Predicting the future: Looking ahead at what might be coming in Las Vegas’ next 21 years

WE’LL BE THE CAPITAL OF MAJOR EVENTS

Las Vegas will expand its grand reputation as the city of entertainment to become the capital of major events, but you won’t have to wait 21 years for that to happen. The Las Vegas Convention and Visitor Authority’s tourism construction bulletin notes there’s 3.1 million square feet of convention and meeting space currently scheduled to come online, most of it by 2022, and more than 15,000 new hotel rooms planned for that period. That includes projects like the Las Vegas Convention Center District expansion, Resorts World, the Drew and expansion and renovation at properties all over the Valley. The city’s corporate and entertainment event capacity also will be redefined by the Las Vegas Stadium and the MSG Sphere, opening in 2020-2021, and these are just the developments we know about. Anything and everything that’s big will happen in Vegas. –Brock Radke

EVEN GREATER CIVIC PRIDE

In a relatively young city populated with many transient residents and homeowners, civic pride is going to be tough. But Las Vegas has changed a lot in 21 years. Our population swell saw many establish roots and begin families here; we gained a variety of gathering spots and cultural institutions; and we demonstrated true community after the October 1 shooting. That unity will only strengthen over the next 21 years. Expect more places to congregate and connect. We’ll continue to rally around the Golden Knights, and other teams existing and forthcoming. Technological and infrastructural advancements will increase the livability of our city. The longer people live here, the more they’ll advocate for historical preservation and educational improvement. Las Vegas began—and remained for too long—as a stopover. Now, it truly feels like home. –Mike Prevatt

THE CITY WILL MOVE DIFFERENTLY

Improved mass transit—including streetcars, bus rapid transit lanes, extra stops for the behind-Strip monorail, autonomous buses and light rail—will come to Las Vegas in the future because it has to. Our Valley’s population is 2 million and growing, and there’s only so much space for paving new roads and widening old ones; the mountains surrounding Vegas aren’t going to scoot over. Another freeway leg might be possible, even necessary—such as an extension of the 215 Beltway that properly connects the east side to the city—but as our population grows (and nearly 40 million yearly visitors continue to pour in), those roads will fill up. The only way to keep them from overflowing is by putting more people in fewer vehicles—and people just seem to prefer rail to buses. –Geoff Carter

THE CITY WILL GROW

In the next 21 years, the southwest Valley will fill in. The “missing teeth” we encounter here and there—empty lots, dead strip malls—will be built up with medium-to-high-density residential blocks and small plazas with specialized retail. (The dominance of Amazon, and web stores like it, probably mean we won’t see more big box retail.) Water, Fremont and Main Streets will be maxed out in terms of apartments, nightlife and dining. North Las Vegas may continue to grow, but that’s largely dependent on what kind of housing stock they offer, and if the city is well-connected to the light rail and bus rapid transit networks Las Vegas will probably build. What’s more likely is that growth will extend south, towards Jean and possibly beyond, until we begin to strain our Colorado River allotment. –Geoff Carter

THE MARYLAND PARKWAY CORRIDOR WILL THRIVE

Maryland Parkway was once a thoroughfare with more business activity; students and non-students used to frequent its many coffeehouses, bars and music stores—to say nothing of UNLV happenings and the Boulevard Mall—before that commerce and buzz moved elsewhere. But it can and will come back—in fact, it has to. For one, UNLV is all but willing the Boulevard’s revitalization through the investment and construction of new apartment complexes. Downtown’s rising critical mass will motivate students to find their own bar crawls and coffeehouses. And momentum is behind RTC’s proposed plan for light rail transportation, which would connect the University district to Downtown and McCarran Airport, encourage its vertical development and bring back—if not improve upon—its pre-millennium energy. If it can happen to Fremont Street, it can happen to Maryland Parkway. –Mike Prevatt

LAS VEGAS WILL BE ONE OF THE WORLD’S GREAT FOOD CITIES

Being a great restaurant city is one thing; becoming one of the world’s great food cities is something else entirely. Las Vegas was just beginning to become a fantastic dining destination two decades ago when the Strip’s megaresorts began to emphasize restaurants. Now we can compete with any city’s scene, but the next two decades will bring a more advanced evolution. Vegas is developing its own cuisine and dining style based on the hospitality blueprint created on the Strip—superior service, the finest ingredients, something for everyone and flair to spare—and it will flow into every neighborhood around the Valley. Food is the one thing that gets tourists off the Strip. That’s greatness in the making. —Brock Radke

OUR MAJORITY-MINORITY STATUS WILL MAKE US A LEADING INNOVATOR IN DIVERSITY

Hispanics, Asians, Pacific Islanders, blacks and American Indians make up more than 50 percent of Clark county’s population, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. In addition, more than 20 percent of Las Vegas’ population is foreign-born and 33.6 percent of people ages 5 and above speak a language other than English at home. Those numbers will continue to trend upward the next 21 years, causing an evolution of how the Valley functions.

Bilingualism will flourish, as will our education system’s ELS programs and more inclusive classrooms. The cultural epicenters of the city will begin to reflect the people that make up the Valley—think more world-class restaurants with Salvadoran or Taiwanese flairs. The city will be a model for the phrase “America is a melting pot” and a case study for other parts of the country to emulate.–Camalot Todd

THE LAS VEGAS VALLEY WILL BE GROUND ZERO FOR THE NATION’S POLITICAL LEANINGS

The Las Vegas Valley might be the entertainment capital of the world today, but in 21 years it will also be a city that helps shape the nation’s politics.

This year, Nevada became the first state with a female-majority legislature in the nation’s history with 32 of 63 overall seats held by women, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. It was the appointment of two Las Vegas Democrats, Rochelle Thuy Nguyen and Beatrice Angela Duran, that secured that place in history.

Former Clark County Commissioner Steve Sisolak was also the first Democrat elected to the governor’s office in 20 years.

Historically, Nevada is a swing state in national elections. It’s also a bellwether state—Nevada has voted for the winning president nearly 87 percent of the time since 1900, according to Ballotpedia.

Southern Nevada was also the site of the Women’s March organization’s 2018Power to the Pollsrally, the launch of a campaign which sought to get women leaders nationwide into public office.The success of that campaign is visible both nationally and at home.

Las Vegas will continue to lead the state as an example of more diverse and inclusive representation in politics, and our state will lead the nation. –Camalot Todd

LAS VEGAS WILL HOUSE MORE DIGITAL WAREHOUSES

Relax: The tech bros aren’t coming. Las Vegas isn’t wired, so to speak, to host a technology headquarters for the likes of Amazon. As it now stands, Southern Nevada’s educational system isn’t capable of producing the labor force a tech giant requires. But we are perfectly capable of housing these companies’ servers, as Switch does now and Google will soon be doing.Server farms require relatively minimal staffing, and the kind of extreme conditions that could shut down a server—earthquakes, mostly—are a rarity around here. Look for many more server farms to sprout in the Valley—and expect Amazon and the like to keep overlooking Vegas when they want to put down real roots. –Geoff Carter

IT’S NOT A QUESTION OF IF, BUT WHEN LAS VEGAS HOSTS A SUPER BOWL

With the NFL’s Raiders relocating here for the 2020 season to play in the $1.8 billion Las Vegas Stadium, a Super Bowl is expected to quickly follow. Host cites are announced through 2024, but our currently under-construction stadium would be a heavy favorite to land Super Bowl 59 in 2025.

The next 20 years will see Las Vegas become even more of a major-league sports town. The NBA is likely the next major professional league on the way.

Phoenix Suns’ ownership has already threatened to move here if that team cannot secure public funding to renovate its arena, which is the oldest in the league. The Suns will likely stay put, but don’t be surprised if the NBA adds expansion franchises in Las Vegas and Seattle.

There will also be a parade down the Strip to celebrate a championship. The Golden Knights are poised to be contenders for years to come and will eventually finish what they started last season by becoming the kings of the NHL. –Ray Brewer

LET’S PARTY!

Join us on Wednesday, January 23 at On the Record to raise a glass of complimentary booze and celebrate Las Vegas Weekly’s 21st birthday. To RSVP, head to lasvegasweekly.com/lvwbday. See ya there!

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