As the city of Las Vegas developed its master plan, residents complained at public meetings about a lack of open space downtown.
“People want clean, family friendly environments to socialize and play,” the city’s website says, summarizing the community feedback.
There are about 38 acres of public space in downtown Las Vegas, about 1.3% of the area, which is home to 22,000 people.
“If we want to continue to encourage residential development downtown, we need to provide those types of amenities,” Las Vegas City Manager Jorge Cervantes said.
Last week, the Las Vegas City Council listened to presentations from three architecture firms that bid to design a new downtown civic center building and plaza on Main Street, between Bonneville and Clark avenues and across from City Hall.
The city owns the land, which is being used as a temporary parking lot.
“It’s centrally located where everything is occurring — to the north of us, the Fremont Entertainment District, to the south of us, the Arts District,” Cervantes said.
Part of the project includes constructing a new civic building to house city departments. Most department directors have offices at City Hall, 495 S. Main St., but other staff and employees have offices at separate locations.
About half of the city’s Human Resources Department is in an old library building at 833 Las Vegas Blvd. Some Parks and Recreation Department staffers have offices at the Dula Gym at 441 East Bonanza Road.
“The intent is to bring those folks back so we can have it all centralized. Part of the scope is to create a new building that would house those folks to more capacity,” Cervantes said.
Construction could break ground in about a year with an estimated budget of $47 million to $50 million.
The City Council will vote on a design proposal July 21, which leaves about a month for community feedback. People can watch design presentations and vote for their favorite on the city's website.
One of the firms that presented a design proposal, Steelman Partners, envisioned a space for concerts and events.
“The entertainment capital of the world deserved more than a traditional civic plaza,” Paul Steelman said. “We want to make this another point on the tourist map.”