Downtown development is slowly shifting away from Tony Hsieh and his Fremont Street neighbors and pushing bold new projects over to the 18b Arts District, lured by cheaper real estate, an abundance of available space and independence from the Downtown Project.
A major new concept should jump start the revival even quicker by dramatically revitalizing a vacant block of Main Street surrounded by other properties for sale or lease.
The new Art District Plaza is proposed to stretch from 1025 S. Main St. to the adjacent 7,140-square-foot Boulder Plaza public park and fill the footprint with restaurants, art galleries and retail to create a pedestrian plaza similar in scope to the Art Square a very short block away.
Los Angeles-based entrepreneurs Jonathan and Eshagh Kermani finalized their purchase of the two lots at the end of January and the design, plans and permissions for the interior 14,410 square feet are already well advanced.
Current buildings that once housed the original versions of The Attic, Gainsburg Studio and The Las Vegas Ballet School will be demolished and replaced by three flexible single-story concepts that future tenants can help configure.
Taking their lead from the Boulder Plaza public space and the monthly influx of First Friday visitors, they propose to decorate the area with murals, street furniture, commissioned art projects and are considering installing a fountain.
Building A, replacing the former Jack Gallery, will occupy 3,545 square feet and offer a restaurant with an outdoor patio. Designed with a high ceiling for an art gallery showroom, the exterior walls facing First Street and Art Square will be covered with a mural.
Building B will demolish the former Ballet School's corner property fronting Main Street, breaking the 3,665-square-foot space into small dining and retail opportunities. A patio will face inward to the plaza's central area, set to feature sculptures and many of the footprint's 25 new palm trees.
The largest new structure, the 7,200-square-foot building C, demolishes the former home of The Attic and adds retail and galleries housed between two restaurants, one facing Main Street, the other First Street, and both enhanced with patios.
The city and the Kermani family have yet to reveal the project and an estimated completion or starting date has not been announced.