Extending adult-oriented zoning east and west, Las Vegas wants to keep its options open Downtown.
City Council is expected to ratify an expansion of its casino district June 6. The new gaming "overlay" will encompass all 240 acres of the old Union Pacific rail yard as well as three blocks bounded by Fourth Street, Carson Avenue, Stewart Avenue and Las Vegas Boulevard.
But the new zoning goes beyond hotels and casinos. Loosening restrictions on placement of topless bars and taverns, the guidelines would clear the way for more heavily concentrated adult entertainment. City planners say the new zoning, which allows for tighter spacing of such businesses, will "encourage development and revitalization of the area."
The three developed blocks lining the west side of Las Vegas Boulevard currently house the planned Neonopolis retail center, the Race Rock restaurant, the Fremont Street Experience parking garage and some vacant storefronts.
The oft-delayed Neonopolis, which inked a contract with Crown Theaters this month, has yet to land a retail anchor.
Downtown casinos, meanwhile, have continued to struggle. The latest report from the state showed the clubs posting a combined win of $62.6 million in March, up a modest 1.4 percent from 2000.