Editor’s note: This story has been revised from its original version.
The city of North Las Vegas hasn’t had much luck finding a full-time tenant to move into its mothballed City Hall and Detention Center facilities.
Lately, it’s had a much easier time renting those long-abandoned municipal spaces by the hour, most recently to Screen Gems Pictures, producer of “Think Like a Man Too,” the sequel to comedian Martin Lawrence’s $99 million-grossing 2012 comedy “Think Like a Man.”
Nevada State Film office director Charles Geocaris said this isn’t the first time North Las Vegas looks set for a Hollywood cameo.
Geocaris said films such as “Pay It Forward,” starring Kevin Spacey, and Martin Scorsese’s Oscar-nominated 1995 drama “Casino” count as two big-name movies to film in the city.
He’s optimistic there will be more.
“We love the fact that they’re film-friendly,” he said of city officials. “Good cooperation and knowing how to cut through the red tape is how the word kind of spreads that your city is a good place to shoot.
“We hope there will be more productions to send their way.”
It has been more than a year since North Las Vegas City Council members shuttered two of three dormitories at the city Detention Center and nearly twice as long since employees hauled cubicles from the city’s decades-old headquarters on Civic Center Drive to a new $130 million nerve center across the street.
Skip Grey, part of the city’s legislative lobbying team, said that’s part of the reason city officials didn’t skip a beat when approached about shooting parts of “Think Like A Man Too” at the jail and City Hall early last month.
Grey said the city manager’s office signed off on the film shoot contract within a month of first hearing from the filmmakers, who took less than a week to shoot two scenes in abandoned office space and detention cells at the city’s old government center.
City officials netted $30,000 for their trouble, a modest sum by movie studio standards but one administrative services director Al Loyola said reflects the city’s appropriately modest aims.
“We didn’t price this to make a profit,” Loyola said. “Government’s not in the business of competing with the private sector, so we charged them for the use of the space and any labor provided, and they had to pay for security.”
City spokeswoman Juliet Casey agreed that the city doesn’t view last month’s movie shoot as a future revenue generator but said the city will continue to field film permit inquiries.
Meanwhile, plans to enlist a more permanent tenant for the abandoned municipal landmarks are already underway.
Mayor Pro Tempore Anita Wood confirmed that the city is in early talks to transform space at the city jail into a temporary animal shelter for Lied Animal Shelter partners at the Animal Foundation.
She said city officials also have looked into leasing some space at the new City Hall to the Las Vegas Chamber of Commerce.
Wood also would like to see the North Las Vegas Police Department settle into space across one or both cobwebbed locations.
That could mean razing the old City Hall and moving the city’s main library, on Civic Center Drive, though she doubts that would break too many hearts.
“We need a new police station desperately,” Wood said, pointing to a corner block of old city buildings at Civic Center Drive. “I’d like to make this more of a judicial corner. You have the municipal court there and C Dorm, the part of the jail that’s still in decent shape, so it just makes sense.
“Truthfully, all we need is a new spot for the library. There’s that vacant land between (City Hall) and the Silver Nugget that I’ve always thought would be good for it.”
Contact Centennial and North Las Vegas View reporter James DeHaven at firstname.lastname@example.org or 702-477-3839.