Symphony Park: City hopes it's poised for takeoff

Saturday, February 23, 2019

LAS VEGAS (KSNV) — Doesn't look like much now. However, the City of Las Vegas is hoping a plot of land bordered by Grand Central Parkway and Symphony Park Drive will become a boutique, upscale $95 million dollar non-gaming Marriott hotel.

The City Council approved the deal Wednesday with the development company Jackson-Shaw, based in Dallas.

Symphony Park is in Councilman Cedric Crear's Ward 5. I asked Crear what this new development will mean.

“Well, it rounds out Symphony Park. We have a number of vacant lots and a lot of people have been enquiring about the lots at Symphony Park. This just adds to it,” he says.

The Great Recession put much of Symphony Park’s centrally-located 61 acres on ice.

Now, we're in what appears to be the great city recovery: in Las Vegas, casino owner Derek Stevens is building “Circa,” a new downtown resort.

Another resort, the Downtown Grand, is expanding.

And why this Symphony Park deal made sense is what's happening across the street: the World Market Center is building a $100 million convention and expo center, the only one in downtown Las Vegas, set to open in June 2020.

“We really think that our expo is a huge addition for the hospitality industry in downtown Las Vegas,” says Bob Maricich, the Chairman and CEO of International Market Centers, which owns our market center downtown.

So Symphony Park is turning into quite the location. It is already home to the highly regarded Smith Center for the Performing Arts, the Discovery Children’s Museum and the Lou Ruvo Center for Brain Health. Besides the new hotel, Mayor Carolyn Goodman says more is coming.

“We're about to groundbreak on two mixed-use apartments and retail space, one of the east of Symphony Park and one on the Smith Center,” the Mayor says.

“We have another parcel of land which I can’t talk about quite yet, but I think is gonna happen,” Crear tells me.

Construction is already underway on new parking garages, anticipating an influx of traffic, which the Market Center’s Maricich tells me could get even busier. When his expo and convention center is finished next to the existing complex, the temporary Pavilion, a series of huge tents, will come down.

“By the way, when we get the Expo Center built, the land where the Pavilions are now is all available, and we hope that our business is strong enough that we could develop something on that land as well,” Maricich says.

Jackson-Shaw says it’s planning to build one of Marriott's boutique “AC Hotels” on the Symphony Park site. On the drawing board are 406 rooms, which the city says would create 175 full-time jobs.

City officials hope the Marriott project will be finished by the summer of 2020. A spokesperson for the developer calls that timeline “aggressive,” and says closing on the land will not happen until the end of this year.