SBD/February 15, 2013/Facilities

MGM Resorts Changes Position, Comes Out Against UNLVNow Stadium Project

MGM previously had pledged $20M to the UNLVNow Stadium
UNLV's effort to build a 60,000-seat domed stadium has a $360M commitment from Majestic Realty but is "facing stiff opposition from one of Las Vegas' biggest resort companies,” according to Alan Snel of the LAS VEGAS REVIEW-JOURNAL. MGM Resorts Int'l, which owns “10 major hotel-casinos on the Strip," earlier had pledged $20M to the UNLV project "but on Wednesday issued a statement opposing" the $900M venue. The statement read, "We cannot support the current UNLVNow concept, as it has grown too expensive for our community to support. We continue to support an on-campus stadium for UNLV that is appropriately configured and responsibly financed.” Sources said that Majestic Realty President & Chair Ed Roski has agreed to pay $360M, or "no more than" 40% of a $900M total expense. UNLV College of Hotel Administration Dean and project head Don Snyder said that the school “hopes to establish a special taxing district covering the campus as a way to pay some of its share but is still searching for more public funding options and is looking at ways to trim the project's cost.” Snyder said that UNLV with no final funding plan in place has “canceled a Feb. 22 workshop at which the Board of Regents was to discuss the project.” He added a regents vote “scheduled for the end of the month has been shelved.” Snyder said, "It's a big project. It's a complex project. It's more important to get it right than to be tied to a certain date or time line." He said that he is “comfortable" with the 40%-60% private-public split. He noted other "major campus facilities were built in the same way” (LAS VEGAS REVIEW-JOURNAL, 2/14).

HOPPING OFF THE TRAIN: In Las Vegas, Paul Takahashi reports the Nevada Resort Association and Las Vegas Convention & Visitors Authority also “tempered their endorsement” of the project. The LVCVA, from which stadium officials are planning to seek $125M, said that its "first priority would be refurbishing the Las Vegas Convention Center, not funding the stadium.” Snyder said, "This certainly slows us down and sets us back. But it's not unusual in a project of this magnitude and complexity." Takahashi noted further delays “in the cost and funding projections for the stadium could derail the bill in the budget-sensitive Legislature.” If lawmakers “fail to pass a bill this session, it could stall the stadium's construction for another two years” (LAS VEGAS SUN, 2/15).
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