Vegas PAC Worth The Gamble

Las Vegas officials have put together a finance package to bring the city of multiple entertainment options the one thing it doesn’t have – a performing arts center – despite the economic downturn.

The $485 million Smith Center for the Performing Arts is hoped to be the catalyst for Las Vegas to make the leap from tourist attraction to cultural hub.

“The Smith Center is being built for people who live here, but the message to the world is that Las Vegas has grown up,” Myron Martin, president of the Smith Center, told the Las Vegas Review-Journal. “Performing arts centers have proven they can change cities. We’ve reached critical mass in terms of population. Now we have to satisfy the population.”

The finance package consists of $105 million in bonds backed by a 2 percent car rental tax, $85 million in bonds backed by revenues from the Las Vegas Redevelopment Agency and $200 million in private commitments.

The PAC, future home of the Las Vegas Philharmonic and Nevada Ballet Theatre, will feature a 2,050-seat main theatre, black box theatre, cabaret space, outdoor theatre, park and educational outreach facilities including classrooms, the Review-Journal said.

The project, scheduled to break ground in a couple of months, is targeted for completion in 2011.