Will any of those condo projects of the mid-2000s be built in the future?

Anything is possible, and the future is long time, but my guess is no. The spate of projects was announced when development money was relatively cheap and easy to get, and the boiling Las Vegas residential real estate market suggested that the fantasy of buying in a luxury high-rise for (up to) $800 a square foot was reasonable. None of that’s been true for years.

Paging through old copies of Vegas (November 2004) and 944 (July 2006) magazines, one can peruse ads for the never-built Luxe Lofts, Sandhurst, Krystle Sands, Vegas 888, Las Ramblas (has George Clooney ever done anything that failed aside from this?) and many others. The trend reached beyond residences; there were ambitious New Urbanist projects like the Curve at 215, Sullivan Square (a ready-built downtown) and Las Vegas Central, featuring not just the luxury overkill of nine pools, a white-sand beach and a grotto, but something our actual downtown still needs: an 18,000-square-foot grocery store! Most never made it past the super-hyped marketing-and-architectural-rendering stage, but the cash spent on design, promotion and preview parties probably liquored up some young creatives for a while.

Despite the collapse, there are some bright spots. Soho Lofts, Newport Lofts, the Ogden and Juhl are among the completed few, and all but the latter are full of residents that add life to downtown. Vantage Lofts, the half-built low-rise lofts in Henderson, has a new developer-buyer that promises to complete and sell the units. And, we can actually stay and play at the Cosmopolitan, something that likely would not have happened had the economy not forced the project down a new road.

Why do some UNLV fans cling to a rivalry with Duke?

March 31, 1991: Duke 79, UNLV 77. Rough memories die hard, my friend. But it’s not just the game; it’s the whole culture of the old rivalry. Just as Las Vegas itself has been vilified in the national press, so was the UNLV men’s basketball team under Jerry Tarkanian. Even Saturday Night Live lampooned the university for holding classes on casino gambling.

The message? UNLV was an academic joke, a basketball factory that “hired” thugs to play. Duke, on the other hand, was held up as a stellar example of student-athletes who could not only win, but also graduate. When UNLV played Duke in two straight NCAA Final Fours (in 1990, the Rebels trounced the Blue Devils by 30 to win the national title), the media pushed a “good vs. evil” storyline, and the rivalry was cemented.