It’s been an especially rough and tumble time for new Las Vegas art and culture developments. A major boost, though, came on May 6, when the Las Vegas City Council approved the necessary agreements and funding for the long awaited $245 million Smith Center for the Performing Arts.
Dreams, with planning, apparently do come true. The groundbreaking that has been 15 years in the making has been tentatively scheduled for May 26. The construction on the concert hall and theatre building is expected to be complete by early 2012.
The Smith Center is to be the anchor facility of the new Las Vegas crown jewel- Union Park, a 61-acre development in downtown Las Vegas on what used to be a Union Pacific railroad yard. Plans for the center include a 2,050-seat multipurpose main hall; an education building that will house a 300-seat cabaret theatre; and a 200-seat flexible studio theater for rehearsals, children’s theater and community events.
Projected to create 1,000 new construction jobs, the completed center in Las Vegas will provide a permanent home to the Nevada Ballet Theatre and the Las Vegas Philharmonic.
Project construction funding is coming from multiple sources: $105 million from city bonds backed by a tax on rental cars; $68 million in bond money from Las Vegas’ redevelopment agency; and $75 million for the Donald W. Reynolds Foundation, which is also providing money for an operating endowment.
No concern was voiced in the Las Vegas City Council meeting about taking on such a large project in the midst of a recession, although the economic slump was mentioned.
(Please see related Dec. 30, Jan. 14, March 13, and March 20 Las Vegas Backstage Access articles.)