LAS VEGAS (May 20, 2008) - Matt Valley, editor of National Real Estate Investor magazine, and Rachel Ramos, retail reporter at The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, are both in Las Vegas to cover ICSC’s Recon 2008. While here, they expect to cover some of the hottest stories in retail real estate, meet with key real estate magnates and eat at some of the city’s best restaurants. But on Monday night, they ended up seeing the seedier side of Vegas - an area better suited for an episode of "Cops - Sin City."
Matt, Rachel and I were heading to dinner in a taxi – Western Cab No. 165 – when our driver decided to try to drive past an older-model Cadillac Eldorado veering on a four-lane shortcut off the Strip. Just after the cab accelerated, the Eldorado’s driver tried to turn into our lane, and bam! The cars collided and Rachel bounced off Matt in the back seat.
Everyone was OK but somewhat shaken. (In photo at left, Matt and Rachel are all smiles outside the dented taxicab.)
Shortly after the crash, the cab and car pulled into a parking lot, and we quickly realized we were surrounded by sleazy extended-stay motels. Several residents, all male and none wearing shirts on this 109-degree day, came out of their rooms, lured by the sound of crunched metal. They quickly retreated into their rooms when motorcycle cop arrived.
The accident gave us a unique opportunity to experience the dichotomy of Las Vegas real estate while waiting for the Metropolitan Las Vegas Police and Nevada Taxi Authority to come interview us about the crash. Here we were, about two blocks from the Las Vegas Hilton and the site of Recon 2008, surrounded by lowly flophouses with names such as La Mesa Sierra Nevada. They represent a vastly different type of lodging than Mandalay Bay, Planet Hollywood hotel and the Renaissance, hotels we chose for the trip.
But we were the lucky ones. Once we gave our statements to the police and insurance adjustor, we jumped into another Western cab and headed for the Venetian for dinner at Bouchon.