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August 2, 2014

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Execs: Smith, Ruvo centers to be a boon for downtown

Downtown Las Vegas and Southern Nevada as a whole will receive a boost economically from the Smith Center for the Performing Arts after it opens in 2012 and from the Cleveland Clinic Lou Ruvo Center for Brain Health, according to two executives with those organizations.

The two facilities are expected to spur development in the city-owned 61-acre Symphony Park mixed-use development of Newland Communities, but executives of the two projects say the effect on Las Vegas will be widespread.

The issue was discussed during an April 15 seminar hosted by NAIOP Southern Nevada, the commercial development organization, at the Orleans.

“This is about changing the face of Las Vegas and economic development and quality of life,” said Maureen Peckman, chief emerging business officer of the Ruvo Center. “This is going to shift the Southern Nevada economy in a different direction and take us on a different course permanently. The way Nevada is viewed by the country is going to change.”

Smith Center President Myron Martin said one impetus behind having a performing arts center in Las Vegas is that it would help attract businesses and executives because of the cultural benefits. Las Vegas is one of the largest cities without a world-class performing arts center, he said.

“Newland and the city are counting on us to help them attract new businesses,” Martin said. “Performing arts projects and projects like the (Ruvo Center) help develop neighborhoods. People want to live, work, eat and shop near these complexes.”

Peckman said the Ruvo Center had other choices to locate, but she said the centrally geographic location was desirable to serve the entire valley.

“We look at the 61 acres and Symphony Park and the vision for what they wanted to do downtown as a central gathering point,” Peckman said.

Martin said downtown is the living room of Las Vegas and pointed out the Smith Center will be more than just a place for symphonies, operas and ballets. It is for everybody, Smith said, because on any night, there might be a touring Broadway show or music of different cultures that might not be available anywhere else in Las Vegas.

Jeff LaPour, president of LaPour, a development company and moderator of the seminar, said downtown Las Vegas is changing because of these two projects and a new City Hall and Metropolitan Police headquarters.

“This is a gaming changer for the city,” LaPour said. “It is removing one of the few negatives about Las Vegas that it doesn’t have the culture or knowledge of medicine.”

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