New Plans For Downtown's Symphony Park
Symphony Park is closer to getting its first tax paying company.
Last month, the Molasky Group of Companies announced plans to build two office buildings and an 800-space parking garage on the 61 acres adjacent to the Smith Center for the Performing Arts.
The project would sit on six acres of land across the street from the Molasky Corporate Center.
Bill Arent is the director of economic and urban development with the city of Las Vegas. He told KNPR's State of Nevada that the company is hoping to win a bid to have the state Department of Business and Industry take occupancy in one of the buildings.
However, Arent said even if the Molasky group doesn't win the bid a lot of other companies have expressed interest in relocating to the area.
“Regardless, there is a lot of pent up demand for interest in being downtown both from the corporate sector from new businesses, existing businesses in the market that want to be closer to downtown and their customers,” he said.
Arent said besides businesses looking to move downtown people are looking to live downtown, but they need quality options.
“The housing has always been a piece of the long-term vision of Symphony Park,” he said.
However, like most urban cores, Las Vegas's downtown has a limited amount of space on its city blocks, which are just under three acres. Arent believes the 61 acres of land in Symphony Park actually provides a solution to that challenge.
“Because Symphony Park is really a blank canvas… we can create the blocks starting from scratch," Arent said, "And so we can create city blocks that are a little bit bigger make it a little bit more conducive to getting new housing downtown.”
He said there is a lot of interest from people wanting to move downtown and the goal is to get 1,000 housing units in the area.
An urban core can have a bit of a chicken-or-egg problem when it comes to amenities or residents, which comes first?
Arent said the city is working on both at the same time. It wants to bring amenities like a grocery store at the same time it lures housing developers.
He believes the city needs to follow the example set by San Diego. He said the California city "primed the pump" for re-development of its downtown core by using public money to invest in private businesses
“We have to make the strategic investments to make sure we have all the amenities to make it a compelling case for people wanting to live downtown and work downtown,” Arent said.
A step in that direction could happen late this summer when the Molasky Group of Companies breaks ground on it's first office building, if all the pieces come together the way the city and the developer hopes.
Bill Arent, director of economic and urban development, city of Las Vegas