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LAS VEGAS-Newland Communities this week reviewed the progress it has made this year as the project manager of Union Park, the estimated $6 billion, 11-million-square-foot, mixed-use urban community rising on a former 61-acre brownfield owned by the city in downtown Las Vegas. Accomplishments include the near completion of the Lou Ruvo Brain Institute and definitive development agreements for World Jewelry Center, the Charlie Palmer boutique hotel and a 2.4-million-square-foot casino/hotel/retail complex.

The Lou Ruvo Brain Institute, a 67,000-square-foot medical facility designed by architect Frank Gehry, is dedicated to the research and treatment of diseases such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s. The Institute’s administrative and management staff recently moved into the facility. An official opening of the Institute will occur in the summer.

The World Jewelry Center is a planned $1-billion, 1.2-million-square-foot development that includes 815,000 square feet of for-sale office for those in the jewelry trade as well as 139,000 square feet (98 units) of ultra-luxury condominiums in a 50-plus-story tower, and 225,000 square feet of retail and structured parking. The developer is Probity International. The development is reportedly attracting domestic and international gem and jewelry companies due to its dedicated Foreign Trade Zone, gem grading labs, educational facilities, advanced security systems and secure shipping and receiving processes.

The Charlie Palmer, a development of City-Core Development and celebrity chef Charlie Palmer, is a 400-room luxury boutique hotel. It is planned to feature a 10,000-square-foot spa, Hollywood-style pool, a Charlie Palmer signature fine dining restaurant and other dining venues, including a restaurant overlooking Symphony Park, the planned open space within Union Park.

The 2.4-million-square-foot Union Park hotel/casino is slated to be a 1,000-room hotel that will include approximately 120,000 square feet of gaming and 90,000 square feet of retail in addition to multiple restaurants, meeting rooms and a spa/health club. The developer is Forest City Enterprises. Forest City would get the land for the project in trade for a site just east of Union Park that is slated to become a new $266-million City Hall. Forest City also controls four blocks south of the new City Hall site that are slated for dense commercial development.

Scheduled to break ground in early 2009 in Union park is the Smith Center for the Performing Arts a 4.75-acre cultural complex in the heart of Union Park for which design and permitting were completed this year. Plans for the cultural center now include a total of three theaters including a 2,050-seat main hall that will be home to Nevada Ballet Theatre, the Las Vegas Philharmonic and touring Broadway shows.

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