Las Vegas Sun

September 30, 2014

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Las Vegas awards grants to three downtown projects

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Michael Morton in his Downtown restaurant La Comida, set to open this month.

A trio of downtown Las Vegas projects to convert a former motel, laundromat and garage into usable business space received some financial assistance from the city’s redevelopment agency Wednesday.

The city awarded a total of $132,000 in grants to the developers behind Mingo Kitchen and Lounge, La Comida restaurant, and an executive suites project, as part of its ongoing efforts to promote development downtown.

Mingo, which opened last week, is run by many of the same players behind Mundo at World Market Center, one of downtown’s most popular restaurants.

Mingo is housed in what used to be a garage at 1017 First St., which required extensive renovations to open for business that cost the owners nearly $1 million.

The owners received two grants, one for interior improvements worth $29,639 and another for exterior upgrades worth $12,430, to help offset their costs of rehabilitating the vacant space.

Down on East Fremont Street, a restaurant that recently opened in a former El Cortez laundry facility, received a $45,000 grant to improve the building’s exterior, including adding a sign featuring a neon monkey.

It’s the second city grant received by La Comida, a Mexican eatery owned by restaurateur Michael Morton, which received $50,000 for interior renovations in February to help pay for the estimated $1.4 million in upgrades the building needed.

The final grant awarded by the council was to ProView LLC, a company with landholdings downtown that are second only to Tony Hsieh and Zappos.

The company received $45,000 to renovate the interior of a former motel at 813 E. Ogden Street, which is being converted into executive suites at a cost of $430,000. The project also received a $50,000 grant for exterior improvements from the city in January.

The city’s director of economic and urban development Bill Arent said the grants are intended to help businesses move into spaces need expensive repairs and otherwise wouldn’t be used.

“That’s really what this is about,” Arent said. “Where a property owner is taking a building that was used for one thing and putting in something different.”

All four grants were approved by the city council, with councilman Bob Beers abstaining on the Mingo vote because of business ties to the restaurant’s owners.

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