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2 Firms Bet on New Image for Las Vegas : Hughes and First Interstate Bank Build 18-Story Office Tower, Will Take Space

May 03, 1987

Two of Las Vegas' biggest players are betting $43 million that their city is ready for a new image.

Nevada's tallest office building, the 18-story First Interstate Tower will open Monday as the first phase of Hughes Center, a 25-acre complex that could include as many as six other office buildings.

The tower, the first major office building constructed in Las Vegas in 15 years, is a joint venture of Howard Hughes Properties, a division of Summa Corp., and First Interstate Bank of Nevada.

'Strong, Solid Stance'

Together, the two firms will occupy about half of the 270,000 square feet of office space. Other major tenants include Deloitte, Haskins & Sells; Paine Webber and Stewart Title of Nevada.

Wai-Nung C. Lee, vice president of development for Summa Corp., said the building's size, evidenced by its 16,040-square-foot floors, gives the tower "a strong, solid stance" on the Las Vegas horizon that is an important statement for Summa and First Interstate.

Designed by Welton Becket Associates in Los Angeles, the tower is clad with carmine-red, flame-finished granite and heat-strengthened glass in a blue-gray tone.

Louis Naidorf, Becket's senior vice president and the project's designer, said the choice of exterior materials echoes the color tones of the surrounding desert hills.

"There is an interesting cohabitation that now exists in Las Vegas that can be best characterized in the city's architecture. At night, a vibrant city of interesting, eye-catching signage awash in lights; by day, a city of stark, desert sunlight and simple building forms."

The tower, Naidorf said, will bring a more serious era of daytime architectural design.

Parking is contained in a three-story garage connected to the tower by an air-conditioned atrium.

The landscape design, created by the SWA Group, of Sausalito, Calif., will include more than 3,000 evergreen and deciduous trees and flowering foliage that will be rotated seasonally.

C. L. Peck of Los Angeles was the general contractor.

Richard Dykes, director of economic development for Howard Hughes Properties, said his firm is betting on continued economic growth, partly because of Nevada's "genuine pro-business attitude," referring to the fact that it does not have corporate income, personal income, inventory, franchise or unitary taxes.

John Kuminecz, vice president of sales and marketing of the Nevada Development Authority, said construction in the Las Vegas area during 1986 was $1.3 billion, a jump of 36% over 1985.

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