After months of wrangling, Las Vegas is going back to the drawing board in an effort to allow building wrap advertising in certain areas downtown.
The wraps are common on the Strip, in unincorporated Clark County, but currently aren't allowed in the city of Las Vegas.
A proposal to make them legal was recently spiked by the Las Vegas City Council because interested parties couldn't agree on what kinds of advertising to allow.
"Everybody that I've spoken to ...they're not against wrapping buildings," said Councilman Stavros Anthony, who with Councilman Ricki Barlow has presided over much of the discussion so far. "They're concerned about any future content that may embarrass the city of Las Vegas or embarrass the downtown area.
"What it comes down to is allowing these properties to market their company but not allowing them to become a giant billboard."
And yes, there is a difference, at least in the parlance of city codes.
The debate is over on-premises versus off-premises signage. On-premises signage advertises something that's available at the property -- a show, for example, or a buffet. Off-premises signage could advertise anything, whether it's available on-site or not. On the Strip, only on-premises advertising is allowed, said county spokesman Dan Kulin.
The city's proposal would have allowed both kinds within the Downtown Centennial Plan Overlay District, as long as the building is occupied with a commercial use, is at least 10 stories and has a minimum of 200,000 square feet.
The district includes an area bounded by Sahara Avenue, Las Vegas Boulevard, U.S. Highway 95, the downtown railroad tracks and Symphony Park and blocks surrounding Fremont Street all the way to Eastern Avenue.
Anthony and Barlow opposed allowing both kinds of signage. So did Russell Rowe, an attorney representing Boyd Gaming, despite the fact that building wrap advertising could be lucrative for downtown properties.
"Building wraps are typically used with events going on in a particular area," Rowe said during one of the hearings on the ordinance. "The building wrap and the content and the advertising promotes the overall economic activity in that area."
By allowing off-premises signage, he said, the city would be giving away too much control, since free speech concerns would likely trump any regulatory effort to rein in a specific ad.
Other parties wanted to allow both kinds of advertising, including billboard company Clear Channel Outdoor and the Resort Gaming Group, which is redeveloping the Lady Luck casino and bringing Zappos' corporate headquarters downtown.
Earlier this month, an agreement was reached to let the ordinance die and "get everybody back on the table," said Anthony.
"Any way a property downtown can market their company and what happens within their organization in a way that attracts customers, it's good for them. The other side is, though, do you want to have it wide open?"
Contact reporter Alan Choate at firstname.lastname@example.org or 702-229-6435.