Las Vegas Arena Project Extension Reveals Deep Divide Among Local Parties
A 4-3 Las Vegas City Council vote to give Baltimore-based Cordish Cos. "another four months -- after four years of planning -- to finish its funding plan" for a $390M arena project revealed "deep divides between the downtown business community and city hall, and between council members who disagree on the propriety of investing public money in a home for a sports franchise," according to Benjamin Spillman of the LAS VEGAS REVIEW-JOURNAL. It was a "bloody victory for the pro-arena faction," who "savor the prospect of attracting big league basketball and hockey to a pro sports backwater." The debate also "laid bare the hard fact" that the current financial plan falls $52M short of the estimated cost, with "no obvious way of filling the gap." Given the "hard feelings aired during public testimony, it’s hard to imagine major downtown players volunteering to help" (LAS VEGAS REVIEW-JOURNAL, 1/23). Las Vegas City Manager Betsy Fretwell said that the city will have to "hire an outside attorney at an estimated cost of $100,000 to provide legal counsel on negotiations with Cordish related to the arena project." In Las Vegas, Conor Shine noted reps from several downtown organizations, including Boyd Gaming and the Downtown Las Vegas Alliance, which "represents dozens of downtown businesses, spoke out against the use of public funds for the arena and criticized the city’s lack of engagement with the broader community on the project" (LAS VEGAS SUN, 1/23).