People who need something to take the edge off while they pull baby-sitting duty are in luck. A downtown retail and restaurant center with a kids’ playground in the center will be able to offer booze as well.
On Wednesday the Las Vegas City Council voted 5-2 in favor of an ordinance that will allow customers to stroll around the Container Park project with alcoholic beverages in hand.
Council members Ricki Barlow and Lois Tarkanian voted against the bill.
The ordinance sets the definition for an “outdoor entertainment complex” in the downtown area that will have restaurants, bars, retail and common space with a playground.
“Now if you have a tavern limited (license) or restaurant with alcohol you would have (a) designated area (for drinking),” business licensing manager Karen Duddlesten said, describing how the ordinance would apply at Container Park. “What this does is allow those fences not to be there and for people to take alcoholic beverages and walk in that area.”
The project, which is already under construction at Fremont and Seventh streets, is being built using large, steel cubes that resemble shipping containers for structures.
It’s highlighted by a giant flame-spewing sculpture of a praying mantis that was originally built for use at the Burning Man festival in Northern Nevada’s Black Rock desert.
The project is funded through the Downtown Project, a privately supported urban renewal project backed by Zappos CEO Tony Hsieh.
Proponents say Container Park is likely to be a major draw for a part of downtown that for many years struggled to attract anything besides crime, homelessness and despair.
No one spoke on behalf of the project during Wednesday’s council meeting, but Downtown Project lobbyist Jennifer Roberts was in the audience. Todd Kessler, an attorney for RGG, Downtown Project’s real estate partner, chatted at length with Barlow before the vote.
Barlow didn’t speak but previously said the city shouldn’t be enabling attractions for children in an area it created as a bar district in order to attract development.
Tarkanian said the ordinance runs counter to the desire of many to reduce excessive drinking and alcohol-related problems downtown, especially underage drinking.
“I just know we are taking a big gamble on this,” Tarkanian said.
Duddlesten said the developers would need to come back to the council for more approvals for the project and the individual businesses inside it seeking to serve alcohol, which would give the council a chance to add conditions for the owners to follow.
Contact reporter Benjamin Spillman at email@example.com or 702-383-0285.