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October 22, 2014

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Proposed Henderson arena keeps clearing hurdles

With financing in place, a proposed indoor arena in Henderson is gaining momentum, and construction could begin as early as October, developer Chris Milam told the city council Tuesday night.

Plans for the multibillion-dollar Las Vegas National Sports Complex, which could eventually comprise four stadiums on 485 acres of federally owned land near the M Resort and Interstate 15 in Henderson, were unveiled in September.

Milam, who is leading the effort, said a $650 million construction loan needed to build the first stadium — a 17,500 seat enclosed arena that would host events and possibly a professional basketball franchise — was approved last week by the investment committee of China Security & Surveillance Technology Inc., a company based in Shenzhen, China.

Although details need to be worked through before a final agreement is signed, Milam confidently proclaimed that the financing has been “fully approved.”

The next major step for the arena comes June 4, when the developer must submit a bid to purchase the land, appraised at roughly $10 million, to the Bureau of Land Management.

Milam’s presentation came as the city council debated an amendment to the stadium’s master plan agreement that strengthens protections for the city should the project go belly up.

The amendment, approved unanimously by the council with Councilman John Marz absent, gives the city the right to purchase the land if the developer hasn’t made significant progress finalizing financial, planning and legal details by March 2013, director of utility services Dennis Porter said.

The city would also have the option to buy the land before it could be sold to any third parties, Porter said, and if a third-party sale does occur, the city would receive any net proceeds, preventing the developer from flipping the property for a profit.

Initial plans for the complex called for the indoor arena and an outdoor stadium suitable for a professional soccer franchise to be built concurrently at a cost of $1.3 billion.

Milam said his company has decided to focus strictly on the indoor arena at this point due to the large amount of work needed to prepare for building and opening the facility.

If the land sale goes smoothly and financing is fully secured, Milam said he hopes to start construction in October, with the arena targeted to open in September 2014.

Development of the soccer stadium, as well as a potential baseball stadium and a 63,500 seat domed stadium suitable for professional football, would follow after the arena opens, Milam said.

The project is not contingent on an NBA team relocating to Las Vegas, but discussions with two franchises are ongoing, with the potential to add a third, Milam said.

Mayor Andy Hafen expressed his support for the project, but underscored that the city is doing everything possible to minimize risk to Henderson taxpayers.

“I’ve said it all along: What community, what mayor wouldn’t want a project like this in their city?” he said. “We’ve done our due diligence and we’ll continue to do our due diligence. I think that if things fall into place and we get this thing going, it will be a boon for Henderson for years and years to come.”

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  1. Nice work Chris. We've been talking about ways to diversify our economy and this fits right in!

  2. Perhaps high finance eludes me, but would someone please explain how a small Chinese company with about $20 Million in annual sales is going to finance $650 Million in construction costs -- and why they would do such a thing for a stadium at the south end of the valley.

  3. Leric Goodman:

    That particular company is just one entity of an umbrella corporation in China. Mr. Milam will be developing this project with the financing from the potential NBA team relocating here.

    Now, with the Maloofs having rejected the new arena proposal in Sacramento, it opens the door for the Kings to relocate here in 2014 or sooner. They may instead move to Anaheim since revenues playing there will be much higher. If anybody has ever been to Sacramento, its simply a poor market for a professional sports team. At least Vegas has an industry and possibly more industries relocating here to attract a team. Zappos could buy the naming rights to the new arena. They are a multi billion dollar non-gaming business based all over downtown Las Vegas. All Sacramento has is the California state government there.

  4. if this town is ever going to be a legitimate city (I understand there are many who don't want that for Vegas)...this is a HUGE step in the right direction

  5. I can't believe that people are using the 'heat' over the nba 'all-star' weekend to whine about having a team here in Vegas. Such an ironic complaint from a citizen of 'sin city'...hilarious...because this town is so 'mellow' otherwise..right?

  6. The More Diversification we have for Locals and Entertainment Options away from the Casinos - The Better. Let The Casinos compete for the Tourist Dollar. "Local Casinos" have tightened their machines and Comps to the point that they are no longer Fun and they No longer deserve our Limited Discretionary Dollars.