New retail, education options may signal dawn of revival for downtown North Las Vegas

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Wade Vandervort

A new Ross store, slated to open later this month in a revamped shopping center, is seen in the final stages of construction, Wednesday, Feb. 28, 2018. This new building is among many involved in efforts by city officials to revitalize downtown North Las Vegas.

Mon, Mar 5, 2018 (2 a.m.)

North Las Vegas Councilman Isaac Barron used to play as a child in the dirt lot where Maya Cinema is building its 14-theater complex near Las Vegas Boulevard North and Civic Center Drive. That’s just the beginning of redevelopment, he hopes.

Barron graduated from Rancho High School, where he now teaches government, and when the school bell rings, his day is far from over. Barron is coordinating with Councilwoman Pamela Goynes-Brown, Economic Development Director Gina Gavan and community members with hopes of revitalizing downtown.

They look at downtown Las Vegas, which over the past decade has added shopping, dining, entertainment and more as part of a change that’s attracted new business and visitors, and imagine the possibility for their town.

The North Las Vegas project is being assisted by a $1.2 million community development block grant from U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development designed to foster community input and develop public-private relationships to drive economics.

For both Barron and Goynes-Brown, both native residents, this project is personal. They recognized that several important services were in need of repair or were missing in their wards, including access to commercial retail, entertainment, affordable housing, public parks and quality education.

“What it boils down to is bolstering up what we have, attracting what we don’t have — whether it’s medical, whether it’s new educational opportunities,” Barron said. “These are plans we’ve been working on, that we’ve been trying to execute for a long time. For us, it’s a big deal to see this come to fruition.”

Here’s what North Las Vegas is eyeing for its downtown:

Entertainment, restaurants and shopping

Barron has heard the narrative plenty of times:

“There used to be a not-so-funny joke, you can’t get a suit in North Las Vegas and even if you could buy it they’d be no place to wear it, and it’s absolutely true,” Barron said. “So what we’re trying to do us is bring a whole new wave of investment to where you will be able to buy a suit in North Las Vegas and there will be a nice place for you to wear it.”

Maya Theater: The 14-theater cinema complex is located across city hall and is anticipated to open this December. In addition to the cinema, the complex will also develop retail and commercial space for shops, restaurants and more.

Dutch Bros: The cult coffee chain will open its second location in Southern Nevada across from city hall and adjacent to the new theater. The coffee shop gutted and overhauled an old taco shop that stood there.

Ross Dress for Less: A Ross store opens later this month in a commercial retail space near the Silver Nugget, which also has undergone recent renovations. While other cities may not see this as big, Barron says this is the first step in getting people to “buy a suit” in North Las Vegas.

Education

The educational development will include renovations to an older library, converting a historic school into a community flex space and developing a larger community park that will have new trailheads connecting to the city’s older ones, Gavan said. The area is near Lake Mead and Las Vegas boulevards.

The Washington Continuation School: This building will be renovated into a community flex space that can hold art exhibits, community meetings and more.

The North Las Vegas Library: The city council just released the first architectural drafts of the library renovations that will be the focal point of the Milestone Park. The second level of the new library is planned to be dedicated to job training.

Charter Schools: Three new charter schools will open in North Las Vegas next fall. One is pegged for downtown.

Expertise Beauty: The second location of an expanding local North Las Vegas cosmetology school will help diversify the economy.

Housing

The area is targeted for a pair of senior housing complexes.

Rose Gardens: A new senior living complex is being built across from the older Rose Gardens. The new complex will have the same number of apartments for the same rent, but will be larger and more energy efficient. It will feature free internet, a wellness center and modern amenities. Originally built in the 1970s, the older complex was not energy efficient.

Buena Vista Springs: Buena Vista Springs is an affordable senior living home dedicated to the continuation of care for older residents. Unlike Rose Gardens, Buena Vista includes housing for independent living to assisted living care.

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