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How Close Are We To Pulling Off The 'New' Downtown Las Vegas?

Downtown Las Vegas, for the most part, has been Zappo.com CEO  Tony Hsieh’s playground for the at least three years.

To his credit, Tony Hsieh has invested millions of dollars of his own money into restaurants, bars, clubs, and some housing units. That investment has been centered on East Fremont Street.

But a more livable, walkable and workable downtown is still far off. Critics say the city’s core lacks the necessary housing and office space to attract workers and their companies.

Robert Summerfield is the senior planner for the city of Las Vegas. He told KNPR's State of Nevada that as the city moves forward with its updated downtown plan, the focus will not be on large-scale developments like it has been in the past. Instead, the focus will be on smaller-scale developments and reuse of older buildings.

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“How do we get more mixed variety of development that allows for that more vibrant community?” Summerfiled said.

He also said the city codes must keep up with that new focus to make it easier for developers who want to transform a building or construct a smaller three to five story building to do just that.

Commercial real estate broker Dan Palmeri said one of the biggest obstacles to downtown development is still the price of land. 

"The price of land right now is not enabling their projects to pencil,” Palmeri said, “If the project doesn’t pencil, they’ll just move onto the next one.”

Palmeri said he has seen changes to the city's core, but housing in a mid-range price point is still missing. He credits Zappos.com and Hsieh with getting the ball rolling in the area, but said more developers need to get involved.

Summerfield agrees that land prices are a problem, but another is transportation. He said the mobility plan for downtown must connect with the overall planning for the rest of the city. 

City of Las Vegas is holding a series of meetings about improvements to downtown, click here for information or to comment any time, click here

GUEST:

Robert Summerfield, senior planner, Las Vegas planning department 

Dan Palmeri, commercial real estate broker

Copyright 2015 KNPR-FM. To see more, visit http://www.knpr.org/.
Guests

Robert Summerfield, senior planner, Las Vegas planning department 

Dan Palmeri, commercial real estate broker

Copyright 2015 KNPR-FM. To see more, visit http://www.knpr.org/.

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KNPR's State of Nevada