Sixteen months after Eater Vegas first revealed the down at heel Fergusons Motel was to be reborn as a hub of art, dining, drinking and retail, it looks like the Downtown Project has stepped away from its own big dreams.
Bloomberg Business Week is reporting Paul Cline, project manager for the remodel of the 50,768-square-foot, 69-room motel, discovered his role was dissolved last September and departed believing, "I think their appetite for that doesn’t exist now."
Kim Schaefer, speaking for the Downtown Project, chose not confirm or deny the claim to Bloomberg, but explained, "We are currently evaluating the financials of this proposed project." The lot and buildings were bought for $5 million by the development group in December of 2012. Cline believed it would take another $9 million to match the ambitious plans for the motel.
All mention of Fergusons has now been scrubbed from the Downtown Project's Web presence, although their original page soliciting future tenants can be still be found online.
Plans for the makeover were in an advanced stage, with layouts, renderings and even rumored tenants. A coffee shop, three bars and even more possible dining at the rear of the motel were to be joined by local artists and retailers residing in retrofitted guest rooms.
The central courtyard was designed for hosting outdoor concerts and events, surrounding a centerpiece 50-foot-tall "Big Rig Jig" sculpture created by Los Angeles artist Mike Ross.
As a more adult, 2.0 version of the kid friendly Container Park further back along Fremont, Fergusons would have provided the perfect extra impetus for visitors to head to this section of Downtown. In other ominous news, Bloomberg also reports on the financials of the Container Park, with a manager noting, "We’re very, very close to being profitable, some months."
Some work on property has been visible over the last year, including the filling of the motel pool with concrete in preparation for a bar patio.
While Fergusons now languishes, the immediate neighborhood is currently awaiting the arrival of PublicUs, a canteen-style restaurant situated across the street from the motel, Natalie Young's second restaurant Chow, located a block away and 11th Street Records at 1023 Fremont, featuring new and used vinyl.
Work is yet to begin on the Wheelhouse project, also a block from the motel, aiming to feature a music venue and bars, next door to The Bunkhouse's current music venue and bar.