Friday, Aug. 19, 2016 | 2 a.m.
With armed men and women scattered in the crowd, in a gray, air conditioner-less detainee entry point, the ribbon cutting for downtown Las Vegas’ newest office tower wasn’t your typical real estate event.
The developer of the Federal Justice Tower was joined by politicians and other government officials Thursday to celebrate its debut. The privately owned building is home to a cluster of federal agencies, though it opened at least three years behind schedule.
“Finally, this is complete,” developer Marc Biagiotti said to applause in the tower’s “sally port” area, at the base of the parking garage.
Tenants of the 11-story, 158,000-square-foot building on Las Vegas Boulevard at Clark Avenue include the U.S. Attorney’s Office for Nevada, the Department of Homeland Security, the Federal Protective Service and the Department of Labor’s Office of Inspector General.
All have moved in — the U.S. Attorney’s Office was first, in April. Biagiotti, president of Greenwood Village, Colo.-based SDA Inc., said after the event that he also was working to sign a sandwich chain for the ground-floor retail space.
The tower, across from the Lloyd D. George U.S. Courthouse, at one point was projected to open by summer 2013. But it was delayed after federal officials made several work-order changes, including for the ground-floor detention area, which needed to be finished before tenants could move in, Biagiotti said. The office building also was initially planned to be five stories but grew taller as tenants were added to the plans.
Moreover, Biagiotti’s father, SDA founder Steve Biagiotti, who broke ground on the project, died of flu complications in February 2015.
Marc Biagiotti told VEGAS INC late last year that he expected to open the tower in January. On Thursday, asked why there were further delays, he said problems with some orders for blast-resistant glass slowed construction.
SDA has constructed U.S. government buildings around the country. But “this was a little more complex than most projects because you’re dealing with four different agencies,” whose security and information technology requirements “don’t work together,” Biagiotti said.
Still, with so many law-enforcement personnel — uniformed or otherwise — at Thursday’s ceremony, Biagiotti said it wasn’t “a regular ribbon-cutting for a federal agency.”
“It’s a lot of guns,” he said.
The office tower isn’t the only new government facility in the neighborhood.
A block away, at Clark and Fourth Street, a two-story, 26,600-square-foot Roman classical-style courthouse for the Supreme Court of Nevada and the state’s Court of Appeals is under construction.
It’s expected to open in December, a spokesman for the courts has said.