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Clock Ticking Down For Stadium Decision

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Doug Puppel

Laborers Local 872 members get fired up at a tailgate party to show their support for constructing a domed stadium in Las Vegas. The union rallied outside the June 23 meeting of the Southern Nevada Tourism Infrastructure Committee.

Time is running out for the Southern Nevada Tourism Infrastructure Committee, which is studying proposals to expand the Las Vegas Convention Center and build an NFL-ready domed stadium.

The panel’s recommendations are due in Carson City at the end of the month, one year after Gov. Brian Sandoval created the committee to identify tourism-related improvement needs and suggest how to pay for them.

At its meeting Monday, the committee voted to support raising hotel taxes to expand and renovate the Las Vegas Convention Center. The lodging tax would go up by half a percentage point in Clark County. The money would expand the convention center by at least 600,000 square feet.

The committee also heard back from stadium supporters on the latest financing and location discussions.

According to Vegas Inc., backers told the committee that the total cost of developing the stadium, including the land, parking lots and additional infrastructure, could be as much as $2.1 billion. 

Support comes from

The original proposal by the Oakland Raiders, Las Vegas Sands and Majestic Realty set the price for the stadium at $1.45 billion. 

Still undecided, though, is how much, if any, taxpayer money will go into the project, but the public money amount sought by backers of the project still sits at $750 million. 

The final price tag for the stadium could depend on where it is built. 

Supporters identified nine different sites that the proposed stadium could be built, during Monday's meeting. 

The list included 42 acres at Tropicana Avenue and Koval Lane currently owned by UNLV, MGM Resorts International's festival site on the north end of the Strip across from the SLS Las Vegas, the former site of the Riviera Hotel-Casino, and Cashman Center. 

Vincent Bonsignore is a sports columnist for Los Angeles Daily News. He has written several articles about the proposed stadium. He told KNPR's State of Nevada that unlike other sports stadiums in other cities that created divisiveness he sees agreement in Las Vegas.

“What I sense is that there is motivation and appetite on both sides from the public sector and the private sector to make this happen,” Bonsignore said. “There seems to be a genuine motivation to make something happen.”


 
“What I sense is that there is motivation and appetite on both sides from the public sector and the private sector to make this happen,” Bonsignore said. “There seems to be a genuine motivation to make something happen.”

Unlike Los Angeles, which wanted a team after the Rams and Raiders left, but couldn't get a commitment, Las Vegas already has a commitment from one of the biggest franchises in the NFL. 

“Now you have the Oakland Raiders… that are committed to Las Vegas pending a stadium," he said, "I can’t tell you how enormous that is and what a lynch pin that is for a deal like this.”

Bonsignore does not believe all the talk of moving to Las Vegas is really for ears in California.

“As we stand now, this is not a ploy to motivate Oakland in any way, shape or form,” he said. 

Bonsignore said Raiders' owner Mark Davis is looking to build the future of his team and needs a new home to do that.

If that new home is built in Las Vegas, the Laborers Local 872 say they want to be a part of it.

Tommy White is the business manager and secretary-treasurer for the union. He said the members are excited about the idea of a stadium.

“Building a stadium of this size is not only going to create jobs, it’s going to create memories," he said.

White and the union also support the expansion of the convention center.

“We need the stadium. We need the convention center,” he said.

Economist John Restrepo also supports the idea of a stadium; however, he said the committee needs to make sure it doesn't conflict with the modernization and expansion of the convention center.

“We have a convention industry that is really critical to us,” he said, “These projects need to be looked at in a context of what can grow the economy, help diversify it in the long term."

Restrepo said there are a lot of questions left to be asked and answered about the stadium. 

“These are the kind of questions that need to be asked: What are the tradeoffs? What are the weighting of impacts and benefits to the community? What it contributes to the long term growth of the economy, the diversification of the economy?”

He said the projects, both the convention center and the stadium, need to be looked at in the overall context of the economy and the tax system we have currently. 

Restrepo said economists can look at studies of past public-private partnerships, stadium deals and convention center expansions to determine what has worked and what hasn't worked. 

In the end, the Legislature still has to approve any plans for the stadium and 24 of 32 NFL team owners would also have to approve the Raiders moving to Las Vegas.

KNPR's State of Nevada
May 24, 2016

Dome Means Nevada?

Guests

Vincent Bonsignore, Los Angeles Daily News sports columnist; Tommy White, business manager and secretary-treasurer for Laborers Local 872 in Las Vegas; John Restrepo, economist and business consultant

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KNPR's State of Nevada
May 24, 2016

Dome Means Nevada?

KNPR
KNPR's State of Nevada