“I’ve had the opportunity to work with every UNLV President since the mid-1970s, each one taking the school to another level,” he says. “I was around when it was transitioning from a kind of community college to a university...when it was more about athletics than academics... It’s astounding how UNLV has grown since that time, becoming one of the nation’s top public research universities.” (In December UNLV was elevated to R1 ”very high research activity” status by the Carnegie Classification of Institutions of Higher Education.)
The opening of the UNLV School of Medicine, Fine says, is an example of value added to UNLV. He says producing physicians centering on research driven medicine is something that a great university does. “It is major value added,” he says. “The more brain power we have in the community, the more the community thrives...More doctors are going to live here, move here.”
In addition to donating scholarship money to the medical school, Fine has provided feedback to Dr. Atkinson on school design and planning. The practices of several UNLV physicians are now headquartered in a building Fine designed at 1707 West Charleston Blvd.
“Dr. Atkinson has the medical school going in the right direction,” Fine says.
Now in his 70s, Fine was only 27 when his former father-in-law, Hank Greenspun, the owner of the Las Vegas Sun, tapped him to develop thousands of acres of land he had purchased south of McCarran Airport in Henderson.
Born in Shaker Heights, Ohio, a stylish suburb of Cleveland, he graduated from the University of Arizona with a degree in real estate administration. He moved to New York City, working on Wall Street in real estate finance, prior to moving to Las Vegas in 1973 to work with Hank Greenspun on Green Valley.
He went around the country to see what the few master planned communities offered. He also remembered the sense of community Shaker Heights had offered with its parks, libraries and public arts.
Southern Nevadans, he says, were largely unaware of what a master planned community could be. Making the project even more difficult, he says, was the fact that back then, Henderson “didn’t have much of a reputation for housing...it was a tough, slow process...but we listened to people and by the 80s, it really got moving, was the fastest growing master planned community in the country. Henderson became a place people wanted to live.”
In 1990, after seeing Fine’s success with Green Valley, the Howard Hughes Corporation hired him to develop Summerlin. “We’d already shown the value of a master planned community and there was demand for it on the west side.”
By 1994 Green Valley and Summerlin were the two fastest growing master planned communities in the country.
The success of those communities led to him serving as a development advisor to the master planned communities of Queensridge North and South, Mountain’s Edge and Inspirada. With his son Jeffrey, Fine stared Fine Properties in 2005, developing projects that include the 400,000 square foot Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Headquarters.
While he has thoroughly enjoyed developing approximately 2 million square feet of commercial and retail projects over his career -- the Nevada Business Journal named Fine one of Nevada’s Top 50 Leaders -- he frequently brings up his relationship with UNLV without prompting.
“The future of UNLV is great,” says Fine, who has traveled to Carson City to meet with legislators on the university’s behalf. “The UNLV School of Medicine has added much more value to a university we can all be proud of.”