Step One in building a new on-campus UNLV stadium: hire an experienced company to coordinate various jobs such as a needs analysis, economic impact study and feasibility recommendation.
That was the game plan suggested by a UNLV stadium authority board working group that met for the first time Wednesday afternoon.
The group will take the idea of enlisting a project management company to the full 11-member stadium panel on Oct. 31 at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas.
There’s not a lot of time to figure out whether an on-campus stadium is needed at UNLV. And if it is, what would be the scope, cost and funding options? The stadium authority has to address those issues in a report to the Nevada Legislature due by Sept. 30, 2014 — less than a year away.
UNLV stadium point man Don Snyder led Wednesday’s session, which consisted mostly of the university’s finance chief — Gerry Bomotti — explaining UNLV’s process for hiring vendors as a guide for the stadium authority. The advice was necessary because the stadium board will likely solicit bids from consulting firms interested in the work. Bomotti informed the work group that UNLV had already drafted a solicitation.
The four stadium board members in the work group liked the idea of having a project manager to oversee the studies — “holistic” was the word Snyder used.
Another work group member, Rick Arpin, an MGM Resorts International executive and coordinating construction of his company’s $350 million, 20,000-seat arena near the Strip, said “It’s all about feasibility,” and that a strong conceptual design will help define the operating costs.
Arpin, along with fellow board member Michael Wixom, a Las Vegas lawyer, stressed that any potential economic impact is a different issue than the project’s feasibility.
“I want an objective analysis. I don’t want anyone selling me a stadium,” Wixom said during the 90-minute session. “Economic impact is a different animal than feasibility. We have to be careful that the person (project manager) doesn’t confuse those items.”
UNLV is trying to build a stadium by partnering with Las Vegas’ casino-resort industry. The university cut ties with its previous stadium partner, Majestic Realty, in March. But several legal issues between UNLV and Majestic remain unresolved.
For example, Majestic Realty does not want UNLV to use its stadium reports and other intellectual property and Majestic also has the right of first refusal to be a partner in building any stadium. The work group did not address those issues, but UNLV President Neal Smatresk last week told the Review-Journal the university is discussing those issues with Majestic.
The UNLV stadium board meeting on Oct. 31 will feature at least four speakers who will discuss the stadium idea: Mark Rosentraub, who has written extensively on sports economics and conducted a stadium economic impact report for UNLV; Robert Lang, UNLV director of Brookings Mountain West; Richard Browne, partner of Sterling Project Development Group, which did a due diligence report on the previous stadium proposal; and Rossi Ralenkotter, president/CEO of the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority. The LVCVA has offered minimal comments about UNLV’s stadium idea.
Snyder also touched on how to describe the project. He said “stadium” seemed to be the best term. Previously, UNLV had called it a “Mega Events Center.”
Alan Snel can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org or 702-387-5273. Follow Snel on Twitter at @BicycleManSnel.