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Transcript of interview with Brad Nelson by Stefani Evans, October 30, 2017

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2017-10-30
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In 1984, with the advice of his father ringing in his ears, Brad Nelson uprooted his wife and two children from their Denver home and moved them to Henderson, Nevada, where he would begin a new adventure in shaping the new master-planned community of Green Valley with Mark Fine and American Nevada Corporation (ANC). Nelson, lifelong Nebraskan and only child of his parents, arrived armed with a Bachelor's degree in landscape architecture with urban planning option, a Master's degree in urban planning, and fifteen years of planning and executive experience with the national firm of Harmon, O'Donnell and Henniger Planning Consultants. He arrived in time to plan Green Valley's first village, the Village of Silver Spring. By the time he left ANC for Lake Las Vegas in 1999, his work was done and most large parcels had been sold. As Nelson puts it, by 1999 ANC was "out of land, and I'm a land guy." Lake Las Vegas had plenty of undeveloped land, so "land guy" Nelson a chief operating officer

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Nelson, Brad Interview, 2017 October 30. OH-03282. [Transcript.] Oral History Research Center, Special Collections & Archives, University Libraries, University of Nevada, Las Vegas. Las Vegas, Nevada.

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i AN INTERVIEW WITH BRAD NELSON An Oral History Conducted by Stefani Evans The Building Las Vegas Oral History Project Oral History Research Center at UNLV University Libraries University of Nevada Las Vegas ii ©The Building Las Vegas Oral History Project University of Nevada Las Vegas, 2017 Produced by: The Oral History Research Center at UNLV University Libraries Director: Claytee D. White Editor: Stefani Evans Transcribers: Kristin Hicks, Frances Smith Interviewers: Stefani Evans and Claytee D. White Project Manager: Stefani Evans iii The recorded interview and transcript have been made possible through the generosity of the UNLV University Libraries. The Oral History Research Center enables students and staff to work together with community members to generate this selection of first-person narratives. The participants in this project thank the university for the support given that allowed an idea and the opportunity to flourish. The transcript received minimal editing that includes the elimination of fragments, false starts, and repetitions in order to enhance the reader’s understanding of the material. All measures have been taken to preserve the style and language of the narrator. In several cases photographic sources accompany the individual interviews. The following interview is part of a series of interviews conducted under the auspices of the Building Las Vegas Oral History Project. Claytee D. White Director, Oral History Research Center University Libraries University Nevada, Las Vegas iv PREFACE "Well, remember if you go to Las Vegas that the Gaughan family out there is from Omaha. If you can't find a job, go see the Gaughans, because if you're from Omaha they'll give you a job." In 1984, with the advice of his father ringing in his ears, Brad Nelson uprooted his wife and two children from their Denver home and moved them to Henderson, Nevada, where he would begin a new adventure in shaping the new master-planned community of Green Valley with Mark Fine and American Nevada Corporation (ANC). Nelson, lifelong Nebraskan and only child of his parents, arrived armed with a Bachelor's degree in landscape architecture with urban planning option, a Master's degree in urban planning, and fifteen years of planning and executive experience with the national firm of Harmon, O'Donnell and Henniger Planning Consultants. He arrived in time to plan Green Valley's first village, the Village of Silver Spring. By the time he left ANC for Lake Las Vegas in 1999, his work was done and most large parcels had been sold. As Nelson puts it, by 1999 ANC was "out of land, and I'm a land guy." Lake Las Vegas had plenty of undeveloped land, so "land guy" Nelson a chief operating officer in charge of master planning, entitlements, and attracting builders for a range of housing products; he was also the liaison between Lake Las Vegas and local, state, and federal jurisdictions until he left in 2006 to work with the Park family in Minden, Nevada. In Minden, Nelson advised the Parks to rebrand and restructure their real estate company, Park Cattle Company, as The Edgewood Companies to take advantage of the "crown jewel" in their v portfolio, The Edgewood Golf Course on the shores of Lake Tahoe. Nelson's experience in planning and entitlements helped the Parks maximize their ability to develop their holdings by the time he retired in 2010. In this interview, Nelson recalls working with Mark Fine and Hank Greenspun and shares the thinking and philosophy that went into conceptualizing Green Valley and the planning behind each of the villages. He describes working with Ron Boeddeker and the Bureau of Land Management to develop Lake Las Vegas. He speaks to differences between residential communities and resort communities and why one was able to withstand the economic downturn of 2009 and the other was not. Throughout, he talks about working with the BLM and home builders and developers Hank Chism, Al and Mart Collins, Stanton Jones, Robert Lewis, Frank Sproul. He shares vignettes about Ron Boeddeker, Mark Fine, and Hank Greenspun. And with the benefit of hindsight he offers a counternarrative about what he might have done differently with each project. Brad Nelson's father needn't have worried. Nevada's seemingly endless open land kept Nelson much too busy in the twenty-six years between 1984 to 2010 for him to even think about asking Jackie Gaughan for a job. vi TABLE OF CONTENTS Interview with Brad Nelson October 30, 2017 in Las Vegas, Nevada Conducted by Stefani Evans Preface……………………………………………………………………………………….…..iv Iowa State University, 1966 B.A. degree in landscape architecture with urban planning option; University of Arizona, 1969 M.S. degree urban planning; 1969-1984 Harmon, O'Donnell and Henniger Planning Consultants, Denver; Urban Land Institute and National Association of Home Builders; client Fred Sproul, and Sproul Homes; Mark Fine; to American Nevada Corporation, Henderson, Nevada, 1984; entitlements; Collins Brothers; Village of Silver Springs; Green Valley Homes; innovations such as zero-lot-line houses, City-School District sharing, and Clark County School District's pay-as-you-go building plan as well as homeowners associations, decorative walls, and entry features; "schools and parks and churches"; local builders Stanton Jones, Hank Chism, Robert Lewis. "The Quails": three custom-home communities. Pittman Wash, The Fountains, Warren-Walker School, and the Green Valley Athletic Club ………. 1–15 1973 first entitlements; entitlement as "a pyramid of improvements"; Southern Nevada water wars; Collins Brothers, Arthur Hills Associates, Ken Sullivan, and Legacy Golf Course; gas stations; Green Valley Library; J. Seward Johnson Outdoor Art Museum; corner of Sunset Road and Green Valley Parkway; Legacy and Grand Legacy and Legacy Village ……………..………………………….………. 16–35 Lake Las Vegas and Ron Boeddeker, large-scale builders such as Centex, Pulte, Toll Brothers, and Woodside; Seven Hills, Forest City Enterprises, and eBay founder, Pierre Omidyar. Lake Las Vegas and Ron Boeddeker, Bureau of Land Management, the Bass brothers of Texas, The Falls Golf Course, the economic downturn, and residential builders. Lake Las Vegas, Ron Boeddeker, and pricing …….. 35–58 Park family, Park Cattle Company, and The Edgewood Companies, 2006-10, Minden, NV; Lake Las Vegas. Hank Greenspun and loan from Howard Hughes; Green Valley and other master-planned communities; Lake Las Vegas and other resort communities; Nelson's family and perceptions of Henderson; Las Vegas "newspaper wars" and newspaper advertising; Frank Sproul, Sproul Homes. 58–70 Appendix: Landiscor Aerial Photographs 1987–1996 ………..……………………………….…71–80 vii 1 Good afternoon. This is Stefani Evans and I'm at the UNLV Ora History Research Center with Brad Nelson. It is October 30th, 2017, almost Halloween. May I ask you to spell your first and last names, please? Sure, Stefani. It's Brad Nelson; B-R-A-D, N-E-L-S-O-N. Thank you. As promised, I'm going to ask you to tell us about your early life, so where you were born and where you grew up—all that. I was born in Sioux City, Iowa, and there's a reason for that. My dad was with the telephone company, and during World War II he was assigned to South Sioux City, Nebraska. But the town wasn't big enough; it didn't have a hospital, so they [my parents] had to go across the river to Iowa to find a hospital. So I was born there, but we actually lived in Nebraska. Then he was transferred back to Omaha [Nebraska], so I moved back to Omaha when I was around two and spent all those years there until I graduated from high school, being raised in Omaha. I didn't have any brothers or sisters. My mom was a teacher, but she stayed home with me. After I finished third grade, she went back to teaching, and she taught third grade so that I wouldn't be in her class. I was in fourth grade, so she made sure that I wasn't in her class. My dad was an "outside plant engineer" for Northwestern Bell Telephone Company, and he spent his career there. I went to school at Iowa State University, at Ames, Iowa. The reason I went there was I was interested in landscape architecture and urban planning, and there was not a suitable program in Nebraska at the University of Nebraska or any of the colleges. Iowa State was the closest that had that [field]. I graduated high school in '62. I went to Ames and graduated there in '66 with a Bachelor's degree in landscape architecture with an urban planning option; that was all part of the degree. Then I went back to Omaha and worked for a few months and applied to grad 2 school at the University of Arizona at Tucson. I started there in '67 and finished coursework in '69 with a Master's of science degree in urban planning. I looked around for a job in Tucson because I liked Tucson. I couldn't really find what I was hoping to find there or in Phoenix, but I did find something in Denver. So I left Tucson in the fall of '69 and moved to Denver and worked for a company that at the time was called Harmon, O'Donnell and Henniger Planning Consultants. In those days it was a large firm, twenty-five people, and we specialized in market research, land planning, and landscape architecture. I was there for fifteen years. The last two years there I was president of the company. We had five offices around the U.S. During that time, I joined the Urban Land Institute and the National Association of Home Builders. I had a client, a guy named Fred Sproul, who has some history in Las Vegas as a home builder with Sproul Homes. He was a major client of ours. He was based in Colorado Springs. He had land he wanted to buy in Las Vegas, so I came out here to inspect it. Through ULI, I knew Mark Fine, and I stopped in to meet Mark. This was about '82. I talked to him about what Fred Sproul was trying to do. Then I just stayed in touch with Mark. It ended up there was a ULI "plan analysis session" at one of their meetings and Mark brought Green Valley in as a project for outside experts to give him comments, so I was on that panel. Again, I continued to stay in touch with Mark. Finally, in the spring of '84, I got a call from Bob Campbell, who worked at American Nevada Corporation. He said, "I'm calling for Mark. He says he knows of you and he's interested in having somebody with your kind of background come in and join the firm." So I met Mark at the end of May, when I flew into Denver; I came out to Las Vegas in June. It ended up I accepted a job with him and moved here in August of '84. 3 It was tough for my family. First, my wife wasn't sure she wanted to tell anybody she was moving to Las Vegas at that time. She would say "Nevada": "We're moving to Nevada." So, okay. The same with my dad. My mother had passed away fifteen years before that. But my dad said, "Well, remember if you go to Las Vegas that the Gaughan family out there is from Omaha. If you can't find a job, go see the Gaughans, because if you're from Omaha they'll give you a job." I said, "Okay." He also said, "There's also the Lied family. Lied was an auto dealer in Omaha, and he's out there." I'm not sure he was even still alive, but I know [my dad] mentioned Christina Hixson, his [Lied's] assistant, was running things. So I came out. My kids were a little upset, but we said, "We're going to move, leave Denver, but you can have a swimming pool." And they said, "Oh, okay; done deal; we're ready to go." My daughter was eight and my son was seven at the time we moved out here. We moved out and immediately, of course, moved into Green Valley. Mark had a unit that I could rent until we bought or built a house. We lived in the Village Green, which was an ANC, American Nevada project. We lived there for a little over a year and built a house in what was called—I can remember the street, Pheasant Run—but it was one of the Quails—Quail Summit. I worked with Mark to get a lot of the entitlements that were needed done, and that was particularly what the assignment that he gave me is. He said, "I need to get all these entitlements done with the City of Henderson, and I need good experience on master planning, and site planning, and landscape architecture, and all that." So that was my role for the first couple of years particularly working with the City of Henderson who had at that time probably little idea what a master planned community was. Green Valley had been cited by a number of national organizations as a really fine project 4 and that was before I got there. Mark had done some great foundation work to get recognized and he was involved with Urban Land Institute and got a lot of recognition through that and his participation in there. I started in '84. When I joined our office was right at the corner of Sunset [Road] and Green Valley Parkway. The south end of Green Valley, as far as what was developed, was about a half-mile south of where we were along Highland [Ed. Note: This may have been High View Drive, rather than Highland]. It didn't reach down to Warm Springs. But the Showboat Country Club was down there, and there were some parcels around that that we owned and some that Howard Hughes owned, so there were some apartments being built around the Showboat at the time. Then we had Pardee and U.S. Home that were building subdivisions, and one other home builder, Stanton Construction, all up around Green Valley Parkway and Sunset [Road]. We pushed south from there, and we started to build the Parkway southward. You have to check the timing, but somewhere in that early time frame, Mark, who had been good friends with Collins Brothers, sold a chunk of the original Green Valley holdings off to the Collins Brothers. That was Green Valley South, so they had a lot of the land that was over towards Pecos [Road] and Warm Springs [Road]. We pushed Green Valley Parkway south to try to connect into the land where the Collins Brothers were going to build. That was in about the '87 time frame. [Ed. Note: E.A. "Al" and Martin Collins owned and operated Collins Brothers Development.] Also in that time frame we started what we call the Village of Silver Springs, and within Green Valley it was the first, we'll call it, quote, "village." At the time around the country one of the new concepts in master planning was to create a village, which is a large piece of ground. It happened to be in this case about six hundred acres. But it had a well-defined variety of housing 5 types and it had amenities and open space and the roads were preplanned and so forth. Mark agreed we'd start with the first village, so we started the village in Silver Springs and did all the master planning and got the city to approve it. Then about the same time as we started that we had a piece of ground that was over off Valle Verde south of Highland. Mark felt that he wasn't getting enough high-end housing interest, so he created, the family created Green Valley Homes. We went over into this piece of ground off Valle Verde and created the Village of Fox Ridge, of which we were the owners, the land developers, and the home builder. Now, it wasn't as big as Silver Springs, but we had two The Village of Silver Spring, submitted by Brad Nelson 6 different levels of housing, maybe it was two, at least two different levels of housing. We had patio homes, or zero-lot-line homes, which were a new concept in Las Vegas; had never been done before. Then we had these expensive, single-family homes that Green Valley Homes was going to build to prime the pump for higher-end housing. Along with that we built Fox Ridge Park, which was part of this little village. Then we got the [Clark County] School District to agree to build Estes McDoniel Elementary School; I think is the school that's there. We used another new concept, and that was the school had a relatively small piece of ground, but they had a city park next to it, which was Fox Ridge Park. The City [of Henderson] agreed to accept the park and the District agreed to accept the school. Times were really tough with the School District; they were trying hard to get construction money. I'll say we, but Mark and the Company said we would build the school. I think we said we'd like to just be paid the interest cost to carry it. The School District came back and said, "No, we can't allow you to build it yourselves, because you won't build it the way we want." And we said, "Yes, we will." We had sort of arguments about it. And they said, "No, we'll figure out how to get the money." So they passed what they called the pay-as-you-go plan at the time. They somehow got funds to incrementally build the school, and we built the park next to it at the same time. This is one of the first times in Henderson, and maybe the first time in Las Vegas, that the developer actually built a city park and gave it to the city. That all fit into the Green Valley philosophy, again, which was "this is a family community, and the cornerstones of families are schools and parks and churches." In that same area, the Village of Fox Ridge—on the one corner that was left that we didn't develop, we gave that to the City [of Henderson] for a fire station. So in addition to the school site and the park, there was a fire station site on the corner. So those were, again, the 7 components of building a master planned community and those are the needed elements. Then we built the Village of Silver Springs. We went through a market study, market research to identify what prices of homes people could afford based on the sociodemographic of Las Vegas and Henderson. We have roughly five hundred acres of land to sell for housing. This is in Silver Springs? This is Silver Springs, yes. We identified various parcels by type of house; meaning, is it attached? Is it single family? Is it a zero lot line? Or whatever. And the price point that those homes would sell at, base price. I went out and met with a whole bunch of builders at the time. About that time I think 90 percent of them were local guys, like Hank Chism and some of these guys. They're all gone now, basically, because the big public builders are here. Stanton Jones, Hank Chism. [Robert] Lewis? Lewis. I know he's more than regional, but he really was a local guy; he lived here and ran things. So there were all these guys. I went out and I'd ask them, "How big does your subdivision need to be in order for it to be financially successful?" And they'd say, "Well, I need to have sixty lots," or, "I need a hundred lots." So we went back to those parcels within Silver Springs and identified at what price and what type of house and then how many lots it would yield, so then we could go back to the builders and say, "This is what you want; here's a parcel and we're going to price it to you so that you can afford to build." I think the homes started in the sixties, seventy thousand; some number like that. It was pretty low. There were some higher density, low priced homes in there. So that's how we sold it out in almost record time because the builders had never really seen this kind of thing before. 8 Along the way we also were trying the new concept of having a homeowners association, which just about everybody in the country has one nowadays, but in those days in Las Vegas... Mark and I would talk about it, and he'd say, "That's going to be really tough." I'd say, "Well, it's where things are going, because you cannot do all this kind of stuff." I talked to people like Hank Chism and they said, "Absolutely not; we will not have a homeowners association." I mean, they knew what they were. But they said, "That's going to cost them fifteen dollars a month for our home buyers to be in here." I said, "Well, but let me show you what we're going to do." What we had worked out in Silver Springs is we were going to build the major roads. At that time as you drove around Las Vegas, you'd see a street with a curb, a sidewalk and a wall; there was no landscaping. In Silver Springs we moved the walls back, we built decorative walls, and we put in entry features into the subdivision. Silver Springs actually sits on both sides of Pittman Wash, which was a natural wash that went down to Las Vegas Wash. It came out of the mountains to the south. When we were doing the master planning for the five hundred or so acres and we went to the city, the city looked at the wash and said, "Well, we need that to be concreted so that we can have a floodway." And we said, "No, we're not going to do that." And they said, "Oh, yes, you are because that's what..." I said, "It will cost a phenomenal amount of money to build it that way, and we don't want a concrete channel in the backyards of these houses." And they said, "Well, what are you going to do?" We said, "Well, we're going to leave it natural and we're going to put trails along the side of it." And they said, "Oh, well, okay, maybe we can talk." We went in and built on the north side of the Pittman Wash, which we'll call the first phase of Silver Springs. We then said, "We're going to build a clubhouse here for the neighborhood and we're going to put a swimming pool in because we have some lots that are 9 fairly small in the lower price points. A lot of people may not want to build their own swimming pool, so we're going to build a community pool and they'll be members because they're in the community association, and we'll build two tennis courts." The clubhouse was about three thousand square feet; something like that. It had a room and a little workout area. Just a nice amenity you could do a lot of things with in the clubhouse and the pool. I went to the city to get this approved and I didn't have any problem. But then there was a councilman named Ron Hubel, who came back and he said, "I really like this." He said, "How about if the City takes over this and then you don't have a homeowner's dues?" We said, "Well, we'll think about it. Okay, it's a good deal." So the city in Silver Springs took over the rec center. If you go down there today, the building is three or four times what it was because the city kept adding a new gymnasium and weight and workout rooms. And it didn't cost the homeowners anything. No, it didn't. Effectively it didn't. Well, no, it did because of the cost of construction; they paid for the little three thousand, but they didn't have to pay operating costs after that. Now, could anyone in the City of Henderson use it? Yes, it's public. If you walk down there when you walk along the main road that gets to it, there's the building and then behind it is the wash and you don't see it because it's landscaped and there's a trail. There's also an amphitheater that we built down on the side of the wash. It was the first one I think ever in the city. It's tucked away back down there and the city doesn't use it a lot. They have their little rec program and they'll do little lectures and things out there. You can't see it. It's sort of built into the terrain. There's little concrete edges and you sit on it. There's no big lighting or anything like that, but it's there and it's usable and people love it. You walk down there this time of year, for example, and you hear the birds and the leaves are falling and you 10 don't hear much because you're kind of way down and protected. There's coyotes and things running up and down the wash and birds, and so it's pretty cool. Most people didn't realize it, but we broke the ground with some new ideas. That's really what Green Valley was all about was to try to push the envelope, get new ideas in and bring in other ideas that have worked in other places and try some that maybe didn't work, but we did that. Silver Springs also had—I'll have to pull the map out—two or three church sites, which were generally three acres. We would sell those at our cost to churches. I don't think you'll find a designated church site on any master plan anywhere else in the valley. It was the only one that said, this corner is church, period, or synagogue. Wherever we went in Green Valley there was always a church site. Also in the first phase of Silver Springs, we offered the School District a school site and they said, "Great," and the District said, "We're going to build our first earth-sheltered elementary school here." So they did a prototype, which I don't believe that ever have done again. But they had an earth-sheltered school where I think three sides of it were basically in the earth. In a berm? In a berm, yes. And the roof deck was usable and they had the playgrounds, so everything else was normal. What school is that? It's James I. Gibson Elementary School. They built it and last I heard it was relatively successful, the cost of things as far as energy costs, and I would think it would even be more useful today. Of course, you end up with no windows on certain rooms; maybe that was it. From their 11 operation of education it might not have been a good deal, but the cost of running the building, I think, was a pretty good deal. Actually, in the eighties the School District was building most new elementary schools with no windows. True, they were. So it wouldn't have been that big of a switch. Yes, they're all single-story and, yes, no windows. Was this the first time you were able to do all of these exciting innovative ideas? Me personally? Yes. No, when I was in the consulting firm, we were national as far as projects. So we had done a lot of innovative stuff in different parts of the country. I think that was kind of the thing that maybe Mark wanted; he wanted somebody who had a broader experience to come in and help apply it locally because he was seeing it because he was out and around looking at other projects. We had an office in Alexandria. We had another one in Maryland down in the town of La Plata, Atlanta and then Grand Junction, Colorado. So we had five offices and we were doing large-scale land development for a variety of developers. We weren't the developer. The reason I came out here was I had the chance to be on the development side and not just the consultant side. So you got to see the project through from idea to completion? Exactly. When you're the consultant, of course you don't control a lot. You have this much of the project, but there's really this much that's going to happen. There're people on the front and people on the end that you'll never see those things because your piece is this big and everybody else does the rest. As the developer you get to see all of it, or most of it. 12 The other part of the first phase of Green Valley up around Nate Mack [Elementary School], that's where Quail Ridge and Quail Summit and Quail Terrace; those are the three custom home communities. Those were all started when I got here and had been reasonably successful selling custom lots and that was also one of those things priming the pump. Everybody that built a custom home up until that time probably was in Section 10. Mark was out here with Green Valley and had to sell it out and one of the reasons—you try to sell as many different price points in housing as you possibly can to absorb the land as fast as you can. So Quail was the high-end custom home area. We did that and sold those lots out. I came in and got involved with the lot sales and the land to builders. Then in the second phase of Silver Springs, we had a small site. We had all the housing, but then we had a corner we reserved for a private preschool; it's now Merryhill Academy. I can't remember the original school. It was a firm out of San Diego that came. They're still around. It wasn't one of the big national chains. But they came in and built a little elementary school, private, and then they sold it to somebody else. So that finished the bulk of the housing around Silver Springs and the Wash. [Ed. Note: The school at 2150 Windmill Parkway that is now Merryhill Academy opened in 1994 as the Warren-Walker School.] Then we had a part of Silver Springs that went towards Pecos. We were running out of custom lots in the Quails, so we designated an area, which we called The Fountains, and that was custom lot sales. I think in about '88 or '89 we started development of those. It's unique in that it's custom lots and we determined from the market that price points, we should have roughly a third-acre lot, say, fifteen thousand square feet, and then we should have a half-acre lot that's around twenty thousand square feet. Most every place in town where there was a new custom lot thing going on in, there were curvilinear streets and so forth. I went to the guy who was running 13 our custom lot sales, Earl Huggins, and said, "What could we do that would make this special?" And he said, "Most people like the idea like in old Section 10 where you had square lots and you had a lot of frontage on the street; and therefore, you could build a big long house and your house looked bigger. If you have these pie-shaped lots, you get these little frontages and the house is deep. When you drive by the street and you can't see much of the house." So what we did is every lot in The Fountains was rectangular or square, so we tried to maximize the frontage. It had reasonable depth, so you could get a pool and so forth. Every street is actually a square; it's a court, and there are twenty or thirty homes on each court, and there're eight courts. Because it was The Fountains, I researched from my days in landscape architecture to find famous fountains around the world. So each of those streets is named after a famous fountain somewhere in the world. I eventually bought a house there. The one I bought, I named the street Trafalgar. If you go to Trafalgar Square in London, you'll see a statue with Lord Nelson on it. Of course. That works. Any relation? Well, I don't know for sure, but you never know. There's Boboli, which is a famous Italian garden, and Caserta. There's eight of them. I couldn't tell you all of them, but they're all named after a famous fountain or plaza where there's big fountains. That was our next custom home area, which was in the late eighties, early nineties. That sold out really fast. By then you had a proven product. Yes, and Green Valley was a place on the map. It's got great locational advantages. If you want to live away from the Strip, it's easy to get to the airport. It's ten minutes to the airport, or it was 14 in those days, and quick to the Strip. Then there were enough services around the area. We also in that same time frame built the Green Valley Athletic Club, which was up north of Sunset. Tell us about that, because that was pretty revolutionary for the time as well, wasn't it? Yes. I don't know how we got into it. Mark and I were talking about things that we need, and there was the [Sporting House] Athletic Club down in the old part of town and supposedly all the showgirls and all the athletes and the jocks would hang out there and it was a great place. [Ed. Note: The Sporting House Athletic Club, 3025 S. Industrial Road, closed in December 2001; the topless club, Sapphire, opened at that location one year later.] Now I believe it's a strip club. It probably is. So that had started, and sort of proved that there was a market at least amongst that demographic. Before I left Denver there were a couple [of fitness clubs] that had been built in Denver, so we contacted the architects from Denver that had been doing those clubs, the market research firm in Denver that had been working with those clubs, and one of the big operators; their name was Club Sports. So we went to Denver, met with them, talked about the idea, figured out how to do it, and then we came back and did all the things we needed to do to get it going and got it built. It was ten acres and it was a hundred thousand square feet originally. It opened in '88, maybe, '89; right in there. The first decade or so it was really popular and did really well. I got away from it. I don't know what happened up there other than maybe the demographics were changing in the neighborhood; that the support was dropping. I don't think it ever achieved its potential—it might have—the potential it had from the market studies. But I think some of the problems were that the apartments that were built to the north—which Rich McDonald owned all that land and a lot 15 of those apartments—I'm not sure that people in those were the kind who would support the club, financially. Off to the east, with [McCarran International Airport's] air pattern over the site, it limits what you can do residentially. So I think the trade area, the club market area eroded a little bit and it didn't meet its potential. I thi