Planning and design is underway for revitalizing a critical corridor of downtown North Las Vegas.
Currently, the area around Lake Mead Boulevard and N 5th Street is surrounded by quiet, modest commercial development, mostly empty parking lots and small warehouse-style buildings. In the near future, those could be replaced by a metropolitan mix of row houses and apartments alongside trendy small business, restaurants, shops and more.
All within walking distance to a public library, a local historical museum and a modern transit station. Eventually, community events such as festivals, farmers’ markets and street fairs could become the norm. The area known as Lake Mead Village West will be a draw to the surrounding community, as opposed to the unremarkable flatness that dominates now.
Mayor John Lee along with city staff can make this vision happen given enough time, resources and the right conditions.
Revitalization Takes Root
When Lake Mead Village West springs to life, the city hopes it will be just the beginning of a development boom in the area. The corridor, which is bordered by I-15, Las Vegas Boulevard, Judson Avenue and Tonopah, will be the anchor for future commercial and residential development to build on.
According to consulting firm Bunnyfish, “downtown” North Las Vegas looks indistinguishable from the sparse desert development surrounding it. The firm was hired by the city to help make a more cohesive transition between the two areas as they draft architectural designs for Lake Mead Village West.
Bunnyfish partner Craig Palacios notes that many people disembarking from I-15 do not even realize that they are in downtown North Las Vegas compared to any other given area on the outskirts of Las Vegas proper. Landmarks, signs and a singular but diverse architectural scheme can help lend a “better sense of place” to the new downtown core, he asserts.
As this identity solidifies, city officials hope that businesses and residential projects will want to become a part of it. Right now, that remains a distant but achievable goal in the minds of those who work in city hall.
“I am so tired of hearing people say, ‘We don’t want to go to that part of North Las Vegas,’” lamented City Councilwoman Anita Wood during a recent workshop, “so we need that type of draw.”
Baby Steps Towards a Bigger Leap
The city is focusing on incremental improvements in the downtown area that can benefit projects that follow. Road improvements and green space will take the place of barren parking lots.
A downtown advisory board will be assembled while a construction schedule is being developed. The city and Mayor John Lee intend to purchase much of the available property necessary to streamline the approval process for commercial development while crafting incentives that can draw investors.
“We have some really good bones,” Gina Gavin, director of North Las Vegas’ Economic and Business Development, summed up while addressing the North Las Vegas City Council during a redevelopment meeting. “We just have to find a way to take those bones and give them some strength.”