Las Vegas Sun

November 25, 2014

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First look: Proposed soccer stadium for downtown will have retractable roof, air conditioning

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Rendering of the proposed MLS stadium in downtown Las Vegas.

On those 100-plus-degree Las Vegas summer evenings, it will feel like the temperature is in the low 80s for soccer players and fans inside the stadium at Symphony Park in downtown Las Vegas.

The Findlay Sports and Entertainment Group and developer the Cordish Cos. realize a big hurdle in their quest to bring a MLS expansion franchise to Las Vegas is building a suitable facility to manage the desert heat.

In artist renderings released today to the Sun, the 24,000-seat stadium appears to do that — there’s a vinyl retractable roof, and air-conditioning ducts every three rows in the stands. All seats can be shaded.

On game days, the roof will be closed during the day with air conditioning blasting to keep the facility cool. The playing surface will be turf and the sides of the stadium are open. It’s similar in look to Centre Court at Wimbledon.

Plans aren’t final and could be altered before the group goes before Las Vegas City Council on Aug. 20. That’s when council will review the groups’ financing plan and vote whether to give them the green light to move forward. If the council votes against the project, it would be dead. If approved, the group expects to hear from MLS by the end of the year.

Findlay officials haven’t disclosed how much the stadium would cost, or how much public money would be required.

The cost of new soccer stadiums in other MLS cities have ranged from $70 million for an open-air facility in San Jose to $200 million for open-air facilities in Kansas City and New York.

Public money for a Las Vegas soccer stadium would come from bonds, which would be repaid from a sales-tax district. The tax collected on the sale of tickets to events at the stadium or food sold at those events would help pay off the bonds.

“We aren’t looking to increase anyone’s taxes,” said Justin Findlay, head of the Findlay Sports and Entertainment Group, and the driving force behind the project.

Las Vegas is competing with Sacramento, Minneapolis, Austin, Texas, and San Antonio for an MLS expansion franchise.

Ray Brewer can be reached at 990-2662 or [email protected]. Follow Ray on Twitter at twitter.com/raybrewer21.

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