SBD/March 28, 2013/Facilities

UNLV Drops Majestic Realty From Stadium Project Amid Skepticism From Resort Industy

Majestic Realty had committed $360M to the 60,000-seat UNLV Now project
UNLV yesterday "made a radical move" in its bid to complete the 60,000-seat UNLV Now stadium project by "dumping its deep-pocket private partner, Majestic Realty," according to a front-page piece by Alan Snel of the LAS VEGAS REVIEW-JOURNAL. UNLV's decision "came as a major surprise," as Majestic had committed $360M to the estimated $800-900M project. UNLV College of Hotel Administration Dean and UNLV Now project head Don Snyder said that the school "needed to drop Majestic because the private developer made it too difficult to win support from the Las Vegas resort industry." Snyder: "Having a third party was going to be a challenge. Having a private developer in the middle created confusion and angst for the stakeholders as far as what they would get out of the deal." He added UNLV will have "more flexibility in regard to financing" the project with Majestic not involved. Snel reports Majestic will be "out of the mix effective May 27." Silverton Casino President and Majestic point man Craig Cavileer said, "We’re disappointed that we won’t be side-by-side in pursuing this project, and we’re perplexed at the rationale. We have not received an answer" (LAS VEGAS REVIEW-JOURNAL, 3/28). In Las Vegas, Paul Takahashi notes the announcement ends a "nearly three-year exclusive partnership." Snyder said that there were "concerns from the Strip resort industry about Majestic's role in the project, especially over how much the company ... stood to gain from its exclusive partnership with the university." He added that by dropping Majestic, the school "hoped to garner support from the wider resort community." Snyder said that the stadium will "remain a public-private partnership, but the private partner will be the resort industry, in general" (LAS VEGAS SUN, 3/28).

MGM GOING GRAND? In Las Vegas, Norm Clarke noted MGM Resorts Chair & CEO Jim Murren this week spoke "at length" about his company's planned basketball arena for the "first time since it was announced four weeks ago." Murren "acknowledged he 'struggled' with the arena issue for a decade before taking the plunge." He said, "We were trying to find the right location, the right partners, the right time. I think we've accomplished these objectives." Clarke noted if the new arena's capacity exceeds 22,700 it would "give Las Vegas the largest basketball arena in the West." Only the 34,616-seat Carrier Dome in Syracuse, N.Y., and the 23,500-seat Rupp Arena in Lexington, Ky., "would be larger." Murren said that the business model "is not predicated on having either a professional sports team or a college tournament" (REVIEWJOURNAL.com, 3/27).
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