As you drive north on Main Street toward downtown, what captures your attention is the glass-covered expanse of the new Las Vegas City Hall. It’s a big building—310,000 square feet—and it’s big news: It’s slated to open in February, which means Zappos can take over the old City Hall and the Golden Age can officially begin in downtown Las Vegas.
But just before you reach the shiny edifice, another building comes into view, this one not so ornate but eye-catching in its own right. It’s a shabby, one-story structure with a yellow-and-red sunburst pattern covering its otherwise featureless façade. It’s out of place next to its stylish new neighbor, a Hawaiian shirt at a black-tie affair.
This is Goodfellas Bail Bonds, and it looks that way for a reason. “I don’t want people missing me,” Goodfellas owner Eugene Caruso says. “I want them to see me.”
Caruso purchased the property in 2004, before plans for City Hall had been devised. Shortly after that, LiveWork LLC began buying up nearly five blocks of prime downtown real estate for the City Hall project, but somehow Caruso’s property was left out of the mix. Now the Las Vegas native is in the comical (and potentially enviable) position of having his outdated, garish building next to one of the Valley’s newest and classiest structures, one that is expected to cost $185 million. Caruso has been told that he can factor in the verticality of City Hall (the air rights) in determining his parcel’s worth, a condition that could fetch a sale price of up to $9 million.
For now, Caruso is content to stay put until someone makes him an offer he can’t refuse.
“If you’re spending all that money on [the City Hall] project, you might just want to buy the guy out right next door,” Caruso says. “But I don’t run City Hall; all I’m trying to do is just write bail.”