This is a very exciting time in the city of Las Vegas. A lot of hard work has gone into revitalizing and changing our downtown core over the last several years. We’ve seen many seeds planted, and some of them have already started to bloom.
The 18b Arts District and the Fremont East Entertainment District are two areas where we have seen extraordinary progress and where a new urban energy is building. That energy can also be felt across the railroad tracks in Symphony Park with the Cleveland Clinic Lou Ruvo Center for Brain Health. Next year, that energy will grow exponentially as some major projects come on line, and I mean major.
One of these projects opening in a single year would be a huge achievement for any city, but as you know, here in Las Vegas, we always go big. That’s why 2012 is shaping up to be the year of downtown Las Vegas.
The Mob Museum, the new City Hall, the Smith Center for the Performing Arts, the new Discovery Children’s Museum and the Neon Museum will all be opening their doors in 2012. These are all game-changing projects that will are really going to push the city and its core toward a new level.
The Mob Museum will offer a historical journey that traces the story of America and organized crime from its origins through to its heyday in Las Vegas and beyond. It tells the stories of mobsters and the law enforcement agents who brought them to justice and is designed by a team of experts who were responsible for the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland, Ohio, and the International Spy Museum in Washington, D.C.
The new City Hall building will make Las Vegans proud. It is being built to Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) standards and will include a state-of-the-art council chamber for public meetings.
The Smith Center for the Performing Arts is a grand building that will host the world’s greatest arts and cultural experiences. It anchors the city’s Symphony Park development that also encompasses the Cleveland Clinic Lou Ruvo Center for Brain Health that is housed within a stunning Frank Gehry-designed structure.
The new Discovery Children’s Museum will be located at the Donald W. Reynolds Discovery Center, adjacent to the Smith Center. The new museum will expand to three stories and 58,000 square feet and will feature nine new interactive exhibitions and galleries.
The Neon Museum is already a hit around the world and it has not even officially opened its doors. The museum celebrates Las Vegas’ native art form of neon and is the home to the Boneyard, where the city’s famous, vintage neon signs are on display.
Having projects of this magnitude opening within a 12-month period is something that the private sector can’t help but notice, and I am confident that we will soon see more major investments in downtown Las Vegas.
One of those private sector businesses that is already ahead of the game is Zappos.com. Zappos plans to move into downtown Las Vegas in 2013, taking up residence in the city’s former City Hall building.
Zappos is already bringing its employees and creativity to our downtown, and that investment and energy will continue to grow once the company’s headquarters is here. You can already see the Zappos’ imprint on much of the new ideas and expansion to Fremont East and the popular First Friday event. They are the first, but they will not be the last, because the year of downtown Las Vegas will act as a magnet for other bright entrepreneurs looking to contribute to the renaissance of our city’s core.
So, while 2012 is going to be an exciting year where we will see some of these dream projects start to come to fruition, it is also really just the beginning of what downtown Las Vegas is going to become.