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LAS VEGAS-A public hearing and resolution authorizing a $266-million lease-purchase agreement for a new City Hall was removed from the City Council agenda this week without discussion. The plan is to relocate the City’s administrative headquarters from its current location on Stewart Avenue to the site of the derelict Queen of Hearts casino on First Street between Lewis and Clark avenues, a short ways east of West Bonneville Avenue and Grand Central Parkway, an intersection where Clark County Government Center, Las Vegas Premium Outlets, World Market Center and the city’s 61-acre, $6-billion Union Park redevelopment all come together. The goal of the project is to stimulate additional private development not only in the area City Hall would move to but also the area it would leave.

The new City hall development would include 250,000 square feet of office space, a 500-seat council chamber, a civic plaza, public exhibition space and an adjacent parking garage. Las Vegas City manager Scott Adams tells GlobeSt.com that the delay in the hearing and vote on the $266-million authorization for the City Hall project is due to an oversight and that it does not in any way delay the overall process.

The City needed to present the proposal to the Clark County’s debt commission prior to the authorization because Certificates of Participation—the most commonly used form of lease-purchase financing–would be issued for the work. The City went before the debt commission earlier this month but a required revenue study that had been completed was erroneously not included in the documentation sent to the debt commission. A new presentation to the debt commission will now occur in early January, after which the hearing and the vote on the $266-million authorization will be back in front of the City Council, according to Adams.

“It is just a resolution regarding the first step toward the issuance of the COPs to finance the project,” Adams says. “We could have done it at any time.”

Under the proposed deal, Forest City would trade the Queen of Hearts property to the city for Parcels P-Q in the Union Park redevelopment area. Forest City would then develop the new City Hall on behalf of the city and, after that was completed, would begin planning for a $1.2-billion casino on the Union Park property and up to another $1 billion developing four blocks south of the new City Hall site that it acquired a majority stake in earlier this year from its partner in the project, Livework LLC.

In addition, the current City Hall site, approximately six acres, would become available for redevelopment along with 12 acres of contiguous land previously planned for a sports arena. Add to that definitive plans by CIM Group to rehabilitate and expand the shuttered Lady Luck Casino between the existing City Hall site and the Fremont Street Experience and you have several billion dollars of private investment that would eventually generate as much as $20 million annually in tax increment financing, City Manager Scott Adams recently told the City Council.

As to why Forest City is developing City Hall rather than the city, Adams tells GlobeSt.com that the prevailing opinion was that Forest City, given its experience, “can get it done on time and under budget better than the city.” Moreover, he says it was part of the larger development deal that includes the Union Park property and the property south of the new City Hall site—a deal that helps ensure the City Hall project will indeed be a catalyst.

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