‘Year of Downtown’ Las Vegas Features Gateway Arch Construction

It’s the “Year of Downtown,” or so says Las Vegas city leaders. Along with the recent $32 million refurbishment of the Fremont Street Experience canopy, Mayor Carolyn Goodman says an abundance of new developments has the area positioned well to continue its economic boom.

downtown Las Vegas city sign

Travelers going north from the Strip to downtown Las Vegas will soon by greeted by two towering arches. (Image: City of Las Vegas)

City officials say work on the “Gateway Arch” will begin March 16. Two 80-foot-tall arches will welcome visitors to the City of Las Vegas.

The arches will traverse Las Vegas Boulevard next to the Stratosphere between Bob Stupak and St. Louis avenues. The selfie-worthy attraction will be just south of the City of Las Vegas sign featuring the two showgirls.

In her “State of the City” address in January, Mayor Goodman said the overhanging arches will “evoke the glitter, glamour, and neon that made Las Vegas famous.”

The $6.5 million project is expected to be completed in September. The sign’s location in the middle of the Stratosphere property likely won’t do much to end the long-running debate as to whether the resort is on the Strip or downtown.

Downtown Up Again

Downtown Las Vegas appears to be flourishing. Gross gaming revenue (GGR) has been on a tear in recent years. Downtown casinos have reported six consecutive years of gaming growth.   

Total win has jumped from $500.9 million in 2003, to $684.9 million last year – an increase of nearly 37 percent. The Nevada Gaming Control Board says there were 20 licensed casino properties in the market in 2019.

The continued increase in play has led to numerous investments, none more vital than D Casino and Golden Gate owner Derek Stevens overhauling the western end of Fremont Street. Stevens is building a 777-room resort on the former grounds of the Las Vegas Club, Mermaids, and Glitter Gulch club.

Known as Circa Las Vegas, Stevens’ estimated $1 billion new property will feature what he’s calling the “world’s largest sportsbook.” A press release on the sports betting mecca explains, “Sports fans can enjoy three levels of action taking place on a 78-million-pixel high-definition screen, the largest sportsbook screen in history.”

City Development

There’s plenty of non-gaming development projects happening in the city, too.

Along with the Fremont Street Experience canopy, the 315,000-square-foot Expo at World Market Center Las Vegas is slated to open this summer. The $90 million complex is designed in hopes of bringing major trade shows from the Strip to the downtown area.

The Expo is being developed by International Market Centers, which is partially owned by the Blackstone Group. The private equity giant owns The Cosmopolitan, and recently agreed to acquire the land assets of MGM’s Bellagio, MGM Grand, and Mandalay Bay.

The Expo is located at 435 South Grand Central Parkway. The campus has already booked three events – the Vegas Tuffest Junior World Championship rodeo, Holiday Gift & Craft Expo, and Vintage Vegas Expo.

Also in the works: online retailer Zappos is repurposing the Burning Man Boeing 747 jet fuselage it acquired last August into a one-of-a-kind “tavern” called Turbulence. And two apartment complexes – Symphony Park and ShareDOWNTOWN in the 18B Las Vegas Arts District – will soon take their first residents. 

In the Las Vegas 2050 Master Plan, city officials reveal that the number of residents living in the city proper is forecast to increase by 300,000 people over the next three decades.

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