Las Vegas Review-Journal
It’s a daunting task keeping up with all those stadium, arena and ballpark proposals in the Las Vegas area. As a service for those keeping score, here’s a lineup of proposed venues and where they’re at.
MGM Resorts International-Anschutz Entertainment Group Arena
“We’re gonna build that sucker”
For once, someone came through on a promise to build a big-time arena in Las Vegas. MGM Resorts International finance executive Rick Arpin uttered those words at a luncheon, and MGM and its high-powered Los Angeles-based partner, AEG, have done what they said they would.
The privately financed $375 million arena that is shoehorned on 14.5 acres behind the New York-New York garage is set to open in April. The arena has also been a key driver in Bill Foley’s bid for Las Vegas’ first major-league sports team — a National Hockey League franchise that could be approved by the NHL Board of Governors in January to start in 2017-18.
MGM-AEG has staged promotional milestone events during construction such as a topping-off ceremony in April when the last beam was installed.
Now, it’s just a matter of picking the event to inaugurate the building next spring.
Jackie Robinson Arena Next to SLS Las Vegas
Not much construction
In late October 2014, Las Vegas businessman Jackie Robinson celebrated the groundbreaking of his $1.4 billion arena and hotel project on the north end of the Strip.
Unfortunately for the former UNLV and NBA basketball player, there has not been much else to celebrate.
Since the groundbreaking for the retractable rook arena more than eight months ago, there have been no signs of construction of the $690 million, 22,000-seat arena and 500-room nongambling hotel.
But a proposed development agreement between Robinson and Clark County is expected to go before the Clark County commissioners in September.
Thomas & Mack Center
$72 million renovation gives arena new life
Las Vegas’ long-time signature sports and entertainment arena on the University of Nevada, Las Vegas campus is undergoing a $72 million rehab job that will widen the concourse, add bathrooms and create better traffic flow.
It’s no small project. That kind of money can easily build a new Triple-A baseball park for the Las Vegas 51s with $20 million to spare.
But TMC will soon be competing against a new arena two miles away on the Strip, so it was time to make some improvements. TMC did score a big win when Las Vegas Events and the arena signed a deal to keep the National Finals Rodeo at Thomas & Mack. And the arena also plays host to another major event — the NBA Summer League, which shattered attendance records in July.
But Thomas & Mack did suffer a loss when Professional Bull Riders moved its World Finals to the new MGM-AEG arena starting in 2016.
Las Vegas 51s Ballpark
Triple-A baseball in Summerlin?
The 51s play at Cashman Field, which team owners say is antiquated and lacking amenities offered at other Triple-A baseball parks. The concourse is narrow, most of the seats are actually metal benches, and players would like nicer training facilities such as an indoor batting cage. And there’s the smelly issue of a backed-up sewer line.
The new owners, Summerlin Las Vegas Baseball Club LLC, floated a proposal asking the city, Clark County and the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority to join forces and fund a new ballpark in Summerlin. But that trio, so far, is not interested in using public dollars for a new 51s ballpark.
So, don’t be surprised if the team owners — Summerlin community developer Howard Hughes Corp. and investors Chris Kaempfer, Steve Mack and Bart Wear — build their own ballpark near Red Rock Resort and Downtown Summerlin in four years or so.
There is no rush because the 51s owners have a lease to play at Cashman Field through 2022 and can escape by giving a year notice to its Cashman landlord, the LVCVA.
Cashman Field and Pro Soccer in Las Vegas?
Proposal is floated to redevelop Cashman Field into soccer venue
While the 51s are not big fans of Cashman Field, there is a development group pitching the city on rebuilding Cashman into a soccer venue as a step toward drawing a Major League Soccer team to Las Vegas. The development team includes Scott Watt and Bob Schulman of Watt Companies, Laus Abdo of AGP Capital and Jason Ader of Ader Investment Management.
The group wants to redevelop Cashman Field for soccer and also rebuild the stretch of Las Vegas Boulevard from U.S. 95 to Cashman for housing, offices and retail.
Their plan follows the city of Las Vegas’s unsuccessful proposal earlier this year to use public dollars to help build a soccer stadium in Symphony Park for a possible Major League Soccer team. The bid ended in February when MLS dropped Las Vegas from its expansion list.
But Mayor Carolyn Goodman, who would love a major league team in the city, said she’s willing to hear more about the Cashman Field soccer proposal.
UNLV Football Stadium
Stadium? How about just buying the land for now
Before UNLV starts lobbying and fundraising for a $523 million, 45,000-seat campus football stadium, the university has to first buy the land for the venue.
And that’s no easy job.
The university’s nonprofit fundraising arm, the UNLV Foundation, has an option to buy 42 acres at Tropicana Avenue and Koval Lane by Dec. 18, and then the foundation would transfer the option on the property to UNLV.
But where will the $50 million come from?
UNLV is working on that.
The football stadium is also taking a back seat to priority No. 1 at UNLV — finding funding for a new medical school.
So, expect the UNLV football team to continue playing its games at Sam Boyd Stadium, a functional stadium with not too many fancy amenities, for the foreseeable future.