Best Use of Empty Space

The Henderson Space & Science Center dreams of a home of its own: 72,000 square feet indoors and another 40,000 outdoors. And the vision just might come true: The center is one of the linchpins of Henderson’s proposed $1.5 billion Union Village project, which would also feature a new St. Rose Dominican Hospital and a major retail and entertainment center at U.S. 95 and Galleria Drive. But in the meantime, the center has used empty storefronts in the Galleria at Sunset mall for interactive exhibits that have been a blast for kids and parents alike. This year, “It’s a Gas” gave a glowing entrée into the world of neon. Great metropolitan regions have great museums that have become true civic landmarks. But great communities also know how to use hollowed-out spaces for something new and vibrant. After all, the science museum in Portland, Ore., is in a decommissioned power station. There’s something fitting about Las Vegas reaching toward the future in a decommissioned retail space.