All is not gloom and doom when it comes to Las Vegas art funding in our recession. The Smith Center for the Performing Arts could break ground in as little as two months, thanks to the City of Las Vegas for being in the midst of finalizing a financing package that supports the construction and takes into account the impact of the economic downturn.
The total $485 million center is being financed by many seed revenue sources including $105 million in Las Vegas bonds that are being backed by a 2 percent tax on rental cars, which are planned to be sold by the end of this month; $85 million in bonds backed by revenues from the Las Vegas Redevelopment Agency (not operating funds); and $150 million or more from the private Donald W. Reynolds Foundation.
The City of Las Vegas total financial obligation for the center funding is $170 million.
The Smith Center for the Performing Arts will be the anchor tenant of the 61-acre Union Park development in downtown Las Vegas that is touted to be the “new Las Vegas,” with the center containing a 2,050-seat main theater as well as smaller performance spaces and classrooms, a park and outdoor theater. It will be the home of the Las Vegas Philharmonic and the Nevada Ballet.
Construction costs make up $245 million of the total $485 million estimated cost, with the rest of the funding pegged for an operation endowment and furniture, fixtures and equipment.
Construction is expected to generate 1,000 Las Vegas jobs over two years.
“We are stimulating the economy,” said Las Vegas Mayor Oscar Goodman. “We’re stimulating our intellect in the community.”