While Vegas-watchers had their eye on a classic neon sign, Vegas Vickie, coming down on Fremont Street, they missed news of much greater significance.
Derek Stevens, owner of The D, Golden Gate and a new resort on its way to the former Las Vegas Club site (referred to as “18 Fremont”), recently closed a land deal that opens the door for dramatic changes to downtown Las Vegas.
Stevens purchased a site known as P/Q, part of Symphony Park. Here’s a look at the parcel from a perspective you know you’re only going to get on this blog.
Pretty much the first dirt lot that’s ever made us giddy. Just keep reading.
Symphony Park is a rather nebulous name for a district downtown Las Vegas has long had high hopes for. Symphony Park home to The Smith Center for the Performing Arts, Discovery Children’s Museum and Cleveland Clinic Lou Ruvo Center for Brain Health.
The roughly 6.4-acre site sits behind the Plaza casino, not far from another parcel Stevens purchased in October 2016. That parcel sits between the Plaza and Main Street Station casino. Vegas-watchers missed that sale, too. Hey, we do what we can.
Here’s another look.
The more you know about the latest land purchase, the more intriguing the possibilities become.
Here’s a useful map to help sort out what’s where. At left, the latest acquisition. The land in the center, next to Plaza, will be used for parking for the new resort at 18 Fremont. The new casino at 18 Fremont will be connected to the parking structure by a bridge.
Remember how we kept calling the purchase next to Plaza casino “strategic”? We’re not just randomly typing words, you know.
Think of all this as a gateway to an expansion of what’s traditionally been considered the resort corridor in downtown Las Vegas, also known as Glitter Gulch.
Derek Stevens has shown he has a vision for his business ventures and downtown Las Vegas, so it’s not surprising these purchases aren’t random.
For now, the new parcel will serve as a “laydown” yard during the construction of 18 Fremont, a place for construction materials to be delivered and set out before being used in the resort. The lot next to the Plaza would seem to be a good staging area, but it’s expected a parking structure will be built simultaneously to the new resort, so the P/Q parcel will serve that purpose.
Several trailers are already in place at P/Q, and those will be offices for the companies doing demolition and construction on the 18 Fremont project.
Stick with us and we’ll help you impress your friends with terms like “laydown yard.”
But, wait, there’s more.
It’s interesting to note the site purchased by Derek Stevens is the only parcel in Symphony Park zoned for gaming.
That’s worth repeating. The land recently recently purchased by the owner of The D, Golden Gate and a new casino resort at 18 Fremont is zoned for gaming.
If you’re thinking that’s the point in our story that gets us giddy, you’d be right.
While plans for the land, beyond its utilitarian use during the construction of the 18 Fremont project, haven’t been specified, there’s no denying it’s a strategic move and one that could very well mean much, much bigger plans are in the works.
But, wait, there’s more.
In all the plans for Symphony Park, a 61-acre district that stalled during the economic downturn, the parcel abutting the P/Q lot has been slated for a sports arena or, most recently, soccer stadium.
Plans for a stadium have not taken off, but if such a stadium came to pass, it would mean Derek Stevens, his brother and business partner Greg Stevens, and their company, are in the best possible position to take advantage of that development and any resulting boom in business.
Let’s just say the Stevens would probably not be disappointed if someone built a stadium 15 feet away from their newly-purchased site.
If you look closely at that map, you’ll see the P/Q site was previously supposed to be the Forest City Casino-Hotel. The best laid plans and all that.
But, wait, there’s more.
We’ve learned Stevens’ company has invested millions in lobbying efforts toward to the creation of a new off-ramp that will lead from the nearby U.S. 95 freeway directly into W. Ogden Ave.
Apparently, the lobbying has paid off because the off-ramp project is happening.
That’s right, the road that runs along the P/Q site, past the parking structure next to Plaza and right to the back door of the new 18 Fremont hotel and casino. You can see Ogden emerging from a tunnel to the left of the shaded area (the parcel owned by the Stevens), below.
Maybe we just like putting shaded areas on things.
Freeway off-ramps are powerful and transformative things, and have helped shape the economic futures of more than a few American cities.
All this from a land sale that’s flown largely under the radar. Until now. You’re welcome.
Full disclosure: Our day job is in digital marketing at Fremont Street Experience, the marketing arm of a group of casinos, including The D and Golden Gate. Our opinions are our own.