Henderson leaders looking to keep Water Street momentum going

A look at Water Street in Henderson Friday, March 8, 2019. City leaders and business owners plan to keep the momentum going as the Water Street District in Henderson continues to be redevelopment.

A redeveloped Water Street corridor in Henderson could feature a hotel, a Golden Knights hockey rink complex and some “funky” housing options in the next half-decade.

That’s according to a panel of city and business leaders who spoke before a Henderson Chamber of Commerce luncheon audience last week at Fiesta Henderson.

“We’re seeing the fruits of the labor that’s happened over the past 20 years now,” said Stephanie Garcia-Vanuse, Henderson’s assistant city manager. “People are now finding out what a great place this is. Our strategy is to create that vibrant, walkable main street and, in the valley, Henderson is the only walkable main street left.”

In 2017, the first phase of the Southend on Water project — a multi-phased, mixed-use development — opened with new TSK Architects office space and the Public Works Coffee Bar. A future phase calls for the construction of a number of row homes.

Popular eatery Juan’s Flaming Fajitas and a number of other small businesses along the corridor — known as the Water Street District — have also opened in the past year.

In addition, Clark County Credit Union opened a new branch on East Lake Mead Parkway last year and a UNLV-themed sports bar called “Hardway 8” is scheduled to open its doors later this year.

More additions are on the way, including new housing options as part of the long-term Southend project and the possible new Vegas Golden Knights ice rink and accompanying development, which would be similar to what the team has in Summerlin.

The city is currently in an exclusive negotiation window with the team for the development, which would likely also host youth hockey tournaments and other events and could be ready by summer 2020 if negotiations go well.

“There is so much potential here,” said Windom Kimsey, principal and CEO of TSK. “We’re going to have restaurants and housing and office — the other pieces are coming. I’m excited to be part of it.”

Then there’s the planned “site A” project at the northwest corner of Water Street and Victory Road, which would include 110 apartment units and a 40,000-square-foot commercial development.

Kimsey, whose wife owns Public Works, plans to eventually reside in the Water Street District. He said he even envisions a new hotel along Water Street at some point in the next few years.

“Las Vegas is great, but that attracts a totally different crowd,” Garcia-Vause said. “If you want to come, with your family, to a place where you can dine and have fun, Water Street’s going to be the place to be. We’re just thrilled to see that this is evolving into that type of destination.”

To have a truly vibrant downtown area, however, planners know they need more people living in the Water Street District.

“We need quality stock housing options,” Garcia-Vause said. “Not everybody wants to live in a detached single-family home. Just for Water Street, there are about 200 new residential units on the map right now and another project that we’re waiting to see a proposal on.”

While excited for what’s on tap, Garcia-Vause said there’s room for more innovative Water Street development ideas. It wouldn’t hurt, she said, if some ideas were of the outside-of-the-box variety.

“One of the things about vibrant downtowns is that they’re usually a little more eclectic,” Garcia-Vause said. “We want people to walk down Water Street and wonder what’s on the next block. That’s part of vibrancy and, I hate to use this word, but sometimes it could be a little funky.”

Developers interested in the Water Street District could be eligible for various grants — such as tenant and facade improvements — administered by the Henderson Redevelopment Agency.