Las Vegas Sun

April 18, 2015

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Goodman: Economy could kill City Hall project

Mayor Oscar Goodman said the stalled economy might claim his new City Hall project.

Goodman said Thursday at his weekly press conference that he has asked his top managers to review whether the plan is still economically feasible. A decision could be reached at the City Council’s next meeting on July 1, he said.

The controversial city hall plans, which could cost up to $267 million, were the subject of a long-standing struggle with the Culinary Union, which sought through ballot measures to make sure voters would have the right to approve such projects.

The union lost its fight with the city after the city’s refusal to place the measures on the ballot was appealed to the state Supreme Court.

Goodman cited sluggish credit and bond markets as the main hindrance. The city has planned to use special certificates of participation to fund the project. To pay its lead developer to construct the city hall, the city had planned to sell the certificates to investors, and the city would then lease the building.

But these certificates, which the city had planned to sell at a 5 percent interest rate, now can only be sold at a 7.5 percent rate, Goodman said. That’s a practical difference of millions of dollars, he said.

Though Goodman has invested a great amount of political capital in the project’s success, he said he would do what was in the best interest of the citizens of the city, and not let his ego get in the way of the project’s possible demise.

“Everything’s changed,” he said. “It’s a new world.”

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