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Las Vegas picks design firm for civic plaza

The next big attraction in downtown Las Vegas may be an urban central park across from City Hall, expected to begin construction next year.

City officials on Wednesday picked the civic plaza’s design firm from three finalists, landing on LGA Architecture and its proposed desert botanical-inspired campus. It is a major step forward on a project that could hover in the $50 million range.

“This is a huge deal for downtown,” Councilman Stavros Anthony said.

City Manager Jorge Cervantes, who recommended LGA, said the plaza could break ground in 12 to 14 months and will be completed in two to three phases. A contract for the design will come first, followed by the roughly year-long design process.

“Today the decision that is before this council is who’s going to be our partner in solidifying this vision that our community wants to see materialize,” said Councilwoman Olivia Diaz, who represents Ward 3 where the plaza is planned.

As such, Diaz noted that the renderings submitted by LGA may not be final.

‘Places that give back’

Last month, LGA presented its Mojave Desert-inspired downtown catalyst to the council, highlighting it as an eco-friendly project that promotes social justice and education.

“We understand how to create public places and public places are places that give back,” LGA principal Craig Galati said at the time. “We also wanted to make sure we designed it in an iconic way but not in a way that detracts from the beauty of City Hall.”

Ultimately city officials, who will seek a nonprofit to manage events at the park, wanted to ensure that the park would be a source of constant activity. LGA partnered with OJB Landscape Architecture, which counts Klyde Warren Park in downtown Dallas as one of its projects, a public-private park popular for community, cultural arts and events.

The push for a Las Vegas civic plaza, which will include two buildings, comes as the city seeks to increase green space downtown to encourage residential development.

The city approved selling its former development services center at 333 N. Rancho Drive on Wednesday for $17.5 million to businessman Don Ahern’s DFA, LLC — new revenue that is expected to benefit the plaza project.

LGA was chosen over a stylish light and video-centric attraction by Steelman Partners LLP and a “civic thread” with urban swings and iconic sculpture by KGA Architecture.

Contact Shea Johnson at sjohnson@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-0272. Follow @Shea_LVRJ on Twitter.

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