Las Vegas’ New City Hall Project Continues to Chug Along

Project plans for a new Las Vegas City Hall appear to be moving forward, despite higher than expected interest rates.  To provide a mechanism for more effective interest rates, Las Vegas is seriously looking now at using “Build America” bonds to finance their new city hall. 

By using these bonds to finance the project it will cost Las Vegas as much as $267 million, but save the city  $82 million over 30 years, based on current estimates of competitive funding methods. 

Las Vegas has already awarded a $107,800 engineering contract to design a 650-space parking garage adjacent to the proposed six-story, 303,000-sq-ft building City Hall complex at First Street and Clark Avenue.  

The complex, if and when it is finished, is planned to have a 250,000-sq-ft of office space, a 500-seat city council chamber and a public exhibition space, as well as an outdoor plaza with solar panel trees that serve as shade structures. 

Las Vegas Mayor Oscar Goodman said recently that prospects for the project were bleak because the interest rates on one possible funding mechanism were as much as 8 percent too high. 

But Goodman says the Build America bonds are improving the viability of the project. 

The Build America bond program is part of President Barack Obama’s stimulus package which lets state and local governments issue taxable bonds for capital projects and get a direct federal subsidy payment from the Treasury Department for a portion of their borrowing costs. 

The Las Vegas City Council will be meeting today to further discuss the issue, but the final vote on whether to continue to move forward on the city hall plan won’t occur until November or December.

If approved, the Las Vegas City Hall project is expected to finish by mid-2011– and create 13,000 new jobs.

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