When developer J Dapper builds a dining and retail plaza, he tends to personalize it. He’s a huge architecture buff — has a library of books on the subject — so he favors builds that catch the eye, which is why he’s remodeling downtown Las Vegas’ Huntridge Center to accentuate its mid-century flourishes, right down to commissioning the first Googie-style neon sign this city’s seen in decades. He has two young children, so he tries to make his projects family-friendly. And he has a house in Southern California, so he favors the up-to-the-second hip and modern.
But in creating The Bend — a dining, entertainment and shopping plaza in southwest Las Vegas, on West Sunset Road across the street from Ikea — Dapper listened to a different authority: his appetite.
“I basically went through all my food categories and said, ‘What places would I like to see here?’” Dapper says. “I really want to focus on great local eateries. I want to promote all the places people just love to go.”
And that list of places is a best-of that staggers the mind, one that could give both nearby Downtown Summerlin and downtown Las Vegas a run for their money. Dapper is currently in negotiations with Container Park wine bar Bin 702, plant-based eatery Vegenation, Arts District coffee roaster Vesta, healthy comfort food stop Skinny Fats, Henderson’s Great Greek Mediterranean Grill, the wildly popular Pizza Rock and more he can’t yet mention.
The Bend will present a collection of valley firsts. Aces & Ales wants to do a full brewery — an evolution for the craft beer bar chain. Fifth Avenue Restaurant group might open a drive-thru version of the Johnny Rockets burger franchise. And in a stunning coup, The Bend could well see the coming of Lotus of Siam to the west side, with a brand-new space for the acclaimed Thai restaurant.
“I’m heavily skewed to the food and beverage side of things,” Dapper says. “People are spending more time on experiences — going out to eat with their friends.”
And The Bend’s anchor tenant will provide a compelling reason for valley residents to travel there for lunch or dinner: An approximately 73,000 square-foot, 13-screen Galaxy Theaters location. Dapper says that he plans to build a flagship location for the luxury theater chain.
“Both their current locations [in North Las Vegas and Henderson] started out as traditional theaters, but were retrofitted to luxury,” Dapper says. “They’re still very nice, but building from the ground up and retrofitting look completely different.” And again, this is kinda close to home for Dapper: “My wife won’t even go to a regular movie theater.”
The project, which is currently working its way through its entitlements phase and has yet to announce an opening date, was designed by local architecture firm Bunnyfish Studios and has a sleek, playfully postmodern look that both looks ahead while acknowledging Vegas’ midcentury beginnings.
Again, we can thank Dapper’s home library for that. “I kinda geek out on architecture,” he says. Soon, we’ll be able to geek out on The Bend, over the course of a first-class dinner and movie night.