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With Texas touches, Fremont St. makeover progressing

Reported by: Tom Hawley
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Updated: 5/13/2014 9:44 am
LAS VEGAS (KSNV — With some help from the former mayor of Austin, Texas, The Downtown Project is using some redevelopment ideas that worked there for Fremont Street between Las Vegas Boulevard and 10th Street. Some ideas, however, are strictly Las Vegas.

Will Wynn, a former consultant with The Downtown Project, and Kim Schaeffer are trying to incorporate shade for heat relief in the form of trees.

Another cool option is a 14 ½-foot fire hydrant.

“It's one of the things we think of as another reason for people to walk down the street,” Schaeffer said. “And when it's hot, it's amazing to set on that pedal and have the mist cool you down.”

Beating the heat is a start.

“Pedestrian activity, something for the people who are being shaded to do,” Wynn said. “And it's coffee shops and wine bars. It's office buildings. It's live music venues.”

“One of the opportunities that downtown has that's something similar to Austin is the idea of incorporating the music scene,” Schaeffer said. “And creating a place where the already amazing musicians and performers that live in Las Vegas can have a sort of central place where they can go and perform.”

If Austin represents the "after" of downtown redevelopment, Fremont is not really the "before," but more like the “during.”
Cathy brooks owns The Hydrant Club, a members-only dog park next to its namesake that would have been unthinkable at this location until recently.

“In the one year and some change that I've actually been on the ground here, we wouldn't have been standing here on this street corner having a conversation,” Brooks said. “Even at bright daylight in the morning, and certainly not at night.”

The Downtown Project is investing $350 million here, but ultimately it’s about more than money.

“So it's our hope and our belief that entrepreneurs, the small businesses, the tech start-ups, the people that have been attracted to come and live here, that will live on regardless of what we do,” Schaeffer said.

Next up for a makeover is the old Ferguson's Motel at the corner of 11th Street and Fremont, which is being transitioned to a complex with multiple dining, drinking and retail options set to open later this year.


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