Desert Companion
Enter the photo contest
 
Subscribe now
Current Issue
APRIL 2014
Click the cover to read the complete digital edition
Features
Best of the City

Departments
All things to all people
Culture
Dining
Editor's Note
End Note
Essay
History
Notes and letters
Science
Take 5
the guide
upcoming events
Take 5
April 26. 7a. Presented by Rebuilding Together Southern Nevada, this daylong event unites more than 1,200 volunteers and community partners to...   
April 26. 4-8p. Nevada’s largest independent craft beer festival is bigger and better than ever with more than 250 brews from more than 80...   
April 18-19 and 25-26. 7:30p; April 20 and 27, 2p. Set during the reign of King Charles II, this dramedy is rich in theatrical history as it tells...   
  0

Boulevard Mall

Hey, is this the Boulevard Mall? How long since you’ve been here?

Oh, years. Mid-2000s, maybe? My wife must’ve dragged me. It wouldn’t have been my idea. There were no stores left that interested me.

But you used to shop here?

Some. When I was a kid, the B. Dalton here was the only decent bookstore in town — I can still conjure the hot thrill of schussing across those wood floors to see the new books. Other people hit Jack’s Music Box, apparently the place to score good albums before The Underground. “Hell, I played hookey from school there,” a friend says. For me, though, the Boulevard never served as a social hub the way malls do in teen mythology: a hormonal swirl of frenemies, consumer desire and Hot Dog on a Stick girls. I just came for the books. Later, I worked nearby and frequented the food court.

And then …?

And then I stopped going. As did so many others. Newer malls and better bookstores opened closer to home. I quit eating in mall food courts. And the Maryland Parkway area acquired a hard reputation. I began thinking of it as the Boulevard Maul amid a flare-up of violent crimes — a kid died from a beating in the food court, circa 2004. A gang thing, cops said. “Certainly, the demographic profile has shifted over time,” one real-estater told the RJ, by which he meant Hispanic and Filipino residents. Also the, ahem, non-affluent. “The Dillard’s shopper is no longer there,” the real-estate guy added. I read where transit officials say 46 percent of the households along Maryland are low-income. So there’s that, fwiw. As shopping options multiplied across the suburbs and on the Strip, the onetime “largest mall in Southern Nevada” struggled. Shops closed. Dillard’s left. (It’s a historical irony that the Boulevard, after it opened in 1968, had a similar effect on downtown.)

So why are you here now?

The Sansone Companies, a local real-estate firm, just bought the mall for a reported $54.5 million, a steep devaluation from the $165 million it was worth in 1998. Sansone is promising a refurbished entryway, new shops, fresh landscaping and improved marketing. Will that turn things around? I dunno. They obviously think so. It made me curious enough to take a look.

And what do you see?

Certainly not a Maul, and never mind the RJ commenter who snarked, “The mall is in a ghetto war zone,” or the suburbanite who once told me, joking in a nonjoking way, “No one wants to go there and get shot.”

Look around. It’s bright, clean, no one’s getting shot; the shoppers I see represent a wide ethnic, age and class mix. The food court has the usual complement of eateries, there are mall staples such as Hot Topic, cheap suit outlets and two lingerie stores. Seems pretty typical.

Still, you can viscerally sense that its value has dropped.

Yes, I noticed you were able to park pretty close.

A few feet from the food court door. Point being, there aren’t many shoppers here — you could shoot a Cinnabon down some of these walkways and not splat anyone. Note that it’s a late afternoon the week before Christmas. Should be packed. And some of those who are here seem to be killing time instead of shopping. Too many shuttered storefronts. A black hole where Dillard’s used to be. So there are real challenges for Sansone.

Are they confident they can bring it back?

Beats me; they didn’t comment in time. But there are some hopeful signs generally. After years of civic focus on terra-forming downtown, 2013 saw some new interest in perking up Maryland Parkway: A coalition of biz and gov types are talking about improved transit, stimulating new retail. Meanwhile, new student housing at UNLV might funnel a few people this way. Maybe all of that will help a new round of people make their own Boulevard memories, even without (sigh) a bookstore.


Comments





























































 
Call the Las Vegas bankruptcy attorneys who stop foreclosures. 702-818-3888
Family
Play the desert companion video

DC Scene
Recent Posts
4/24/14  
A talk you should hear tonight
4/23/14  
Getting into the 'eco-sexual' position
4/22/14  
An eco-nerd reflects on Earth Day
{more posts...}


Archives
Archives

Newstand Locations
Pick up your Desert Companion today at one of these Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf or Jamba Juice locations.
Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf LAKE MEAD & TENAYA
7291 W Lake Mead
Directions


PALMS CASINO
4321 W Flamingo Rd
Directions


UNLV
4550 W Maryland Pkwy Suite A
Directions


CARNIVALE
3377 Las Vegas Blvd
The Venetian Food Court
Directions


THE LAKES
9091 W Sahara Ave
Directions


THE DISTRICT
2220 Village Walk Dr Suite 140
Directions


MIRACLE MILE
3663 Las Vegas Blvd S Suite 45
Directions


CANYON POINT
10834 W Charleston Blvd Suite 200
Directions


TOWN CENTER
3645 S Town Center Dr Suite 101
Directions


PATRICK
6115 S Rainbow Blvd Suite 101
Directions


PALAZZO
3265 Las Vegas Blvd, Suite 1600
Directions


TOWN SQUARE
6599 Las Vegas Blvd, South #P-8149
Directions


BRIDGE
3377 Las Vegas Blvd
The Venetian
Directions


BOULDER CITY
Boulder Dam Credit Union
530 Avenue G
Boulder City NV
Directions

Jumba Juice

PEBBLE
1500 N. Green Valley Pkwy Suite 240
Directions


SAHARA & EASTERN
2675 S. Eastern Ave Suite 400
Directions


MCCARRAN MARKETPLACE
5905 S Eastern Ave Suite 108
Directions
NORTH MESA PLAZA
1829 W. Craig Road Unit 3
Directions


CANNERY CORNER
2546 E. Craig Road Suite 135
Directions


WESTLAND FAIR
1121 S. Decatur Blvd
Directions



Also available at Clark County and Henderson libraries.
Emerald City Smoothie

ST GEORGE
2376 East Red Cliffs Drive #502
St. George, UT 84790
Directions


Desert Companion