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City OKs plan to turn Siegfried and Roy compound into apartment complex

Updated August 19, 2022 - 6:55 pm

A local developer received approval for a new apartment complex at the late Siegfried and Roy’s former compound in the northwest Las Vegas Valley, overcoming opposition from Mayor Carolyn Goodman.

The Las Vegas City Council on Wednesday voted 5-1 in favor of The Calida Group’s plans for a 334-unit rental project on 12 acres along Rainbow Boulevard off Rancho Drive. Goodman cast the lone “no” vote after saying that she has seen “hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of apartments being built” and that she has “the greatest admiration” for Calida, but she believes this property needs a park.

She indicated “everything” the legendary performers did “was about nature and preservation and gardens and the beautiful place inside The Mirage,” home of Siegfried and Roy’s Secret Garden and Dolphin Habitat.

“I think it would be a beautiful thing to have it a park. … I should be abstaining, I guess. … They were dear friends. So I confess, that’s part of my vote,” the mayor said.

Siegfried Fischbacher and Roy Horn wowed audiences on the Strip for years with magic and white tigers, becoming synonymous with Las Vegas’ over-the-top entertainment scene. They also sold land to homebuilders over the years.

D.R. Horton bought a parcel from them in 2006 for more than $6.7 million, and KB Home picked one up in 2019 for $5.25 million, property records show.

Both companies put up housing tracts alongside the performers’ shrinking northwest valley real estate spread.

‘Still waiting for Prince Charming’

A few members of the public also voiced opposition to Calida’s project at Wednesday’s council meeting, with one woman saying she would walk to “every house in the area and get donations to help put that park in.”

Councilwoman Michele Fiore, whose ward includes the site, replied it “can’t be done” but said she loved that the resident was willing to “try to get $30 million.”

They’d first have to buy privately owned land that’s already being sold and then build a park, Fiore indicated, adding the latter would cost another $30 million or so.

“I get it; listen, I’m still waiting for Prince Charming on the horse,” Fiore said. “I get dreams.”

But Las Vegas’ growth rate is high, she said, adding that people are coming “to our side of town.”

“Unfortunately, there is no reality of a 12-acre park there that we could make or purchase. … As much as I want to sprinkle fairy dust, I cannot,” she said.

Fiore indicated she wanted a condition on project approvals to have Calida name the complex the Siegfried and Roy Place and feature a Siegfried and Roy Secret Garden in a courtyard.

Land-use attorney Bob Gronauer, representing Calida, replied a Siegfried and Roy-named project would take away from Calida’s existing brands in the valley.

But, he added, it’s not a problem to work with city staff to recognize the property as part of the entertainers’ history.

Development plans

Siegfried and Roy arrived in Las Vegas in 1967 as a specialty act at the Tropicana. After performing at other hotels on the Strip, they made their debut at The Mirage in 1990.

Their run came to a violent end in 2003 when a white tiger dragged Horn offstage during a show, crushing his windpipe, damaging an artery and leaving him on life support, the New York Times reported.

Horn died in May 2020 at age 75 of complications from COVID-19, and Fischbacher died in January 2021 at age 81 after battling pancreatic cancer.

Calida, among the biggest apartment developers in Southern Nevada, confirmed to the Review-Journal this week that it is buying its project site from the entertainers’ estate.

The plot has multiple buildings including individual residences for the performers, according to Calida, which would demolish all of the structures to clear space for the apartment complex.

It expects to start construction in the first quarter of 2024.

The project would be the latest housing development on the entertainers’ former property.

In August 2021, the City Council approved plans for Richmond American Homes to develop a subdivision with 200-plus lots on nearly 34 acres wrapping around what’s now Calida’s site.

Contact Eli Segall at esegall@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-0342. Follow @eli_segall on Twitter.