Las Vegas Mayor Gambles on Downtown Revival Plan

Amid tough economic times, Las Vegas Mayor Oscar B. Goodman is pushing a broad redevelopment plan in the city's outdated downtown.
February 10, 2009, 6am PST | Nate Berg
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"Mayor Oscar B. Goodman of Las Vegas is determined to give the area a face-lift, and not even a recession will stand in his way. Let the rest of municipal America tighten belts and hunker down. Mr. Goodman, a former mob lawyer whose outsize personality leads him to offer poker chips as business cards, says it is time for the city to join forces with private developers for a project he promotes as a linchpin to downtown's revival."

"The project would include a new city hall (never mind that the existing one, built in 1973, has an addition only six years old), a casino resort (the first in downtown in some three decades) and office, residential and commercial space (because, the developers of this project assert, the eventual economic recovery will create demand for it)."

"The plan includes a complicated land swap and a lease-back arrangement - 'a college football parlay card, in which everything has to fall into place,' The Las Vegas Review-Journal said in an editorial. For taxpayers, the bottom line could mean borrowing $150 million to $267 million, with tax revenue from new development paying it back over time."

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Published on Sunday, February 8, 2009 in The New York Times
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