At the next Las Vegas City Council meeting, board members will discuss the possibility of ‘declaring an emergency’ when it comes to two abandoned buildings in the downtown area.
The El Cid Hotel and neighboring annex are located on Bridger Avenue between 6th and 7th streets. The abandon buildings have housed squatters throughout the years, and the city says they’re becoming a problem.
First responders are not unfamiliar with the abandoned El Cid Hotel and neighboring annex building, but after numerous calls over the years for fires and other issues, the city now wants to take action.
“It has become a consistent problem,” said Bob Coffin, City Council Member for Ward 3.
The squatter problem is also affecting residents in the area.
“People jumping in and out all the time,” said Juan Mejia, neighbor.
Mejia lives a block away from the property. He calls it a nuisance, so he tries to avoid this stretch of sidewalk.
“I prefer to go around the building or somewhere else,” Mejia said.
The Las Vegas city council will discuss if the buildings are an imminent hazard requiring immediate demolition.
Between October and December last year, Metro Police received 46 calls for service.
“We have tried and tried to get the owner to keep it secure, but they don’t, and this building has been catching fire as you can imagine with homeless people living in there and unpermitted. We just can’t order firefighters in there anymore,” Coffin said.
A concern the fire department expressed in December following a fire at the El Cid Hotel.
“We don’t know if we’re going to get shot or stabbed,” said Tim Szymanski, Las Vegas Fire, and Rescue. “We’ll find these people laying on the floor you don’t know if it’s a victim. They might have weapons with them because those people are territorial.”
The city has spent thousands on boarding up the buildings following fires last year. Despite efforts to work with the property owners, Coffin says action needs to happen now.
“Thing is they’ve made promises before, and they haven’t kept it, and we want to hold them to those promises; that’s why we’re coming this way,” Coffin said.
The bid to demolish comes under $500,000. The owners are expected to pay that, or there will be a lien against the property.
A property manager told 8 News NOW the owners don’t want to comment on the matter.