Down to Business – April 2015

Down to Business – April 2015


The city of Las Vegas is currently coordinating several major initiatives to create a strategic vision for the City’s future. Collectively, these projects make up what is called City by Design. Citizens will soon be able to access a new website,, to get current information on these large, multi-year plans and projects happening in Las Vegas. 

The main emphasis of City by Design includes:

  • Citywide Strategic Plan
  • Downtown Master Plan
  • Las Vegas Medical District Master Plan
  • Cashman Center Redevelopment
  • Strong Cities Strong Communities (SC2) Competition


Citywide Strategic Plan
The Las Vegas City Council held two strategic planning workshops in 2014 to establish new priorities for the city to focus on, those priorities include:

  • Economic Diversification
  • Public Safety-Homelessness
  • Transportation-Mobility
  • Education

Advisory committees were formed around each of the four priorities to further develop strategies for each. The recommendations from each of the four committees will result in an implementation plan that will be presented to the Las Vegas City Council for approval during the last quarter (calendar) of 2015. Progress on each of these plans will be updated and maintained on the City by Design website as they are carried out.

Downtown Master Plan
The city of Las Vegas is in the early stages of a 15-month process to update the current Downtown Master Plan. This is a comprehensive master-planning process examining what the future of downtown Las Vegas could be.  Outreach is a critical piece of this planning effort, therefore, the plan will include recommendations from the community and downtown stakeholders.  The project, which will help guide future downtown development, includes an emphasis on these major areas:

  • A significant transportation study that looks at the connection between land use and mobility needs (working with the Regional Transportation Commission).
  • A strong economic analysis.
  • A study to create the framework for forming a Business Improvement District (BID) for all or part(s) of the planning area (working with the Downtown Las Vegas Alliance).

In late 2014, the city of Las Vegas engaged RTKL, a leading worldwide architecture and planning firm that has successfully delivered award-winning master plans for cities and towns across the country.  For this high-profile project, RTKL has assembled a team of national and local experts to develop a master plan for downtown Las Vegas that will sustainably accommodate current and future growth, as well as promote continued prosperity for the city and region.

Las Vegas Medical District Master Plan
In 2013 the city convened an advisory council of stakeholders within the Las Vegas Medical District (LVMD) for the purposes of developing plans and strategies for the expansion of the medical district. The initiative addresses increasing the quality of healthcare for city residents as well as creating substantial economic diversification and large numbers of high paying healthcare industry jobs. One of the early action plan efforts of the Las Vegas Medical District Advisory Council is to complete a master facilities plan for the Medical District that would emphasize as a priority the location of the UNLV School of Medicine, and expansion of major existing institutions such as UMC and Valley Regional Medical Center. Campus beautification and other key physical issues will also be addressed in the plan.

Cashman Center Redevelopment
The city has been working with the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority (LVCVA) since 2005 under a Memorandum of Understanding for the purpose of seeking proposals for the redevelopment of the 50-acre Cashman Center.

SC2 Competition
Las Vegas was one of three cities that received a $1 million grant from the Economic Development Administration (EDA) to conduct a competition to find the best ideas to improve economic development in one of the following four focus areas:

  1. Cashman Center
  2. The Las Vegas Medical District
  3. Business Park Development
  4. Projects within the Las Vegas Redevelopment Area

More than 206 individuals registered to compete.  A total of eight teams were formed and submitted proposals in phase one of the competition.  An Evaluation Committee reviewed and scored the proposals and the top three teams were awarded a total of $100,000 in cash prizes.  Ten teams advanced to phase two, and were instructed to further develop their proposals into comprehensive economic development plans.   Those plans will be judged by a selection panel made up of community leaders.  In June 2015, the competition concludes when the selection panel recommends 1st through 6th place winners for prizes totaling $800,000.

Photo: Las Vegas City Hall by Ryan Reason


  • Dayvid Figler and Rae Lathrop

    DF: Downtown was great as a kid and it is even greater as an adult. I love all of downtown’s hidden gems, its vibrancy, history and sense of connection. Rae is relatively newer to Las Vegas, but just as passionate about downtown. Downtown lends itself to the shared experience, and as a couple we both love seeing this part of the city through each other's eyes. Photo: Lucky Wenzel


  • Rob Ponte

    Some of the best nights I’ve experienced started out with no plan other than walking around to check out what’s going on. The great thing about having so many bars and restaurants downtown is the ability to move around if you’re not feeling the vibe in one place. There are plenty of options just outside the door. Photo: Lucky Wenzel

  • Brandon Wiegand

    The downtown Las Vegas of today has much to attract residents - a burgeoning restaurant and nightlife scene, growing diversity of businesses, and major centers of art and culture. Plus, living downtown I am easily within walking or biking distance of it all. Photo: Lucky Wenzel

  • Hank Gordon, Chairman of Laurich Properties

    It is always a pleasure to deal with the city of Las Vegas’ economic development department. The staff is really interested in helping create a positive business environment to work with.

  • Jonathan Jenkins, Founder & CEO of OrderWithMe

    As our company continues its rapid growth, we quickly realized the need to set up a formal U.S. headquarters. We explored multiple cities and were about to make the move to San Francisco, and then we heard about the complete reinvention of downtown Las Vegas. Coming from China where things are booming and growing, we love that downtown Vegas now has a similar vibe of energy and change. Not only is there an exciting tech community here and much lower costs than the Bay Area, but we love the fact that almost every industry group brings their conventions to our front door once a year.

  • Andy Hsieh, Owner of Lux Delux

    We love the vibrancy and energy of Las Vegas, and downtown is at the heart of it all. That's why we've launched our mobile platform with a focus on downtown. This is an exciting time in Las Vegas history, where community, commerce and technology are all converging at once. Downtown is our city's hidden gem.

  • Ramesh Srinivasan, Chief Marketing Officer & Head of Partnerships of SocialWellth

    We chose to relocate from the suburbs to downtown for several reasons. Our brand image and that of downtown’s mesh perfectly. The new downtown Las Vegas reflects a more hip, startup, social media-style image. Additionally, downtown’s emerging technology corridor, anchored by Zappos, is an environment that enhances our ability to recruit the types of technical skill sets required for our continued growth and success.

  • Mark Brandenburg, President of Golden Gate

    I think downtown Las Vegas is a unique blend of intimacy and great energy. Plus, in contrast to The Strip, it’s so easy to walk around…The Golden Gate has been here for over 100 years and with all the changes going on downtown, it feels like a new era. It truly is a renaissance—the rebirth of a classic.

  • Roberto Mendoza, Co-owner of Banger Brewing

    The city has been great in helping us with the licensing and procedures necessary to start a business. There hasn't been a brewery built in the city of Las Vegas for probably 10 years. So for them it hasn't been a typical ‘cut and paste’ thing. We're something different. It was a team work process to get us opened – a lot of talk and listening on both sides. And now the city started opening up the doors for other breweries once we were up and running. Good news for us and good news for the future. (Photo: Lucky Wenzel)

  • Alexandra Epstein, Executive Vice President of El Cortez Casino Hotel

    This downtown area… is emerging and where many events are happening.

  • Meghan Mossler, Owner of Stitch Factory

    The city and the department of economic development have been very helpful to us and all the other downtown business owners. It’s such a community here, and everyone asks you what you need. That kind of help launching a business is amazing and priceless.

  • Pamela Dylag, Co-owner of Velveteen Rabbit

    The city is so supportive of new businesses. Things are popping up constantly. (Photo: Lucky Wenzel)

  • Marc Abelman, CFO & Co-owner of Inside Style

    Downtown is becoming very much in demand…there’s a limited supply. Run fast, don’t walk.

  • Sam Cherry, CEO of Cherry Development

    For a while, downtown was one of the only places in the valley you would see cranes when you drove around. It was nice that city government stepped up and the private sector married with the public sector to create amazing projects that filled the gap. That was very important for us.

  • Johnny Jimenez, Owner of Toy Shack of Las Vegas

    Our business is booming amid the foot traffic on Fremont Street, and we’ve started to see how tourists are falling in love with downtown as they discover it. In the past year, we’re increasingly hearing things like, ‘Wow, next time we’ll stay downtown instead of on The Strip,’ or ‘We’ve visited downtown many times, but this is the first year we’ve actually stayed in a downtown hotel.’ They like that there is more to do within a smaller walking radius.

  • Rich Worthington, President and CEO of The Molasky Group of Companies

    Historically, downtown Las Vegas has not been a top destination for many locals, but in recent years… that trend is reversing itself. Given all the recent openings and progress, there’s much to explore and experience downtown.