Over two years since first uncovered, the transformation of the moth-balled 50,768-square-foot, 69-room Fergusons Motel into a Fremont East retail, dining and drinking hub is back on the front burner.
A Downtown Project production, the lot and buildings were bought for $5 million by the development group in December 2012, but finding tenants and a willingness to drop millions more into the location have stymied progress. But now, with the return of The Bunkhouse venue this month, the debut of Chow from chef Natalie Young and the future arrival of Atomic Kitchen, interest in this stretch of Fremont Street has been revived.
An application for existing construction and design permits on the property to be extended for two more years were recently filed with the city, with the explanation the site has been "generating great interest from prospective tenants." The hope is for construction to begin "in the coming months," with a completion date within the two-year extension.
Still part of the plans submitted to the city, the installation of the 50-foot-tall Big Rig Jig sculpture from Los Angeles artist Mike Ross and a shallow, four-step amphitheater surrounding the sculpture for outdoor events. The second floor of motel rooms will be allocated to office space and 13 stores will occupy the ground floor rooms.
Three separate taverns with outdoor seating are promised, plus a fourth restaurant, once rumored to be a coffee shop. Over the last two years the concept has also floated the idea of building a retro Las Vegas-themed tavern in the former front desk, under the shadow of the motel's neon sign. The city is expected to give the green light for the permit expansions.