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Archive for February, 2008

We Bent Mayor Oscar Goodman’s Ear At The Aerial Gallery Dedication

Jack LeVine, Mary Alderman, Ivan Brunetti, Richard Emanuelle, and His Honor, Mayor Oscar Goodman at the Downtown Coctail Room during the dedication ceremony of the new Aerial Gallery in Downtown Las VegasThe whole VVV crew was there, of course, and we had the opportunity to talk to Mayor Goodman about the Huntridge Theatre, Downtown Redevelopment in general and a couple of other things.

We’re happy to report that at the minimum, he’s totally opposed to allowing a precedent to be set were developers and historic property owners can get out of their committments to preserve historically important landmarks.



IMG_2654About 50 people gathered at Fremont and Las Vegas Blvd to toast the dedication of “THIRST” which will be on display along Las Vegas Boulevard from Charleston to City Hall for the rest of the year.






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Many of the Huntridge Homes Still Have Original Siding Shingles – We’re Looking For Some Replacements

IMG_2642One of our regular readers in the Huntridge called. Some of the original siding shingles from her home were ripped off during the big windstorm 2 weeks ago.

Her insurance company wants to tear them all off and stucco her home. Fortunately, she’s one of us, and wants to keep the look of the home as original as possible.

I don’t know a source for them, but I’m willing to bet one of you has a pile of them in the backyard. Or, maybe you’re about to remodel, and instead of throwing them away, they can be saved and put to use again.

These same type shingles were used by one of the prolific 50’s and 60’s  homebuilders in Charleston Heights out at Rainbow and Buffalo. 

If any of you know of a stash of them, please contact me.

There’s a huge amount of misconception about this type of shingle. They were made from a mixture of asbestos and cement.

There’s one of those fancy scientific terms used to describe the fact that they’re generally NOT HARMFUL.

Non-friable asbestos-containing material (ACM) is not regulated because it contains a binder or hardening agent such as cement, asphalt or vinyl. Examples of ACM are asphalt roofing shingles, vinyl asbestos floor tiles and transite siding made with cement. ACM products are still being manufactured today. The danger with this type of material is that it can pose the same hazard as friable asbestos during remodeling, repairs or other construction. Burning ACM also creates friable asbestos.

ACM Floor Tile (probably) on the floor of Jack LeVine's home office in historic downtown Las VegasThere have been many scams from unscrupulous contractors where homeowners are misled into believing there is a health danger merely by virtue of the products having been used in their homes. There’s are thousands of buildings in every city that have ACM.  The picture from the left is the floor tile we found under the carpet in my own home.

Among the many articles and resources I found while researching this is from The National Park Service Website.


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Worst MLS Photo Of The Day – Actually We Love This Tribute

790456_501_17No real reason to put it into the “worst” posts except that it came from the MLS.

It’s actually a tribute to Nancy McKenzie, who moved here with us from Columbus. She was our best friend for 10 years, and one of the smartest and most talented people we ever met. She passed away at age 52 in 1988, three years after we arrived in Las Vegas.

Nancy is the only “leap year baby” we’ve ever known. She loved Elvis, so we’re publishing this little tribute to her “remembery” on her birthday. She NEVER counted the inbetween years, and that year she joked about it being only her 13th birthday.

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*UPDATE* Las Vegas Sun Article About The Historic Huntridge Theatre In Las Vegas

We’re inviting comments regarding the Huntridge Theatre here at Very Vintage Vegas. We promise that all comments will be forwarded to the government agencies.

Joe Schoenmann, our favorite downtown reporter for the Sun only misses on one point. We may be “Stunned” but we’re not going to be “SILENT”!

Here’s the article from this morning’s paper. HISTORIC HUNTRIDGE COULD FACE DESTRUCTION

(Susan… are theatre and theater interchangable?)

Cover012606Also you can read an article from 1/26/2006 that was printed & featured in the Las Vegas Weekly. (love that pub.)  This article deals, obviously not with the current situation, but rather highlights ‘5 Ways To Save The Huntridge’ by Spencer Patterson.  Well worth the read, especially if you missed it when it came out.

Here are a few links on Charles S. Lee that our amazing friend Brian Paco Alvarez researched for us:
Thank you Paco!

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Aerial Gallery Dedication In Downtown Las Vegas – Today.

ThirtBannersReferenceThe dedication ceremony is 4pm, at the corner of Fremont and Las Vegas Blvd. The artist reception starts at 4:30 at the Downtown Cocktail Room.

We hang out there most every Thursday anyway, so if you’d like to meet Jack, and some of the gang that keeps me from going crazy, it’s a great time to meet Mary and Steve, and Paco, and Pam and Susan.

We found this preview of the 50 Serialized Banners called “THIRST” atBlog Flume, a blog about Comics and cartoons and culture.

A picture can’t do them justice. We drove Las Vegas Blvd from Charleston to city hall yesterday.

If you can’t make the dedication, take the drive, have some lunch or dinner at any of the many ethnic restaurants, stop at the downtown cocktail lounge for a drink, or see the light show at Fremont Street Experience, or listen to some music at Beauty Bar, or Griffin, etc etc etc. There’s a whole new experience for you in Downtown Las Vegas.

You don’t have to wait for First Friday. Downtowns open all day and night every day of the week.

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Worst MLS Photo Of The Day – Vacant Las Vegas Homes Are Always A Challenge

Jack LeVine Presents Encouragement To Other Realtors. The Goal Is To Get Better Photographs Into The MLSCorner shots of empty rooms doesn’t help get the home shown.





The only thing worse than a bad picture is NO PICTURES AT ALL!

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The Huntridge Theatre To Be Demolished ? Rampant Rumor Enrages Historic Las Vegas Preservation Community

Huntridge3159Emails are flying fast and furious.

Supposedly, The owners have applied to the State Historic Preservation Office to pay back the grant monies that were given when the Historic Building designation was granted, so that he can have the designation removed in preparation for demolishing it.

We’ll give you more when we get it, but trust us, it won’t happen without a  fight that’s as big as the monumental marquee which has been a landmark of Vintage Vegas since 1943.

From The UNLV Architecture Studies Online Library:

Huntridge Theatre
Architect(s): S. Charles Lee
Address: 1208 E. Charleston Blvd.
Year: 1943-4

The Huntridge Theatre was designed by one of the country’s best-known theater architects of the time, Los Angeles-based S. Charles Lee. A Moderne-style building with its streamlined aesthetic, the one-story brick and concrete Huntridge has little exterior and interior ornamentation but does feature a 75-foot-tall fluted tower. This building is one of a handful that has received financial assistance from the state Historic Preservation Commission for renovations. The building was added to the Historic Register in 1993. The theater hosted numerous rock concerts and local events through July 30, 2004 and is now closed.



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Another Auction On Bank Owned Foreclosure Properties In Las Vegas

And once again, there’s very few of the 300 properties in “Vintage Vegas”. As I’ve said repeatedly, the foreclosure problem was primarily a suburban problem. But there are a several that I’ll be paying close attention to, and if you’re strictly investing, all of them are in play.

It’s going to be a 2 day event, though strangely enough on a Saturday and Monday. The dates are March 22 and March 24. All of the properties and the rules, dates, and most everything else about them can be found at the Real Estate Disposition Company website.

There’s over 300 properties to be auctioned.

At the earlier ones, which occurred late last year, we were pretty blown away at the prices that were accepted, and sometimes we were shocked at the bids that subsequently got rejected by the banks.

We’ve heard that the fall out rate was enormous, and that mostly it was because buyers did not have their financing securely in place prior to making bids. The contracts that have to be signed by the winning bidder CLEARLY state that the auction properties are NOT CONTINGENT upon financing. If you don’t know what that means….

In preparation for the December Auctions, I wrote a series of posts on how to play the auction game.

In  “The Bank Owned Foreclosure Game and How It’s Played” I said:

First: You’re going to need to know yourself, and the limits of your money, time and energy.

You need to know what your goal is. Are you going to try to “flip” the house? Are you going to rent it? Are you going to live in it? Are you going to narrow down the homes to just ones that need no work? a little work? a whole rehab? Are you going to do the work yourself? Do you know contractors, painters, handymen etc. to do it for you?

The best way succeed in step one is to sit down with me and have a consultation. Let me ask you the right questions, so that we’re working only with the right answers. Those answers will determine your success or your failure, or whether you even want to move to step 2 at all.


Finish Reading “The Bank Owned Foreclosure Game and How It’s Played”

All of the posts regarding the previous auctions have been compiled here, if you want to get caught up on past history. I think history will repeat itself.

I’m just beginning to wade my way thru the 300+ homes to be auctioned, and will try to get to see all the Vintage Vegas ones in the next few days.

Call me or email me if you think this might be an option for you.



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Worst MLS Picture Of The Day – Large Yard Has Fishin’ Hole!

Pool season never got started this year

“When I came upon the fishin’ hole in the back yard I just had to snap a photo right away! If you look close between the posts I’m featuring here, you’ll not only see that the pool has been converted to a pond, but also that the odds of finding some good huntin’ food hiding in that tall grass out back are pretty good too!”


The only thing worse than a bad picture, is NO PICTURES AT ALL!

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1951 Parcel Map Of Las Vegas – Most Of What I Call Vintage Las Vegas Isn’t There

Update: if you looked at the middle picture


1951 Parcel Map of Las Vegas brought to you by Jack LeVine of Very Vintage VegasIt’s a funny thing about being the “newest” big city in America. Vintage in Washington DC or NYC or Philly, dates back to revolution. In St. Louis or Columbus, Denver or Seattle, Or San Francisco, it’s 1900!

But Vintage Vegas? 1950!




Jack LeVine provides his unique perspective of Las Vegas History, Las Vegas  Classic Homes, Las Vegas  Historic Neighborhoods, and Las Vegas  Urban LivingBuried deep in the catacombs of Mary’s house, we found a huge wall sized plot map of Las Vegas from 1951. My house isn’t there. Some of McNeil shows up along Ashby, but Glen Heather, and Paradise Palms, and Rancho Bel Air, and Rancho Nevada aren’t there at all, yet.

Scotch 80’s and Huntridge and Charleston Square have proudly raised their heads already. Alta Vista and Southridge show up. But there’s no Marycrest, or Crestview or Morning View Heights.


1951 Parcel Map of Las Vegas brought to you by Jack LeVine of Very Vintage VegasOur resident VVV historian Brian Paco Alvarez has offered to help us get the 6 foot by 8 foot map remounted at least if not fully restored. We’ll certainly keep you posted as it progresses.

Like most photos on Very Vintage Vegas, these are clickable thumbnails, and I’m betting you’ll get as much of a kick out of studying them as I did.


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One of The Many Reasons I Love Living In Historic Vintage Las Vegas

February 24 Sunset Over John S Park Historic Neighborhood in Downtown Las Vegas








If there’s 330 days a year of blue sky sunshine, that means there’s 35 days a year when we’re likely to have a gorgeous sunset. January 19th Sunset In Las Vegas










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Worst MLS Photo Of The Day – A Typical Bank Owned Pool Property

Jack LeVine's This is from one of the homes I showed the other day. I mentioned the REALLY CRAPPY bank owned properties in the previous post. Does the pump work? What’s on the bottom? Does It need replastering? Can any of the landscape be brought back to life?

Inside was just as bad, by the way.

This isn’t really a bad MLS photo, since it accurately portrays the condition of the property, but it’s still a gross picture. Sorry to spoil your web surfing. Maybe sometimes, NO PICTURE can be a better option.

The only thing worse than a bad picture is NO PICTURES AT ALL!

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The Las Vegas Real Estate Market – Random Musings And Stories From Jack LeVine


Some days, I think it’s just me against the entire media machine. Schizophrenia best describes what you hear on TV and in the newspaper.

Interest rates are down, no wait, they’re up, no wait, they’re down……. Buy NOW! no WAIT a little longer…  This one says it’s a great time, that one says it’s not.

We’re in a recession. No, we avoided it. No, it’s still coming. No it isn’t. 40,000 new jobs in the next 2 years as new hotels and condos on the strip come on line. Builders aren’t pulling new permits for next year. There’s going to be a housing SHORTAGE next year. Not there won’t. Yes there will. No there won’t. Yes there will.

The Great Las Vegas Real Estate Lottery

Everyone seems to want to be the winner of the big lottery. What’s the “GRAND PRIZE”, you ask? Being the absolute last person in America to buy a home during the down cycle, and the VERY FIRST person to buy a home on the new up cycle. THERE CAN BE ONLY ONE!

Everyone who buys now get a ticket, but it doesn’t matter whether you’re the grand prize winner or not. 

Instead of going crazy, turn off the news, and if you don’t own a home, buy one. But STOP thinking of homes as a tradable commodity, and an instant wealth machine. Stop thinking you can “time the market”. That’s what stocks and crap tables and video poker is for. Real estate as a get rich quick scheme is what caused all of the problems we have in the housing market in the first place. NAR is right. Over the LONG haul, real estate is the best way to build financial wealth and security for you and your family. But it’s NOT a get rich fast scheme.  

Uncle Jack Talks to 50 and Meets With 17 Buyers in 10 Days

I’ve been real busy! I spoke to about 50 people on the phone. Some were sign calls. Some were suburbanites and out of towners who found VVV thru a google search. Some were regular readers who contacted me for the first time. Every one of them “loves” Vintage Vegas for one reason or another.

Some of the 17 that I actually met with, I just just showed them one listing or another in order to meet them in person. I got to interview them, and they got to interview me for the job of being their realtor. Deciding to work together is a mutual decision. I can’t and won’t spend 2 days in the car with someone who’s not committed to picking the right property and making an offer. But…

I’ll meet with anyone (including you) to start the process. We can set up a computer search, get them to a lender, advise them on their options or whatever. But the “showing/picking/writing/negotiating” process means you’re my client, and I’m totally devoted to making it happen for you. If we’re going to actually “shop” for a home, they have to be totally committed that they’re going to make it happen, and they’ve decided that my 18 years of experience, and my passion for classic homes and historic neighborhoods will be a benefit to them.

I wrote offers for 5 of those buyers. 4 of the properties are bank owned or short sales, where the existing mortgage holder is going to have to agree to take less than what they’re owed. It sounds like a good way to score a deal. The thing is, they’re REALLY CRAPPY houses. I looked at about 70 bank owned or short sale properties in the last 10 days. EVERY one of them was a beat up, abused, vandalized (sometimes by the people who lost their home), or generally ugly. Yes, the list prices were amazingly low. But we’re going to have to wait about 30 days to even find out if we get the deal. About half of the properties we looked at already had multiple offers on them. We don’t know what the other offers were. Are we the best one? the worst one? Good, but not good enough? 

Most bank owned properties are not eligible for FHA loans

Most of the bank owned/short sale properties CAN NOT be financed by a regular homebuyer looking to get a new mortgage (especially an FHA mortgage) to buy a home. The banks and sellers who are in foreclosure won’t fill up the pool. They won’t patch the holes in the walls. They won’t put in appliances. They won’t turn on the utilities so we can even find out if the heat/ac works. Most loan programs require that that the home be “livable”. Ugly and filthy are ok, but everything has to be working, and there can’t be broken windows, empty pools, missing toilets/sinks/water heaters/cabinets/counters/torn carpet etc etc. That’s a pretty good description of most of the bank owned properties.

Terrific Classic Homes In Historic Neighborhoods Are Being Ignored 

That doesn’t make sense. There are normal, real sellers out there that have loved and taken care of their homes. The homes are clean, the landscape is alive. Everything is working. Many have upgraded windows, plumbing, electric, heat and ac. Some have authentic original kitchens and baths, and some have brand new ones. The seller is available to make a decision. Most of them have acknowledged that they’re not going to get the price they would have gotten 2 years ago. When you get to the negotiation, you’ll most likely be the only one they’re negotiating with.

Granted, a similar sized bank owned property can be bought for considerably less. Then you get to clean it for a week or two. 57 trips to Lowes/Home Depot later, you’ve bought all the lights, and drywall repair stuff, and paint and carpet and appliances, and new plants, and sod and all the other stuff. You’ve contracted for the new roof and the new AC and the new windows. You’ve found out that the ugly wallpaper was put on with liquid nails or super glue. Was it really a “bargain”?

Somewhere along the way, you’ll realize that you might have been better off with the “nice” house down the street.




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The Cutest Beagle In The World Thinks She’s Houdini

Maggie watches the world for us from the front room window. Maggie managed to find a new way to get out of the yard. She’s done it many times in the past. Usually it has to do with wiggling up the fence with her back against an oleander branch.

Her world record from 2005 was 27 days in a row before we finally figured out how she was doing it. Poor Oleander. After the severe pruning, it took 2 years until it looked right again.

This time around, she managed to get out 4 mornings in a row. She must have worked on the new escape route for weeks. Friday, I hid around the corner and waited. Catching her in the act left me scratching my head in wonder that she could pull it off. It involved the planter in the corner, across the block wall as if she were a cat, then onto the roof of the neighbors shed, and a daring 7 foot jump to the neighbors back yard.

P2194682Thursday morning, the maintenance staff at Fremont Middle School managed to grab her and lock her up in the fenced bike parking till I could get there. I thanked them personally, but here’s a BIG thank you to them publicly.

Speaking of bike parking, when I was in school, we didn’t even have to lock the bikes, nevertheless put a padlocked fence around the bike racks. Things change.


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Worst MLS Photo Of The Day – Grandma’s Included With Full Price Offer

Jack LeVine jokingly refers to himself as Uncle Jack. He brings you a daily dose of  worst MLS photos at  www.veryvintagevegas.comShe cooks. She cleans. She baby sits. She decorates. She’ll be the first one to give her 2 cents whether you ask for her opinion or not.

A hat tip to Mary of Snap Properties for calling this one to our attention. You can get a tip of the hat also, if you see a really worst one while searching thru the MLS. Just send me the mls number or address, or save the picture and email it to me.

The only thing worse than a bad picture is NO PICTURE AT ALL.

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