2016 was an odd year for Downtown. Several years of somewhat overbearing hype about our urban redevelopment had cooled. Some businesses (GrassRoots) shut down, others (Pawn Plaza) stalled, while some were abandoned entirely. Meanwhile, suburban development celebrated a postrecession surge, particularly in the southwest. Downtown, it might have seemed, was on the downturn.
In reality, it was a subdued moment before a full-volume 2017, especially in the Arts District. Toward the end of 2016, several new off-Fremont storefronts quietly opened (Vesta Coffee Roasters, Cornish Pasty Co., Greens & Proteins and ReBar), while new apartments, offices and retail were planned, permitted or fully constructed. Get ready for market-rate dwellings, micro-apartments and ground-up projects like The Venice (17,000 square feet of completed retail and offices on California Street), the new Arts District Plaza (on Main north of Charleston) and The Charleston (21,000 square feet of restaurant and office space under construction at Charleston and Casino Center boulevards).
Meanwhile, more openings are in the works, including DW Bistro’s Downtown expansion and a rumored Symphony Park location of locals favorite Sambalatte. Main Street is getting a total makeover, going to one-way traffic flow with wider sidewalks and more street parking. And other infrastructure improvements are underway, including the installation of twin-head LED streetlamps to provide better lighting. On the real estate front, whispers indicate that big name old-guard Las Vegas investors are buying up parcels. This all points to a maturing Downtown. If you want to see the emergence of version 4.0, pay attention in 2017!