Las Vegas wants to build an NHL-ready arena

Jul 15, 2012, 2:32 PM EST

Las Vegas arena design

While Quebec City is busy building a potential future home for the NHL and Seattle is looking to build a new arena of their own, you can add Las Vegas to the list of places looking to attract a franchise.

The Las Vegas Sun (h/t Kukla’s) reports that the Las Vegas Arena Foundation has proposed a 20,000 seat arena to be built on the Strip in Sin City in hopes of providing a home for either/both the NBA or NHL to move to. The Foundation wants to fund building the arena thanks to a sales tax hike to help pay off the $500 million estimated cost.

The Sun report says the proposed arena would have 94 luxury suites to go along with the 20,000 seats making it an ideal setup for a team to call it their home. Major professional leagues have been wary to pursue Las Vegas, however, thanks to that whole legalized gambling thing in Nevada.

As for the NHL’s interests in Vegas, the annual NHL Awards call the city home as does big time hockey fan Jerry Bruckheimer who has had ownership aspirations in the past. Vegas joins Quebec City, Seattle, Brooklyn, and Kansas City as potential future landing spots for the NHL either via relocation or expansion.
Las Vegas Arena


A privately funded $1.3 billion arena with a retractable roof has been proposed at the former Wet ‘n’ Wild site on the Strip.

Former UNLV and NBA player Jackie Robinson, a Las Vegas businessman, announced today plans to break ground next year on the 22,000-seat arena that could house basketball, hockey, boxing, rodeos and concerts.

No tenants have been signed for the arena, but Robinson has ties to the NBA and has interest in bringing a team to Las Vegas. He said the arena would be large enough to play host to NCAA regional basketball tournaments.

Developers have tentatively named the project the All Net Arena and Resort, and the project would include a high-end resort with a spa. A promenade called Victory Plaza would lead visitors from Las Vegas Boulevard past lush landscaping and water features to a restaurant, nightclub, wedding chapel and retail amenities as well as the arena.

The four-level arena would include 75 luxury boxes: 25 1,000-square-foot executive suites and 50 500-square-foot corporate suites.

The retractable roof would enable the arena to host traditionally outdoor events such as tennis matches and rodeos, or indoor sports such as basketball and hockey.

“I’m really excited about this,” Robinson said today. “I started on this about four or five years ago, and at the time, the economic conditions didn’t help. So we just waited for the right time. We have proper financing in place, the economy is moving in the right direction and our lenders are saying now is the time.”

Robinson said he and his lenders would meet with representatives of the Clark County Commission in the weeks ahead to answer questions and resolve any problems, including parking.

The 862,500-square-foot arena would be built on 27 acres between the yet-to-open SLS Las Vegas and the dormant Fontainebleau project site.

Robinson said he has a team of financial backers that includes several banks and international and domestic lenders. He also said the project qualifies under U.S. Department of Commerce and EB-5 Immigrant Investor jobs and capital investment programs. Robinson estimates the project would result in more than 19,000 construction, arena and hotel operation jobs, and the project is supported by the federal Minority Business Development Agency.

No tax money would be used for the project, but the program would qualify the developers for tax credits.

Robinson has hired Minneapolis-based Cuningham Group Architecture, which has an office in Las Vegas.

Brett Ewing, director of resort development for Cuningham’s Las Vegas office, has been hired as the project architect and is wrapping up negotiations with a high-profile sports architect for the arena.

Legendary UNLV basketball coach Jerry Tarkanian recruited Robinson, who played for the Runnin’ Rebels from 1973-78. He ranks 10th in UNLV career rebounds with 669 and 19th in scoring with 1,258 points. He redshirted one season because of an ankle injury — the season UNLV went to the Final Four in 1976-77.

He played four years in the NBA with Seattle, Detroit and Chicago, playing for the SuperSonics team that won the NBA title in 1979 and five years in Europe after his NBA career.

Robinson held executive positions in several Las Vegas companies that worked in retail, real estate, construction, credit, and the food and beverage industries. He was a one-time owner of the Las Vegas Silver Bandits of the defunct International Basketball League.

The All Net Arena site was once the proposed location of the Silver State Arena, a project pushed by Texas developer Chris Milam, who had earlier envisioned it as the site of the Las Vegas Tower, a massive high-rise hotel development.

Another arena is planned on the opposite end of the Strip. MGM Resorts International is partnering with sports and entertainment promoter AEG on a 20,000-seat indoor facility between New York-New York and the Monte Carlo.

A group also is meeting at UNLV to consider a football stadium on the campus. The group hasn’t determined the size of the facility or whether it would be a domed stadium.


Four Las Vegas Arena Proposals All Call For Public Financing

Las Vegas Arena
Four Applicants Have Presented Their Plans
For A New Las Vegas Sports Arena

Four applicants yesterday presented their plans for a new Las Vegas sports arena “with competitive zeal, but their enthusiasm drew a guarded response from most” Clark County (NV) commissioners, who “expressed misgivings about publicly financing an arena,” according to Scott Wyland of the LAS VEGAS REVIEW-JOURNAL. Each proposal calls for public funding to build arenas with at least 20,000 seats that “could house professional basketball, hockey, rodeo and other events.” Texas-based IDM Properties proposed a $750M arena “on the former Wet ‘n Wild site off Sahara Avenue,” while Las Vegas Arena Foundation wants to build a $488M arena “on property that Harrah’s Entertainment Inc. owns behind Imperial Palace.” Developer Garry Goett proposed a $600M arena “on 260 acres he owns near Las Vegas Boulevard, south of the Strip.” Commissioners also heard from Cordish Co., which “aims to develop an arena downtown.” The arena foundation and Goett each “want to fund their projects with bonds and a sales tax imposed in the resort corridor,” while IDM Properties President Chris Milam said that his project “would require no new taxes and instead would use redevelopment for its intended purpose: to boost a blighted area.” County commissioners have asked staff members to “research the feasibility and legality of certain proposed methods of funding.” They also “agreed to have staff work with two applicants to craft advisory questions for voters about imposing a sales tax on the resort corridor.” Commissioner Larry Brown believes that the Las Vegas market “isn’t large enough to support a top-tier pro team.” But Commissioner Tom Collins “expressed strong support for publicly funding a sports arena” (LAS VEGAS REVIEW-JOURNAL, 5/19).

RISKY BUSINESS: MGM Mirage CMO Bill Hornbuckle yesterday told county commissioners that the company “is in ‘strong opposition’ of any arena proposal that requires public financing.” Hornbuckle said that MGM “isn’t opposed to having more arenas in the area, but giving one group public financing would be an unfair competitive advantage.” Hornbuckle: “None of the arena proponents today is willing to take the same risk MGM Mirage, Mandalay Resort Group, Boyd Gaming and Coast Casinos made when they built their own permanent arenas using 100 percent privately funded dollars. None of the proponents are willing to build an arena unless the public shoulders the risk” (LAS VEGAS SUN, 5/19).

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