The French Villas: Desertion in the desert. Photo by Krystal Ramirez

Arts Factory’s New Tenant, French Villas Sold, and a Sense of Place

Native Update 1: Arts Factory Eats

This column recently covered the long, unsettled history of the restaurant space at the Arts Factory, which lost its most recent tenant, the Downtown Crown Pub, last month. A recent drive-by indicated yet another round of remodeling in progress; further research revealed that the Urban Lounge Las Vegas, an LGBT-focused project previously announced for the former Corner Store Furniture building on Main Street, has relocated to the Arts Factory into a space that’s nearly 1,000 square feet larger. That’s somewhat surprising, given that the bar’s Facebook page had showed construction already underway on Main Street in December before updating to the Arts Factory in January. An opening is ambitiously targeted for later this month.

Krystal Ramirez | Vegas Seven

Native Update 2: French Villas Sold

Following up on my David-versus-Goliath stories of “island” apartment complexes, built to house casino workers and then surrounded by expanding development over the decades (Villa de Flores at Treasure Island and the French Villas, just east of The Linq), the Las Vegas Review-Journal has reported that the 1960s-era French Villas has finally been sold to Caesars Entertainment for almost $11 million. Given that the apartments are surrounded by Caesars-owned parking lots, it’s unlikely that the vacant complex—several two-story buildings composed of cinderblock and featuring deep overhangs, exposed staircases and mod steel balcony railings—will survive much longer. Fans of doom porn and Mid-Century style might want to get out their cameras and document this remnant of a Vegas fast disappearing.

Native Update 3: Culture and Sense of Place

This column recently discussed that “not in Vegas” feeling we get from some spots, and how the comparisons inherent could be tied to a combination of our city’s relative youth with decades of growth that have, until recently, left little room for preservation or adaptive reuse.

Fellow Las Vegas native Katie C. wrote to point out that we’re doing our city a disservice by comparing it to others. “A city’s culture as we know it cannot exist when that city’s foundation is built on adaptation and change,” she says. “It’s that very adaptive nature that attracts the range of new residents who, in turn, provide Las Vegas with a culture all its own.” This idea—that our apparent dearth of “traditional culture” is actually a culture all its own—has been echoed by other observers, and deserves consideration.

Have a question or comment about Las Vegas past, present or future? Send them to