Las Vegas still has more stadium and arena plans than it knows what to do with

Yesterday’s Las Vegas Sun has a rundown of the various stadium and arena proposals simmering in that city, and their current status. The summary:

  • The Cordish Companies, which signed a deal with the Las Vegas city council in 2010 to build a $412 million arena and entertainment complex, still hasn’t come up with a financing plan, and “did not respond to requests to update progress on the proposal.”
  • Caesars Entertainment has its own plan for a $500 million arena, which it wants to pay for by establishing a special taxing district with a 0.9% sales tax surcharge in a three-mile radius around the arena, and getting the taxes kicked back to pay for the new facility. A statewide referendum to approve the plan is on the November ballot, but the state supreme court is set to rule on whether the petitioning process was invalid because the petitions didn’t specify where the arena (and the tax district) would go.
  • UNLV and Majestic Realty say they’re moving ahead with their $2 billion UNLV Now project, which includes a 50,000-seat domed football stadium, student housing, and a “retail district.” UNLV property is currently exempt from sales taxes; to pay for the construction, the university wants to be allowed to levy sales taxes in the new stadium district, and keep the money itself. A bill in the state legislature to allow this is expected to be considered in early 2013.
  • Chris Milam is still pushing for his latest development plan, which would build three stadiums and an arena — plus what looks like either a tennis stadium or a chafing dish — in nearby Henderson. Milam says he will borrow $650 million at 20% interest from “a Chinese company that makes surveillance equipment,” plus Henderson would sell construction bonds, and after that it gets hazy. The Sun doesn’t say whether Milam is still looking to get property and sales taxes kicked back to help pay for his project.

Of the four, the Sun predicts that the UNLV proposal has the best chance of passage, and an accompanying editorial endorses the plan as well, writing: “The stadium would elevate the sports program, distinguish the campus and boost the Southern Nevada economy. What’s not to like?” Well, a party pooper could point out that if the UNLV development gets some students spending money in a retail strip with taxes that go to the university, instead of off-campus where their sales taxes would go to the state, that’s a public cost. But the Sun says that the UNLV plan “faces no organized opposition,” so guess no one wants to poop the party.


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