LAS VEGAS - Downtown Las Vegas continues to celebrate its rebirth with more than $83.5 million in public and private development completed last year and another $263 million of construction projects currently underway.
In 2013, downtown Las Vegas – which does not include the famous Las Vegas Strip and is located just a few miles north – welcomed numerous new businesses and entrepreneurs that created nearly 1,500 permanent jobs. Downtown Las Vegas has been experiencing unprecedented redevelopment in recent years and marked 2012 with the completion of at least $754 million in public and private projects during a time period that came to be known as the "Year of Downtown."
A minimum of an additional $457 million in new development is on tap to be completed in downtown Las Vegas in 2014, according to the city of Las Vegas Economic and Urban Development Department.
"The growth and redevelopment of downtown Las Vegas is strong today," declared Las Vegas Mayor Carolyn G. Goodman. "The area is attracting national firms, startup companies and 'mom and pops,'" said Goodman of the historical area where hotels such as El Cortez and the Golden Nugget helped Las Vegas get its start as a gaming and entertainment destination. "It's a renaissance locals haven't seen or experienced in decades. Even just a few years ago, many Southern Nevadans wouldn't have dreamt of coming downtown to go to dinner, the theatre or meet friends. Today, there is growing preference amongst locals for downtown's authentic vibe and easy walkability, which they find more welcoming than the Strip just a few miles to the south."
Most recently, the former Lady Luck Hotel & Casino reopened in October 2013 as the Downtown Grand Las Vegas Hotel & Casino after completing a $100-plus million renovation. The new Downtown Grand created hundreds of jobs via the property's 634 guest rooms and a bevy of new restaurants and bars that further diversify downtown's dining scene.
In fact, downtown Las Vegas has become a destination for all types of cuisine and nightlife with the 2013 openings of several new venues, especially in the rapidly developing Fremont East Entertainment District. This eclectic 6-block, pedestrian friendly community is in the heart of more than 28 acres assembled by Zappos.com CEO Tony Hsieh, who founded the Downtown Project to invest and assist small businesses in urban Las Vegas. As a whole, the Downtown Project has helped 92 businesses and generated more than 1,100 construction jobs, as well as 687 permanent jobs in 2013.
A popular destination in the Fremont East Entertainment District is the new Downtown Container Park. This retail and dining venue developed by the Downtown Project is comprised entirely of repurposed shipping containers housing unique restaurants, boutiques and galleries. It has welcomed approximately 250,000 visitors since it opened in late November 2013. Nearby, another Downtown Project development called Inspire Theater opened on the western edge of the Fremont East Entertainment District, offering a 150-plus seat auditorium, new bar concepts and downtown's only global newsstand/cafe.
Thanks to increased development, downtown Las Vegas has welcomed hundreds of new professionals in the past year, including more than 1,500 employees of Zappos, which moved late last year into its new headquarters, the former city hall. In addition, growth in various industries, including technology, health care, law and the arts, has spurred an influx of new residents who are looking to work, live and play downtown.
"The continued redevelopment progress is truly transforming downtown Las Vegas into the valley's center of commerce, culture and community," added Terry Murphy, president of the Downtown Las Vegas Alliance (DLVA), a nonprofit consortium of more than 60 downtown businesses working to promote the area.