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January 24, 2015

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Bombarded by arena proposals: A look at the options


Las Vegas National Sports Center

A rendering of the proposed Las Vegas National Sports Center three-stadium complex in downtown Las Vegas.

Southern Nevada’s creative minds have designed resorts that have captured the imaginations of millions of tourists.

Now, with resort development on hiatus thanks to the Great Recession, the dreamers and schemers are imagining Las Vegas’ next big thing — a sports venue.

Developers hope these arenas will be home to professional and/or college sports and keep the National Finals Rodeo in town. Most are indoor venues, but some are open air. And all would require some form of public funding.

The proposals have come at a fast clip, including two in the past two weeks. Las Vegans need a score card to keep up with the plans in play. Here’s a look at five proposed developments:

Las Vegas National Sports Center

Click to enlarge photo

A rendering of the proposed Las Vegas National Sports Center three-stadium complex in downtown Las Vegas.

LOCATION: Downtown Las Vegas, on 70 acres northeast of World Market Center in the vicinity of Symphony Park.

CORPORATE SPONSOR: International Development Management LLC, Austin, Texas

PUBLIC FACE: Chris Milam, president

PRICE TAG: $1.57 billion

PUBLIC MONEY: City land, improvement district

THE PROPOSAL: A three-venue complex:

• Silver State Arena, capacity 17,500, a proposed home of NBA basketball, NHL hockey, UNLV basketball.

• Silver State Ballpark, capacity 9,000 (expandable to 36,000), a proposed home to AAA baseball (Las Vegas 51s) and UNLV baseball. It could expand to house Major League Baseball.

• Silver State Stadium, capacity 50,000 (expandable to 75,000), a proposed home to UNLV football, Las Vegas Bowl, major league soccer, UNLV soccer. Could expand to house a National Football League team.

HURDLES: Rival developer Cordish has rights to the site, but the companies have had exploratory talks. The developers have no major league tenants on the horizon.

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Downtown Las Vegas arena proposal

LOCATION: Las Vegas Boulevard and Stewart Avenue, on part of 20 acres identified for an entertainment district.

CORPORATE SPONSOR: Cordish Co., Baltimore

PUBLIC FACE: Las Vegas City Hall, but Mayor Oscar Goodman has said he would support any group that could get an arena built.

PRICE TAG: $500 million

PUBLIC MONEY: City land, special tax district

THE PROPOSAL: An 18,000-seat venue that would be home to NBA basketball and NHL hockey. The arena would be part of a downtown entertainment district.

The design team built Ballpark Village at St. Louis’ new Busch Stadium.

HURDLES: No major league tenant has been identified.

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UNLV Now, domed stadium

Click to enlarge photo

This is a conceptual rendering of a proposed on-campus, multi-use stadium for UNLV shown Tuesday, February 1, 2011.

LOCATION:West of Thomas & Mack Center, on 150 acres next to campus

CORPORATE SPONSOR: Majestic Realty Co., Industry, Calif.

PUBLIC FACE: Majestic Chairman and CEO Ed Roski

PRICE TAG: Unknown

PUBLIC MONEY: UNLV land, special tax district

THE PROPOSAL: The 40,000-seat domed stadium would be home to UNLV football and UNLV basketball with the potential to host major league sports. It would bring football to the UNLV campus and be part of a larger project that includes retail and residential.

The developers are responsible for Los Angeles’ Staples Center and are part of owners of the L.A. Lakers and L.A. Kings.

HURDLES: Potential airspace issues involving the Federal Aviation Administration. The project could eliminate the McCarran International Airport traffic egress on Swenson Street.

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Las Vegas Arena Foundation/Caesars Entertainment arena

LOCATION: East of Imperial Palace, on 13 acres owned by Caesars Entertainment Corp.

CORPORATE SPONSOR: Las Vegas Arena Foundation, Las Vegas — a nonprofit corporation formed specifically to develop an arena on land donated by Caesars Entertainment.

PUBLIC FACE: Foundation President Bruce Woodbury, a former longtime county commissioner

PRICE TAG: $500 million

PUBLIC MONEY: 0.9 percent sales and use tax for the resort corridor

THE PROPOSAL: Would bring a 20,000-seat venue for NBA basketball and NHL hockey to the heart of the Strip. Backers say it would host concerts and other events.

HURDLES: Initiative vote wouldn’t occur until November 2012; gaming giant MGM Resorts International is leading a legal challenge against the plan.

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Olympia Group arena proposal

LOCATION: Las Vegas Boulevard South and Cactus Avenue

CORPORATE SPONSOR: Olympia Group, Las Vegas

PUBLIC FACE: Olympia Group CEO Garry Goett

PRICE TAG: $600 million

PUBLIC MONEY: Sales and use tax

THE PROPOSAL: The 20,000-seat arena is proposed as home to NBA basketball and NHL hockey. The 240-acre site owned by Olympia Group, offers plenty of room and is a potential draw to the far south end of Las Vegas Boulevard.

HURDLES: Project appears to have lost traction amid the flurry of arena proposals. The site is several miles from the Strip and downtown properties.

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  1. I would liked to see the University officials concentrate on education instead of entertaining the expansion of sporting interest. This proposed arena will enrich other through the financing during construction.

    Here we are struggling to find dollars to improve our education system, not to mention Gov. Sandoval wants to cut funding for education instead of doing the right, make painful decisions, leadership decisions to raise taxes, like we know must happen to improve our education system. Instead we are fixed on the distraction of building an arena UNLV current cannot fill the arena we have now.

    Where is hell are the real leaders in this community? When will Las Vegas, and Nevada wake up and be part of a progressive movement and start thinking about people instead of making money for a select group that don't even live in Las Vegas nor have any interest in the future of Las Vegas, or Nevada, instead of seeing our town and us as a one night-stand! Where are the leaders?

    We need someone with a voice that will speak for the residents in this valley and not the same old special interest that leaves us holding a bag of empty promises. Where are the real leaders in this town?

  2. Here's where I stand on this if there is any public involvement rather it be land, special tax, or public coffers then the public should own it all and not make any deals with no one else, No partnerships.
    I know I read in the Nevada constitution it's clear that public and private partnerships are prohibited.
    Why can't the ones that stand to make money on this start up a Real Estate Investment Trust to fund this and leave the tax payers out of it, Put the shares up for sale on the stock market, I will tell you why? because they can't make money with out being subsidized by the government ie YOU.

  3. Good words from a responsible thinking resident. A voting resident most likely, that can make a difference, a difference that is long over due. We need not waste our vote like we have in the past and really look at how officials in the power postions are conducting business. With so many people out of work, hopefully, these people now have time to reflect on the past and get involved to make changes now for the future.

    This sport arena stuff and cutting the education funding needs more invovlement from us the voters. We need to get involved and stand involved and stand involved with a demanding voice, our vote and our participation.

  4. Build all seven!

    We could be Arena City!

  5. All of these proposals are of a social program nature.

  6. Some of the comments are very valid, either the public owns it or we don't pay for it. pure and simple. Now if some enterprise wants to build something with their own or borrowed money that is their business, that is the American right way of doing things. Asking the public to pick up any part of the tab without a guarantee of returns, i.e. profits coming back to the public is never justified. There is no history anywhere in the US of a sports venue paying back to the public what it takes to build and operate and the few hundred to maybe few thousand jobs does not justify it either.

    Pay your own way, stand on your own feet reap the profits for yourself, but if you want public funds and land then you better make the public the #1 debtor and payee, even before the core investors otherwise event management always finds ways to pay it self but always come up short for the publics interests.

    Now on last thought, who in their right mind would build another open air venue? This is Nevada, it's hot, part of why so many people hate the SIlver bowl is because it's so uncomfortable even at night after soaking in the heat all day and then radiating back out the seating is terribly hot and the structure itself is like going to a sports event in a heated oven.

    Okay make it have a movable roof like the Brewers stadium in Wisconsin so for the few good months of moderate weather it can be opened, but an open air venue will mostly remain unused 4-6 months of the year.