Union Park is a large tract of land, 61 acres in all, southwest of downtown and for years the City of Las Vegas has identified it as one of the priorities for development. Progress has been agonizingly slow, though, for a number of reasons, one of them being the current woes in the mortgage industry.
This year is supposed to mark the rebirth of efforts to move the project forward. It just took the first tentative step in the right direction when Las Vegas approved a plan to erect a high-rise tower for the jewelry industry there. The developer is Heritage-Nevada VIII that intends to build a 50-story tower on a 5.8-acre site at a cost of $927 million. For now ground-breaking is estimated for 2009 and completion in 2012.
It'll be called the World Jewelry Center and consist of office, residential and retail space. The goal is to fashion Las Vegas into a hub for the global jewelry and gemstone industry. The early indications are promising as so far almost 70 companies from around the world have decided to join.
The residential component of course involves condominiums and would be the first of its kind in Union Park, at this stage anyway. The master plan calls for more condo towers in the future and prospective developers of those will undoubtedly keep a close eye on how these initial units will be accepted by the public.
All in all, it's encouraging to see that Union Park is finally gaining a little bit of forward momentum and when it eventually will be completed, it'll be a gem in its own right for the downtown area.