In Historic Westside, new construction to help redevelop distressed neighborhood

In Historic Westside, new construction to help redevelop distressed neighborhood

October 25, 2022

Cedric Crear speaking on new construction in the Historic Westside

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LAS VEGAS (KSNV) — A roughly $18 million project is the first ground-up construction project in several years coming to West Las Vegas. Las Vegas City Council approved to sell a corner property on Jefferson Avenue and D Street to Arthaus IV LLC for the purpose of building a mixed-use housing development.

"That'll be a first step in bringing life back over here, in my eyes," Craig Taylor, who lives in the neighborhood, said.

He wants more businesses to help revitalize the area.

"I ain't going to say the landscape is bad or anything, but it could be spruced up," he said.

Renderings show a five-story building with 84 units of workforce housing with 10,000 square feet of commercial space.

"We have not seen this level of investment into the community in decades as far back as I know," Cedric Crear, Ward 5 city councilman, said. "This is going to round out our entire workforce educational center for the Historic Westside."

The city purchased the property, which consists of six parcels, a few years ago using grant money. The former New Jerusalem Church was on the site, but the city removed it.

"That church had a lot of needs, a lot of work asbestos damage, so we decided to grade it down," Crear said.

The city made a request for proposals to find a developer, but there weren't any viable responses, according to the city. The Redevelopment Agency approached a developer with the opportunity to develop a mixed-use building targeted to workforce housing for residents of the historic westside.

"Housing that is affordable for a nurse or entry-level police officer, a teacher to come in and be able to live in our community. And that's what workforce housing is."

One of the managing members of Arthaus IV LC is local developer Sam Cherry, who has overseen mixed-use projects in downtown Las Vegas such as SOHO Lofts and Newport Lofts. The city anticipates the project providing198 full-time equivalent jobs and 74 indirect jobs as well as generating nearly $3 million in direct taxes.

The agreement with Arthaus IV includes the city selling the property for $6 and providing $1 million in Community Development Block Grant funds toward construction.

"In order to make a project affordable, and in order to make the units affordable, we have to work with developers in order to get the cost down," Crear said. "Our goal in our community is not to raise people out but to raise them up. And that's important when you do projects like this."

The city of Las Vegas Redevelopment Agency will also lease the commercial space for local business incubation and assistance services. The agency will ago enter into a Tax Increment Financing agreement, where the city pays a portion of the tax increment generated by the project to the developer. Crear said there are certain covenants in the agreement the developer must follow, including charging rent appropriately.

"The developer knows this, of what he can charge and what he can't charge for those units that he has in his building," Crear said. "This project is going to incentivize others to come in, and so the greater good of the development and of the HUNDRED Plan and Action is much greater than the Tax Incremental Financing that we are providing for this particular project."

The HUNDRED Plan and Action is the historic urban design and redevelopment plan for the neighborhood.

Katherine Duncan, Vice President of Community Development for the Harrison House, a non-profit focused on the redevelopment of the Historic Westside, has concerns about how this project will impact transportation and broadband in the area.

"You just can't plop a housing division inside of a, let's face it, an inferior neighborhood and expect it to thrive," she said. "So what other amenities are there going to be? What we're hoping is that this new developer will work with us as we create a digital Historic Westside."

Construction of the new mixed-use building is expected to start in April 2023 and finish in 2025.