Wednesday, March 6, 2013 | 2:31 p.m.
Celebrity chef Charlie Palmer’s proposed luxury hotel and restaurant at Symphony Park in downtown Las Vegas are still on hold until room rates in the city increase, developers for the project told the Las Vegas City Council on Wednesday.
The issue: Developers for the project presented an update to the council on the stalled project and exercised an option to extend the closing date on the land for another year.
The vote: Approved unanimously, 7-0
What it means: Developers will have another year to try to get the 371-room hotel project off the ground.
During Wednesday’s meeting, hotel developer Richard Kaufman told the council the hotel market in Las Vegas has not recovered enough yet for the project to be financially viable.
“The problem is room rates are low so we need to spend less money because we can’t charge more. How do we make it more affordable to build?” Kaufman said.
One potential solution, he said, would be to build an initial 100-room hotel with a restaurant on the 3-acre site across from the Smith Center for the Performing Arts that would be expanded later on as part of a second phase.
“Symphony Park is where we want to be and we have made the decision to take the long view that Symphony Park is the best place for the Charlie Palmer hotel,” Kaufman said.
Palmer, whose critically acclaimed Aureole restaurants are in New York and Las Vegas, attended the council meeting but did not speak.
Wednesday’s action extends the development agreement and land close date until Feb. 27, 2014. The developers have put down a nearly $500,000 deposit to keep their hold on the property. Another extension would require further action by the council.
Kaufman said uncertainty surrounding other tenants at the park, which currently include the Smith Center and the Cleveland Clinic Lou Ruvo Center and could eventually include offices, residential units and an arena, also have slowed the project.
Council members seemed anxious to see progress, but acknowledged building the right project was worth waiting a year or two more.
“I have no problem with you extending longer until the market changes because you recognize how great Symphony Park is going to be when it grows up,” Councilman Steven Ross said. “I think knowing how well you’ve done in business with your brand, I think you guys are going to do great.”