UNLV plans to talk to county about 38 acres near proposed stadium site

A UNLV official plans to talk with Clark County officials on Monday about acquiring 38 acres owned by the county that sit between The Thomas & Mack Center and a proposed stadium site off Tropicana Avenue.

"The county sees the UNLV ownership (of the 38 acres) as a positive thing," David Frommer, the university's planning and construction executive director, told the Board of Regents on Friday at a special regents meeting.

The University of Nevada, Las Vegas wants the county's 38 acres because it's a key connection between the campus and the 42-acre privately owned site at Koval Lane and Tropicana Avenue where UNLV officials hope to build a stadium.

The county's 38 acres are west of The Thomas & Mack Center across the street from McCarran International Airport.

Frommer made his comments after Regent Trevor Hayes, a UNLV graduate and former Review-Journal reporter, asked at the meeting, "What makes us think we can get it?"

Frommer said he plans on Monday to contact the county to discuss an agreement, officially called a "memorandum of understanding," regarding the 38 acres.

The county land is east of the 42-acre site that UNLV wants to buy for $50 million from Wells Fargo. UNLV hopes to build a stadium on the 42 acres by working with the Las Vegas gaming, resort and tourism industries.

County officials were unavailable for comment.

University stadium official Don Snyder prefers a stadium that is enclosed with 55,000-60,000 seats and sees it as a giant Thomas & Mack Center — that is, a neutral sports and entertainment facility that benefits Southern Nevada while hosting a UNLV sports team.

Regent Mark Doubrava, a 1985 UNLV graduate, voiced his support for the land purchase.

"This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity," he said during the meeting. "We should get our ducks in a row."

UNLV is working on the purchase. The university will need the Regents' approval in December to borrow money to pay for the $50 million land acquisition before it can close on the land deal on Dec. 18. Regents Michael Wixom and Kevin Page will not be voting on the land deal because of their professional dealings with Wells Fargo, the landowner.

At the meeting, Michael Yackira, chairman of the UNLV Foundation board of trustees, also spoke to the Regents, suggesting they study how UNLV's land deal fits with the university's other capital needs such as the medical school and hotel college.

And no discussion about a stadium at UNLV is complete without Regent James Dean Leavitt, a strong stadium advocate, adding some comments.

After Board of Regents Chairman Rick Trachok advised Leavitt to keep his comments brief, Leavitt quipped, "It's hard to be brief and brilliant at the same time."

Which prompted Trachok to say, "It's a good time to practice."

Laughter ensued at the forum typically known for its serious tone.

Contact reporter Alan Snel at asnel@reviewjournal.com Find him on Twitter: @BicycleManSnel