Siegfried & Roy’s Former Home May Be Demolished by Developer – Update
Posted on: August 17, 2022, 02:58h.
Last updated on: August 18, 2022, 03:15h.
UPDATE: The Las Vegas City Council voted 5-1 on Wednesday to approve the demolition of 12 acres of Siegfried & Roy’s former estate. The approval will allow a four-story apartment complex proposed by local developer the Calida Group to be built. Developers will have two years to get a site development plan approved and a permit issued by the city.
Mayor Carolyn Goodman cast the opposing vote, explaining that the estate should be preserved because of its rich cultural history and how much Siegfried & Roy did to promote Las Vegas.
Opposition to the development was also expressed before the vote by homeowners and parents. They expressed concern over its proximity to Ernest May Elementary School, especially considering the need for more parks and recreational areas for area children.
Following the vote, council member Michele Fiore requested that the city council work with city planning staff to either include a Siegfried & Roy Garden in development or name the apartment complex in their honor.
The Las Vegas City Council is scheduled today to consider a plan to demolish one of Sin City’s most iconic residences and replace it with an apartment complex. A local developer seeks approval to build a 334-unit, four-story apartment complex over Little Bavaria, one of two Las Vegas compounds once owned by the late Siegfried & Roy,
The parcel — 12 of Little Bavaria’s 80 acres on the northwest side of town along Rainbow Boulevard off Rancho Drive —includes Siegfried Fischbacher’s and Roy Horn’s former residences. It also includes a guest house where Michael Jackson and others reportedly stayed. Demolition would begin in 2024.
Fischbacher and Horn met while working on a cruise ship in 1957. They first performed in Las Vegas 10 years later as a featured act in the “Folies Bergere” show at the Tropicana. By 1990, their burgeoning popularity had earned them their own $30 million show in their own theater at the Mirage.
To celebrate their success, they built two homes reflecting their outsized personalities: Horn’s Jungle Palace at 1639 Valley Drive, which housed their performing white tigers, and Little Bavaria. Both were sprawling oases of interconnected mansions and water features.
“On 80 acres in the middle of the desert, we’ve built a Bavarian cottage and created a landscape that is a reminder of my Bavarian upbringing,” Fischbacher told Annette Tapert for her 1992 biography, Siegfried & Roy: Mastering the Impossible. “Close the gates, and you’re in Southern Germany!”
The two men continued residing on their compounds following the 2003 accident that ended their performing career: Horn’s near-fatal maiming by one of their white tigers on stage. Fischbacher had all the structures and walkways in Little Bavaria retrofitted to accommodate the difficulty Horn had getting around afterward.
Fischbacher died in January 2021 at age 81 after battling pancreatic cancer. This was less than a year after Horn’s death at age 75 of complications from COVID-19 in May 2020. Personal items belonging to the two men were auctioned off in June in Los Angeles. Though the identity of Little Bavaria’s inheritor remains unknown, they have apparently agreed to sell it.
“We feel proud that we’re essentially redeveloping a property that has so much legacy and affiliation with the broader Las Vegas market as a whole,” Josh Nelson, chief investment officer for the Calida Group, recently told the Las Vegas Review-Journal.
Siegfried: ‘No Graceland For Us’
As improper as it may seem to replace such a unique wonderland with such a commonplace structure, it does not seem to run contrary to the former owners’ wishes.
Unlike the Las Vegas homes of Wayne Newton and Liberace, Fischbacher and Horn’s homes were never opened to the public while they were alive, and there were no plans to do so after their deaths.
“Absolutely not,” Siegfried pooh-poohed the idea to the Las Vegas Sun back in 2015. “This is our private — no, no, no. It’s our thing.”
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