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OPEN LETTER

<p>Little pomegranate tree on 8th Street.</p>

Little pomegranate tree on 8th Street.

<p>A pomegranate on the little pomegranate tree.</p>

A pomegranate on the little pomegranate tree.

It is a weird and exciting time to live and work downtown, is it not, my friend the pomegranate tree? I would say “little” again, but you are fine sturdy fellow, if a little on the short side, managing to survive the vicissitudes of life there at 8th Street and Stewart Avenue, among some of the oldest properties on the original Las Vegas townsite. And you have some nice neighbors!

I think the Shangri-La apartments next door to you are heavenly. (Get it? Shangri-La? Heavenly?)

But I’m sure you’ve heard that joke before. Anyway, you know what they say. The one thing you can always expect is change. You and I have seen that a-plenty in the last few years! Heck, half of downtown has been bought, rearranged, boarded up or covered with new paint - and that’s just this year!

I hope that you’ll be okay with the big party that our friends at Life Is Beautiful are planning for the end of this month. There may be 25,000 people with all the rock bands and celebrity chefs and parking headaches and barricades and whatnot you can handle. Everyone says it’s going to be great. I hope it’s great for you, too, pomegranate tree! I hope people will pour the leftover water from their reusable canteens on your roots. But don’t drink too much! You know how that gives us headaches the next day.

But there are even bigger things coming, LPT! Just five short city blocks away (well, short for me, but I don’t have your root system) there will be a new 150-seat theater, an international newsstand, a rooftop deck and, of course, a chi-chi bar.

I got a request from a friend a few weeks ago to suggest periodicals (that’s magazines and comic books to you and me, tree) for the newsstand. Mad Magazine of course! Oh, and CityLife, but that goes without saying.

You probably have heard some folks talking about it even if you haven’t made it over there yourself. It’s at the old 7-11 at Fremont Street and Las Vegas Boulevard. I bet you never thought you could squish so much into the footprint of a 7-11, did you?

The theater, like so much happening downtown these days, is brought to us from our friends at the Downtown Project. That’s Tony Hsieh’s project. He got up something like $4 million for the re-do, which he’s calling the Inspire Theater. Apparently Tony and company will continue the pattern of having smart people talk about smart things, so it will be a nice place for that. Plus some music or some such, but all-in-all, another good reason to hang out downtown. You and me, pomegranate tree! We’ll hang out with the smart people too!

Anyway, I was thinking about that French expression: Plus ca change, plus c’est le meme chose. But I don’t know. Maybe the French got it a little bit wrong, because things don’t seem to be staying the same downtown. I hope that’s a good thing. I hope that’s a good thing for everyone, but especially for you, my friend; you’re a survivor, little pomegranate tree, from an older and (ahem) seedier time, and I hope you’ll always be around to remind us of our (cough) roots in an older Las Vegas.

Sincerely,

Launce Rake

P.S. I snagged one of your pomegranates the other day and it made a very nice fresh pom and cran martini, so thanks again!