Las Vegas city officials Wednesday released new details for a proposed downtown soccer stadium, saying the city will spend $31.5 million for infrastructure to develop the project site and Symphony Park.
The money would be spent on streets, gutters, curbs, drainage and environmental soil remediation.
City officials are working with Findlay Sports &Entertainment and The Cordish Cos. on the proposed $200 million stadium. The deal has evolved during the past year as the City Council has extended deadlines with Findlay-Cordish several times.
The city is continuing to propose funding for both the soccer stadium and parks projects in a $50 million bond package, with about $25 million for each. At a Nov. 5 City Council meeting, city staff identified four specific parks projects besides the contribution to the proposed stadium.
But in this week’s updated deal, the city did not identify any specific park projects and used more general language, saying $25 million of the $50 million bond would be used for projects such as sports fields, parks, trails and cultural facilities. City Manager Betsy Fretwell said it would be up the City Council to decide the park projects.
To pay for the $50 million bond, the city would repay $90 million over 30 years because of interest. The annual $3 million for 30 years would come from hotel room fee money.
The deal is contingent on Major League Soccer officials awarding a franchise to Las Vegas. The city is competing with Sacramento, Calif., and Minneapolis for a final MLS expansion franchise as the league grows from 19 to 24 clubs. MLS officials are expected to make a decision in the first half of 2015. If MLS does not pick Las Vegas, the stadium will not be built.
A Toronto Sun story, without citing a source, said Wednesday that MLS officials do not consider Las Vegas a serious contender: “Las Vegas, as of MLS Cup weekend, isn’t being discussed as a legitimate candidate among MLS circles.”
Fretwell touted the updated funding proposal as a major change from the original deal from this past summer, when the city first suggested borrowing $115 million instead of the $25 million for the stadium. Fretwell described the updated deal proposal as a “sea change” from the original term sheet.
Other new deal features include the following:
■ Providing stadium visitors with access to a public parking garage in Symphony Park and access to the existing 500 S. Main St. garage.
■ Through the Las Vegas Redevelopment Agency, pledging tax increment financing (revenue from the stadium, which will provide revenue annually to the developer to help offset property taxes payable for the stadium.
Meanwhile, Findlay-Cordish has pledged to spend $250 million on commercial and residential development in Symphony Park and provide $500,000 of annual in-kind contributions for local youths, such as tickets and soccer clinics.
Findlay-Cordish would privately manage the stadium and believes it would draw 18,000 fans a game during an MLS 17-game home schedule. And Findlay-Cordish would pay $102 million for an expansion fee to MLS and other startup costs.
The City Council plans to vote on the new stadium funding plan at a Dec. 17 meeting..
Supporters say the public dollars would be money well spent to help build a stadium and possibly launch an MLS expansion franchise. Opponents do not want any public money used and want hotel room revenues to be designated only for parks projects, not for a professional sports stadium.
Mayor Carolyn Goodman and fellow City Council members Steve Ross and Ricki Barlow support the stadium subsidy plan. Council members Stavros Anthony and Bob Beers oppose it. It’s unclear how members Bob Coffin and Lois Tarkanian will vote next week.
Justin Findlay of Findlay Sports &Entertainment could not be reached for comment Wednesday.