motels along Nevada Way. The original owner died and left the property to their son, who was not able to run it as a going concern. It has been shuttered for more than a dozen years and was already falling into disrepair in the years before it closed. By the time the Saunders bought the property in 2021 it had a reputation as one of the worst eyesores in the city.
When the couple purchased the property, initial reports were that they planned an automobile-centric business centered on displays of vintage cars, but those plans morphed as they learned more about the property. They eventually settled on a plan to convert each of the small motel rooms into mini boutiques aimed at artisans and small retailers. “Sort of like Art in the Park, but year-round,” Donna Saunders said in April.
In addition to the Flamingo and the old City Grille restaurant directly across Nevada Way, the couple’s other Boulder City holdings, all of which are now for sale, include an office building next to the Wells Fargo bank as well as the property at the corner of Nevada Way and Arizona Street that has long been occupied by the Boulder Dam Brewing Company.
Some preliminary work —including repairing damage from a long-term water leak as well as asbestos removal —had already been done, but nothing one can see driving past. The initial news story back in April was born out of a potential redevelopment rebate from the city for up to $100,000 for work including an envisioned re-imagining of the property’s roof line in an Art Deco style.
However, no money ever changed hands as the funds were a rebate and the work would have had to have been completed first in order to qualify. According to city staff, any new owner would have to start the process again from scratch and no funds have been given out at this point.
And, while life circumstances have meant a change in focus for the couple, the Saunders still believe in Boulder City.
“We love calling Boulder City home and believe in its vibrant energy,” Donna Saunders said.