Deal for stadium called dead


The deal to buy land west of Interstate 15 for a three-stadium sports complex has collapsed, ending a Texas developer's plans for the $1.95 billion project across from Mandalay Bay.

John Knott, executive vice president of the CB Richard Ellis Global Gaming Group, who was brokering the deal, said Wednesday the 63-acre sale to Christopher Milam had been canceled.

"The discussions ended. It's not happening," Knott said, blaming the collapse on the Nevada Legislature's failure to approve a bill that would have allowed Clark County to create a special taxing district for one of three alternate and competing Las Vegas stadium projects.

The special taxing district would have allowed a 12 percent event sales tax to help pay for construction.

"It's unfortunate that the state did this and let the bill die," Knott said. "This was a tremendous project. But the legislation was needed to complete the deal."

Lawmakers raised concerns about stadium financing and said they lacked time to iron out problems in the bill, which was introduced late in the session.

The 63 acres are owned by a consortium of banks that obtained the land through a foreclosure. Milam previously said he had a signed sales agreement and had made a nonrefundable deposit. Neither he nor his representatives could be reached for comment Wednesday.

Last month, Milam told the Review-Journal his project couldn't be done without a special taxing district.

Milam's group, International Development Management, planned a 36,000-seat stadium for a Major League Soccer franchise, a 17,500-seat arena for an NBA basketball team, and a 9,000-seat baseball park for the Triple A Las Vegas 51s, which Milam was to purchase.

The status of the 51s sale was unclear Wednesday. Milam, who reportedly went home to Texas after the Legislature adjourned, said last month that his 51s deal would die without the new stadium.

"I can't pay what I agreed to pay for the 51s and leave them at Cashman Field," Milam said.

Don Logan, the former 51s general manager who helped negotiate the team's sale, said Wednesday that Milam's intention was to close the deal to purchase the 51s and consider "Plan B" for a stadium site, although no location has been selected.

He said Milam paid a "significant" nonrefundable deposit for the 51s.

The 63 acres for Milam's project was valued at $15 million to $20 million per acre in 2005. It is zoned for a hotel-casino, and is also the preferred station site for the $4 billion DesertXpress, a high-speed train connecting Las Vegas and Victorville, Calif.

Contact reporter Howard Stutz at hstutz@reviewjournal.com or 702-477-3871. Follow @howardstutz on Twitter.

 

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