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LAS VEGAS-The Nevada Supreme Court next month will decide next month whether city voters will vote on a pair of petition issues that would kill the city’s redevelopment plan. Both petitions—one a referendum and the other an initiative–had the required number of signatures but the City Council at the start of the month voted not to place the issues on the ballot after once delaying the vote. Culinary Local 226, which submitted the petitions, filed a lawsuit in the Nevada Supreme Court mid-month seeking an emergency order to compel the city to let voters decide.

The referendum would repeal the Las Vegas redevelopment plan, the city’s strategy for revitalizing its core and redeveloping brownfields. The initiative would require voter approval before any payments were made under both existing and future lease-purchase agreements worth more than $2 million.

Lease-purchase agreements are how the city prefers to finance its redevelopment efforts. More specifically, it is how the city has set up a deal with Forest City Development that includes a new $267-million City Hall, a new $1.2-billion casino in the city’s Union Park redevelopment area, an additional $1 billion of redevelopment on four blocks south of the proposed new City Hall site, and the potential for redevelopment of the current City Hall site adjacent to the Fremont Street Experience.

The City Council approved the deal a few weeks before opting not to vote in favor of placing the petitions on the June ballot, knowing the issue likely would end up before the state Supreme Court.

As previously reported the land for Forest City’s casino-resort would be provided by the City of Las Vegas in trade for the site of the new City Hall. Known as the Queen of Hearts property, the City Hall site is located on First Street between Lewis and Clark avenues, a short ways east of West Bonneville Avenue and Grand Central Parkway, the 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 proposed disposition and development deal calls for Forest City to develop the new City Hall for the city on a fee basis before it can begin developing the new casino resort. Forest City also owns a majority interest in four blocks immediately south of the new City Hall site that it plans to develop after or concurrent with the casino-resort project. City officials hope that construction for the new City Hall will start sometime this year.

The subsequent casino-resort project would total 2.4-million-square-foot and include a 47-story, 1,000-room hotel with 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. A city fire station also would be on the site.

The city’s current City Hall covers approximately six acres along Stewart Avenue and is contiguous with 12 acres previously planned for a sports arena. CIM Group is currently planning to rehabilitate and expand the shuttered Lady Luck Casino between the existing City Hall site and the Fremont Street Experience.

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