LAS VEGAS (KSNV) — New places to eat may be rolling their kitchens into the Arts District in early 2021 if a project in the works gets the green light from the Las Vegas City Council.
The proposal would turn a 7,400 sq. ft. dirt lot on Casino Center Blvd. just south of California Ave. into the “Urban Food Lot,” home to 10 local food trucks, according to President of Metroplex Realty Paul Murad.
“Previously it was a dirt lot fenced off. Now it’s an improved lot where up to 10 trucks can be parked at the same time, whether it’s for days, weeks, or months, they can be in one location so they can have some continuity and consistency,” he said. “Here, you have an improvement for the area and development of the property.”
The City of Las Vegas Planning Commission voted in favor of approving the project earlier in December, therefore sending it to the City Council for discussion and a likely an eventual vote.
“There’s already tremendous interest from the food truck operators throughout Las Vegas who are reaching out and wanting to be a part of this project,” Murad said. “The goal is to open during the pandemic because that’s why this provides such a unique opportunity for food truck operators who don’t have corporate events or conferences that they used to.”
Madisen Saglibene, owner of the food truck “Pizza Stoned,” says she hopes to get a spot in the lot if it’s approved. She usually rolls her pizza oven throughout town or caters to events, announcing her whereabouts via social media.
“I think it might be a little bit competitive. The thing that I’m really hopeful about, the developers have already committed to really focusing on minority-owned businesses and women-owned businesses,” she said. “Having a more stationary location, or a location that people at least know on a consistent basis that food trucks are going to be there, I think it will be an astronomical difference really.”
Saglibene believes this would become an attraction that would bring more people to the Arts District.
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“It’s going to bring more people into the Arts District to maybe check out other things that they might not have known were there,” she said.
Murad says similar concepts have proven to be successful and beneficial for their respective neighborhoods in other cities around the country, such as Portland, Oregon. He thinks this will have both short-term and long-term benefits.
“It will be curated so the trucks don’t compete with each other. We’re not going to have two coffee concepts or two hot dog concepts next to each other. It will be well-curated,” he said. “It’s a tremendous place to create a dynamic community where people congregate, they gather, they meet each other. It’s something great that is coming to the Arts District, I hope, in the very near future. During the pandemic, and thereafter.”
However, if they open during the pandemic, Murad says there would be no seating in the “Urban Food Lot” to ensure people do not gather there.
“It will be very safe. There will be no seating in the area at all,” he said. “It’s just basically a pickup and go and walk or drive back to your office or home in downtown or nearby. Or, it will be a delivery service.”
Murad says he expects some opposition from a group of local business owners in the neighborhood who do not feel the concept fits with the neighborhood.