LAS VEGAS (KTNV) — The evolution of downtown Las Vegas has never been as evident as it has the last few years.
In 2012 the Smith Center, Mob Museum and a new Las Vegas City Hall opened. It was also when Tony Hsieh founded The Downtown Project, and the construction boom seems to be taking off again.
Just this week, the Stevens brothers revealed plans for the Circa resort-casino and The Downtown Grand also announced an expansion.
"Any area that sees development I think that's awesome. I think people really need to have the jobs coming in. The community needs that," one local said.
Circa alone will bring 2000 construction jobs, and 1500 long-term positions. Then, there's the remodel of The Downtowner, scheduled to open in February. That project brought in hundreds of construction jobs and will add around 30 full-time positions.
While the new projects are hoping to attract more tourism, there is some concern that it will also push out the locals.
"Most locals know, we don't go to the Strip unless we have relatives or friends in town. We'll take them to the Strip, but then we're like let's go downtown for the better deals," Derek Stonebarger, Arts District Neighborhood Association board president, said.
"I think it might be a little problematic down the road because downtown is very much its own thing and eventually there could be big buildings that cost a lot of money that drive people like us out," another local said.
However, the Arts District Neighborhood Association is working hard to make sure that doesn't happen.
"We price everything down here. We do this because we're locals and we want to hang out with locals," Stonebarger said.
Most of the businesses are non-smoking, non-gambling and offer happy hour deals geared towards locals.
And while a lot of tourists don't drive when they're in town, most locals do, and the Arts District Association wants to make things easy and affordable by keeping parking free in the area.