Las Vegas Sun

September 3, 2014

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Downtown Arena:

Revitalizing urban centers, the developer’s specialty, is badly needed in Las Vegas

In Today's Sun

The Las Vegas City Council voted Wednesday to give exclusive rights for two years to a Baltimore developer to come up with a plan for an arena, entertainment district and casino-hotel on a 20-acre site that includes the current City Hall.

The Cordish Co., a family-owned company founded in 1910, specializes in revitalizing depressed urban centers by developing entertainment and mixed-use projects. Company President David Cordish was described as “an urban development genius” and “the king of urban makeovers” in an article in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

The Cordish Co. Web site lists an extensive portfolio of projects and proposed developments, including Hard Rocks in Tampa and Hollywood, Fla., and a casino in Shelbyville, Ind.

But the key for its downtown Las Vegas arena project would seem to be its sports-anchored developments. The company hasn’t built any arenas, but its site lists six mixed-use projects adjacent to sports facilities:

Kansas City — Kansas City Power and Light District has transformed eight blocks next to the Sprint Center into shops, bars, restaurants and entertainment venues. The $850 million complex opened this year. But Cordish has complained the district is underperforming financially because the Sprint Center hasn’t attracted an NBA or NHL franchise.

St. Louis — Ballpark Village is a $650 million development of restaurants, clubs, shops and high rises, next to the new Busch Stadium. Cordish and the Cardinals were supposed to break ground on the project this year, but it’s stalled because of the economy.

Daytona, Fla. — Daytona Live is a 71-acre, $437 million entertainment, shopping and office complex across from the Daytona International Speedway. Cordish and the speedway broke ground last year. The speedway’s new offices reportedly are near completion but the rest of the projects have been slowed by the bad economy.

Philadelphia — Philly Live is a $100 million retail, restaurant and entertainment complex next to the Wachovia Center and Lincoln Financial Field and Citizens Bank Ballpark. It is supposed to rise from the ashes of the Spectrum, which Pearl Jam closed down on Halloween. The old arena is scheduled to be torn down early next year and Philly Live’s opening is planned for 2011.

Toronto — Woodbine Live is a proposed $1 billion entertainment complex next to the Woodbine Racetrack and Casino with a planned opening in 2011. Other stages of the development include a mall, offices and 3,000 residences.

San Francisco — Mission Rock District is a $1 billion joint proposal with the Giants to transform 16 acres of parking lot and piers across McCovey Cove from AT&T Park.

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