Majestic proposes its own $770m UNLV stadium plan, because Vegas

Sad that we no longer have the crazy Seattle-Sacramento bidding war over the Kings to provide us with daily entertainment? Fear not, for there’s still the utter insanity that is Las Vegas and its umpteen stadium plans for teams that may or may not ever exist. Or rather, make that umpteen plus one:

Just two months after UNLV dumped Majestic Realty as a partner in a new stadium, Majestic is pushing an alternative that would bypass the university and instead partner with the state itself.

Craig Cavileer, Majestic’s point-man on the project, said his company will commit $385 million toward the $770 million project. In recent weeks he has been quietly lobbying lawmakers and Gov. Brian Sandoval, seeking support for a $1.50 per trip taxi fee in the Las Vegas area that would pay the state’s half of construction costs.

This article is accompanied by renderings of the proposed Majestic stadium, which seems to include the superstructure for a retractable roof of some kind, though given that it’s not even clear where the drawings came from, it’s probably best not to take them too seriously at the moment.

The Las Vegas Sun raves that the Majestic plan would be cheaper than UNLV’s plan ($770 million vs. $800-900 million), simpler (because all the money would come from Majestic and the state of Nevada, as opposed to UNLV, the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority and local casinos), and “fair” (because Majestic and the state would evenly split costs and profits, though it’s not entirely clear how “profits” would be determined). On the down side, state assembly leaders hate the idea, with majority leader William Horne saying that “trying to float such an endeavor at this late hour with a $1.50 cab ride fee in there has almost zero chance of happening” and calling the Majestic plan “sour grapes because they are not part of the project anymore.” Plus UNLV doesn’t want to do it.

Still, total lack of support has never been a reason for Vegas to back off of stadium plans before, so why start now? At least now we can all look forward to months and months of posturing by the two competing stadium proposals, if we’re lucky. Because when you’re talking about spending almost a billion dollars on a college football stadium, really the most important question is “Which developer should we provide with state money to help build it?”


8 comments on “Majestic proposes its own $770m UNLV stadium plan, because Vegas

  1. Gotta love how the “profits” would only be calculated after Majestic takes a 12% return on their $150 million equity investment.

  2. So I guess the NFL stadium in Industry that Majestic was pushing is dead???

  3. At some point, I’m going to have to admit that I overestimated Vegas.

    Oops, I think I just did.

  4. Maybe the various governments in the US have actually started a new WPA and just didn’t announce it to the taxpayers who are funding it? That would explain a lot.

    Only this time, poor people can’t get the jobs jobs, only major construction and design companies can be considered. And the only eligible projects are sports stadia who’s main beneficiaries are already billionaires, automobile companies who make cars no-one wants, and banks who willingly choose high risk investments and lose their depositor’s cash.

    Welcome to the Monkeyhouse.

  5. Ben:

    It’s not really that different than what Ricketts is doing. He overpaid (by some $200m) for an asset. He now demands concessions and/or funding to renovate the place so he can earn the ROI he wants on the asset he paid too much to get.

    Why is a lower ROI as a result of overpaying anyone else’s problem but his? If he didn’t think the Cubs could earn 10% on an $885m investment, why did he bid $885m?

    Unfortunately, we seem to take for granted the notion that any billionaire must be guaranteed his vig, no matter how badly he has invested or manages his business. And we have no problem cutting bus routes that allow single mothers on welfare to get to their 3 – $7/hr temp jobs with no benefits to achieve that noble public goal.

  6. JB: Difference is saying the “profits” come after the 12% return. And I don’t think Ricketts overpaid. He is trying to increase the value of what he bought. Whether he overpaid or not is a separate issue. And what does that have to do w/ Majestic in LV, anyway?

  7. It’s the same.

    Sports owners love to say “my team is losing millions and you have to fill that gap” but categorically refuse to open the books to prove they are losing millions. If they did, we’d all see that the losses exist only on paper (and generally only show up after “owners return on equity/investment” is calculated in, as well as the expenses incurred in the owner travelling to watch his team play from his home in Aspen, Monaco or Kennebunkport)

    Majestic in LV (or LA) are trying to do the very same thing… their ROI is assured (in fact, it’s generally guaranteed as part of the taxpayer subsidy). Those of us who own and operate businesses understand that the real world doesn’t work like that. What you have left over when all the bills are paid is what you earn. Some years you don’t seem to work all that hard and earn reasonably well. Some years you work like hell and have little or nothing to show for it at the end.

    That’s being a business owner. Unless you are in the sports extortion game.