People who build a house at the former Bonnie Springs Ranch will live at the foot of a mountain range, away from the noise and lights of Las Vegas.
They’ll also pay a small fortune to live in the secluded desert enclave.
Residential lots in The Ranch at Red Rock, as Bonnie Springs is now known, range from 2 to 4 acres and cost $3 million to $6.5 million apiece, developer Joel Laub said Friday.
Buyers will have to build their own home, and they aren’t shying away. The project’s 20 home sites went on the market last week, and seven are already reserved, according to listing broker Kristen Routh-Silberman of Synergy Sotheby’s International Realty.
The luxury, guard-gated housing development will be a far cry from Bonnie Springs, a replica Old West town that featured mock gunfights and hangings, and whose pending closure last year sparked a surge of support to “save” the decades-old attraction.
Laub and project partner J. Randall Jones plan to have dining, an event barn and an inn that would all be open to the public. They also drew up construction and design guidelines that limit the size of the homes and help them blend in with the surroundings.
Community that ‘fits’
“We’re trying to create a community out here that totally fits into the canyon,” Laub said.
Laub, founder of Joel Laub & Associates, and Jones, an attorney with Kemp, Jones & Coulthard, teamed up to buy Bonnie Springs last year for $25 million from children of ranch namesake Bonnie Levinson, who died in 2016 at age 94. They said they wanted to keep the Bonnie Springs name for their development but couldn’t reach an agreement with the sellers to acquire the rights.
The 64-acre site, off state Route 159 west of Las Vegas, is adjacent to some private property but is surrounded mostly by federal land.
The developers, both in their 60s and raised in Las Vegas, have demolished many of Bonnie Springs’ structures. The main “old town” area is still standing, for now. Laub’s group is giving away its wood and other building materials to whoever wants it “before we just demo it and send it to the dump,” he said.
They also had to form a water company to serve the community. Plans for the system, called CSR Water Cooperative, have included a 375,000-gallon storage tank, according to records from the Nevada Division of Environmental Protection.
Backlash was expected
Bonnie Springs closed in March, the month before Laub and Jones completed their purchase of the property. News of the pending sale had drawn throngs of visitors to the attraction, and an online petition was launched to turn it into a historical landmark, garnering tens of thousands of supporters.
Laub said his group expected backlash to the closure, noting that people have memories of the attraction. Anyone who called to ask about the redevelopment plans was invited to his office for a full presentation, he said.
Jones said people had a “gut reaction” to the closure, adding he visited Bonnie Springs as a kid and brought his son and grandson there as well.
“I certainly get where people were coming from, but I think … they didn’t understand what we were doing,” Jones said.
Clark County Commissioner Justin Jones, whose district includes the property, said Monday there was a “nostalgia factor” tied to Bonnie Springs.
The developers “have done their best” to be as conscious as possible of the surroundings, he said, adding “the money just wasn’t there” for a government body to acquire Bonnie Springs, which had been listed for $31 million.
J. Randall Jones has represented the Las Vegas Review-Journal in federal court.^
Contact Eli Segall at [email protected] or 702-383-0342. Follow @eli_segall on Twitter.
Bonnie Springs Ranch will officially close the gates to the replica Old West town on Sunday.
The ranch posted on its Facebook page Tuesday that Bonnie Springs is “retiring,” with this weekend being its last days of operation.
In the early hours of Feb. 20, the Clark County Commission signed off on a tentative design details submitted by developer Joel Laub, who seeks to build luxury homes on 64 acres of Bonnie Springs’ land, after purchasing the ranch from the children of its founder, Bonnie Levinson.
Sunday’s last day of operation includes the restaurant, Old Nevada, the riding stables and the petting zoo, according to the social media post.
“Hope your memories are as good as ours and we thank you for your patronage over the years,” Bonnie Springs said.
The land development has spurred debate over how the luxury homes would change Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area, where the ranch is located west of Las Vegas off state Route 159, next to Spring Mountain Ranch State Park.
Bob Gronauer, the lawyer representing Laub, has said that while others debate over the land’s future, the family put the private property on the market.
“They don’t have to stay open because we all want them to stay open,” Gronauer has said.
Attorney Paul Connaghan, who represents the ranch’s ownership, said in January that the family “really felt good” about the sale and Laub’s plans.
Bonnie Springs opened as a tourist attraction in 1958 as a reproduction of an 1880s mining town and has featured a train, petting zoo, horseback riding, wax museum and mock gunfights.
On the Facebook post, Bonnie Springs wrote that people should “stay tuned for auction news.”
Contact Katelyn Newberg at [email protected] or 702-383-0240. Follow @k_newberg on Twitter.
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LAST CALL: Bonnie Springs final weekend
LAS VEGAS (KTNV) — A longtime popular Wild West attraction is closing this weekend.
Bonnie Springs Ranch has been a favorite of locals since opening as a tourist attraction in the late '50s with founder Bonnie Levinson (McGaugh).
The ranch is complete with a restaurant, petting zoo, hotel, and roaming cowboys - including a replica of an old Nevada western town.
However, Levinson passed away at age 94 in 2016, and the ranch has been sold to developers who have plans of tearing down portions of the site and building at least 20 houses.
RELATED:Bonnie Springs announces closure March 17
Despite a Care2 petition gathering more than 55,000 signatures of support to save Bonnie Springs, the Clark County Planning Commission approved development plans back in February.
RELATED:Protecting Bonnie Springs Ranch
"We're hoping that the new owner will want to keep some of the original items. That would be great," Heather Fisher, president of the non-profit Save Red Rock, said.
When the purchase of the land was first reported in January, developers said the team understands the public's attachment to the area.
RELATED:Developer planning big changes at Bonnie Springs Ranch
"We recognize how special that place is and the whole red rock area but also how special Bonnie Springs is to a lot of people. I have that same feeling in my family." Randall Jones, attorney, and partner connected to the purchase of the property, said.
The zoo animals will be moved out of the area with the owners planning to find them new places to live. The restaurant, motel, and event center are expected to be rebuilt in a different area on the property as well.
"This is not taking Bonnie Springs away it's just changing it. It's a transformation," Jones said.
A public post earlier this month announced the official closing date of the ranch and also thanked everyone for visiting Bonnie Springs through the years.
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