Las Vegas Sun

November 26, 2014

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Sports complex proposal in Henderson a ‘done deal’

If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again. Then one more time?

Would-be arena developer Chris Milam, who has failed to get deals done in Las Vegas and unincorporated Clark County, is now courting Henderson officials in an effort to build a $2 billion stadium complex near the M Resort, sources familiar with the discussion have told the Sun.

Henderson officials have signed confidentiality agreements, sources said, and are keeping quiet about the talks over worries that word of a lengthy construction project might draw opposition from residents near the proposed arena site.

Even so, one source who spoke on the condition of anonymity described the project as “a done deal.”

Another source said it would be financed by Goldman Sachs and another unnamed investment bank.

Milam did not return a call for comment. But at last week’s meeting of the Henderson Chamber of Commerce, Henderson Mayor Andy Hafen said he had a couple of “big announcements” coming that would employ a lot of people.

In May, Milam reportedly planned a $1.95 billion sports complex west of Mandalay Bay to be financed by Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley. That proposal included a special tax district on the 63-acre site to allow sales taxes generated there to help pay off the bond.

In the Henderson deal, sources said, city officials intend to “gift” investors the land for the sports complex. That gift, sources say, may eliminate the need for a special taxing district to pay off the construction bond.

Milam has provided as much as $200,000 in earnest money to the city, sources also said, in an effort to demonstrate the seriousness of his intentions.

Few details about the stadium were available, except:

• It would be large enough to hold professional baseball and/or soccer games;

• Because of the high interest in soccer in Southern Nevada and Henderson’s desire to provide soccer fields to the public, the stadium would be made available to the thousands of families — one source said 3,500 families in Henderson participate in soccer — who travel with their children to soccer practices and games throughout the valley.

Milam has pursued various stadium and arena projects in Clark County, including at the site of the former Wet ’n Wild water park adjacent to the Sahara, on land in downtown Las Vegas and this year near Mandalay Bay. Though none of those proposals went anywhere, Milam has a successful development background.

In the 1990s, he arranged financing for high-rise projects in Eastern Europe. He is credited with developing the 700,000-square-foot Warsaw Financial Center, the 600,000-square-foot Moscow Corporate Center and the 120,000-square-foot Sony Center in Budapest.

In Texas, he developed a suburban-Austin mall in the early 2000s. Then in 2007 came his proposal to build the Las Vegas Towers at the site of Wet ’n Wild. When that plan dissolved, Milam’s first arena project came to light when he began talks to build the Silver State Arena on the same site.

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  1. "In the Henderson deal, sources said, city officials intend to "gift" investors the land for the sports complex. That gift, sources say, may eliminate the need for a special taxing district to pay off the construction bond."

    An then of course, it may not.

    Instead of playing the sucker on this, the public should require that a single site or maybe two sites should be selected by the state for the sports complex and then the developers should be allowed to submit proposals to develop the site (costs of the evaluation of projects would be borne by the developers through an application fee).

    This way we play the developers off each other instead of the having the developers play us for suckers.

  2. Now the Traffic you have with the NASCAR track in the North can be duplicated in the South on a weekly basis. An Arena without an infastucture build in congested Henderson. What could possibly go wrong?

  3. Love how people has to moan & complain over everything. This is what this city needs to move forward. Your right the increase in profits for the area, the increase in jobs, the increase in people coming to Vegas is a horrible horrible choice right now. Stupid investors for thinking ahead!

  4. I say this is absolutey great for Henderson and Vegas will probably reap more. It is really time for something like this. I think it is a good area as well. Maybe ol' Oscar might endorse this and broadcast it world wide. If this goes, jobs for Nevadan's first.

  5. Good for Mr. Milam, hope he pulls this off as long as it does not involved public money.

    No matter where he builds someone is going to complain but this is much better then being center strip.

    This will help the southern area a lot and if he really builds it you will see other things being built in that area.

  6. "This way we play the developers off each other instead of the having the developers play us for suckers."

    Brilliant - I agree

  7. oh good, we're raising taxes on everyone to pay for things we don't need.

    Have you heard of priorities?

    This is also corporate welfare which is unconstitutional in Nevada.

  8. 'and are keeping quiet about the talks over worries that word of a lengthy construction project might draw opposition from residents near the proposed arena site.'

    In other words, they want to keep it a secret till it's done. More fodder for the local shyster lawyers.

    They should get a commitment from a pro team before they get too far along with this.

  9. Come on everyone start looking at the plus side. The biggest complaint in the sports world is their facilities. Cities that have seen the light in baseball such as Cleveland,Baltimore,Seattle,Detroit and more all have newer stadiums. The cities which have old ones are in chance of loosing their teams. The economic impact on businesses and taxes collected from sporting events concerts and etc is amazing. Just think a great source of revenue a clean industry. Las Vegas needs to grab this opportunity and YES! the investor is going to make money that is why he is proposing this. But everyone is a win win in this case. The economic impact is something all of Vegas will benefit. A professional team or more than one would also instill more pride in the city and it's residents. So please keep an open mind to this.

  10. I'm in the NBA and hockey camps unless this is a fully covered facility with very good A/C. I would also want to see such an enclosed stadium take full advantage of solar for power requirements when possible.

    I just don't see any outdoor sport drawing the crowds needed.

  11. Barry ragan,

    That is nonsense. Taxpayer funded stadiums are hudge boondoggles, costing taxpayers and the local economy far more in damages than any advantages.

    Economists may disagree on whether cutting taxes or raising spending is good or bad in a recession but they almost ALWAYS agree that taxpayer funded stadiums are a net loss for cities and taxpayers alike.

  12. Patrick_R_Gibbons,

    Take a moment and read the article. There is nothing stated in this article of taxes to pay for this one.

    The City of Henderson is planning on giving them some land they are not using to make up for the need of a tax district.

  13. The only good developer uses investors money and that is the way it is.

  14. If it's too good to be true....

    A stadium without proper infrastructure means taxpayers will end up getting hooked into paying for those improvements.

    And a stadium without a roof in Vegas? Thanks but no thanks. Not even remotely interested.

    But that being said Vegas could use Pro Sports and a Stadium. But sticking it out in Henderson is not the best place for it. It belongs somewhere along the strip where there's infrastructure to support it. My hunch...this will turn into Monorail II and not live up to it's potential if the idea even gets off the ground.