weather icon Cloudy

Local couple looks to bring new life to old Flamingo Inn Motel

When the City Council (meeting at that moment as the Redevelopment Commission) approved almost $100K in rebates for planned improvements at the abandoned Flamingo Inn Motel on Nevada Way, it was just the latest in a long history for the property. A history that city officials and the couple who bought the property say they hope will be substantially brighter than it has been in at least a dozen years.

It is not common for elected officials at these kinds of meetings to go out of their way to thank developers. But at the April 11 meeting, every single member of the council took time out to do just that. More than one council member referred to the property as an eyesore.

By the time Daren Saunders moved to Boulder City about seven years ago, the old motel had already been shuttered and looking increasingly dire for at least five years. But his wife, Donna, who has been a Boulder City resident for 30 years had seen a large part of its decline 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. But time has not been kind.

“I was driving past one day and saw a notice of a probate auction. Honestly, it was a bit of an impulse buy,” Daren Saunders said. “Another impulse buy,” his wife Donna clarified.

Donna Saunders explained that their information is that the original owner died and left the property to their son, who was not able to run it as a going concern. By the time the couple bought the property in 2021 it had a reputation as one of the worst eyesores in the city. The couple went in with their eyes fully open, knowing that there would be a lot of work involved.

“We have done other development in Boulder City,” she noted. “But those were new builds.” She gave two commercial properties near the corner of Nevada Way and Arizona Street as examples. “But Daren had done rehab work before.”

Daren does know a thing or two about historical buildings, having rehabilitated several of them in his native United Kingdom before moving to the U.S.

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. Final drawings are expected in the coming weeks and the plan now is 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.

Lots of work has already been done — including fixing damage from a water leak and removing asbestos — but the road ahead is still long. The couple was leaving the day after the interview for this story to travel to the UK for several weeks to celebrate the birth of a grandchild. When they return, it will be time for new renderings and then filing for permits before any work can begin. The couple reported to the council that they hoped to finish work and be ready for business within a year of getting all of the needed permits. (The couple also owns the automotive-themed empty restaurant across the street and has plans for that property that are not yet ready to be announced but that will play up the historical use of that building.)

And that rebate? It is from the redevelopment fund which allows property owners in the general historic district to recoup up to 30% of costs for approved improvements with a cap of $100,000. The plans submitted show a total re-imagining of the building’s roof line in an Art Deco style.

Lagan’s sights set on Paris

In less than three weeks, Lexi Lagan will be competing in her second Summer Olympic Games with a collective cheer of support from her hometown of Boulder City.

But is there really a shortage?

Getting Boulder City out of a more than decade-long stretch where no city manager has lasted as long as it takes a student to graduate from BCHS was the overriding theme of discussion at this week’s city council meeting.

Council debates hiring city manager recruiter

Following a lengthy discussion, Mayor Joe Hardy summed things up Tuesday by saying, “Our No. 1 priority is to get someone who will stay.”

Sex-trafficked victims to have new home, school

Ideally, a school is far more than just four walls, a ceiling and some windows. It’s a place of learning, a place to feel safe, and a place to meet and bond with others.

Learn more about BC’s unofficial mascot

The bighorn sheep at Hemenway Park, on the outskirts of Boulder City, have become a tourist attraction as carloads, and often tour vans full of visitors, can been seen at the park each day.

City’s new fire structure in place

The Boulder City Fire Department is in the final stages of adding a structure, which will not only prepare its firefighters to a greater extent, but at the same time save taxpayer dollars.

Report made on strategic plan

Strategic plans are not anything new for Boulder City. A document developed in conjunction with an outside consultant outlining goals for the next five years has been around for at least a decade.

City, court extend personnel agreement

One could be excused for assuming that an item on the city council’s agenda for the June 25 meeting was somehow related to the concept of free speech if one had only read the agenda and none of the attachments. It was, after all, referred to as First Amendment.

Honoring first responders

Recently, the Boulder City Police and Fire departments held their annual awards night. For the fire department, Acting Chief Greg Chesser presented his Fire Chief Award to firefighter Brian Shea. For the police department, it gave out letters of commendation to several of its officers who assisted last December following the shooting death of three professors at UNLV. Those officers included Lt. Thomas Healing, sergeants John Glenn, Tiffany Driscoll and Christ Slack, detectives Mark Dubois, Bret Hood and officer Guy Liedkie. Pictured with Chief Tim Shea are Sgt. Driscoll and Lt. Healing. Driscoll also earned a second letter of commendation for her part in helping save the life of a Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department officer who suffered a seizure while the two were working an off-duty assignment at Allegiant Stadium.