Is it time for an intervention over at the Downtown Project? The alcohol-obsessed developers overseen by Zappos CEO Tony Hsieh want to bring yet another bar to East Fremont. But their high hopes for this venture include an outdoor entertainment space and some help with the electricity bill. A really, really big help.
The Wheelhouse will be taking over the long-shuttered Society Cleaners in a corner building built in 1945. The Downtown Project bought the site and its adjacent lot for a very pricey $7,900,000 in September 2012. The new concept will house a 7,270-square-foot bar, while the exterior will feature 7,293-square-feet of outdoor entertainment space.
The biggest obstacle for the overhaul might be convincing the City to approve construction of a 90-foot tall windmill to provide the alternative energy source. To compare, the upcoming SlotZilla zipline attraction that will fly you down the length of the Fremont Street Experience will be 108-feet in height.
Since Hsieh's gang also owns The Bunkhouse Saloon, which backs onto this lot, it is a fair assumption the energy savings might be shared with its neighbor. Downtown Project is re-vamping The Bunkhouse with better stages, sound systems and spaces inside and out for local artists. An optimistic November debut has been suggested for the re-opening.
The Wheelhouse building has maintained some aesthetic charm despite a few years of neglect. Local cultural historian Brian Paco Alvarez classifies the architecture as "Streamline Moderne."
The Bunkhouse and The Wheelhouse sit directly across the street from the former Ferguson's Motel, being fixed up by the Downtown Project to host three additional bars in the 50,768-square-foot food, bar and retail concept. To add to these five beverage venues, all across the street from each other, the extra thirsty will soon be able to walk a block south to the future Publicus who'll be serving up craft beers. One block north, the revived Atomic Liquors is already back in business.
The family that ran Society Cleaners donated their classy top hat and cane neon sign to the Neon Museum and it is now lit on Las Vegas Boulevard by the on ramp to US-95.
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