Public boards central to largest tourism infrastructure projects in Nevada

When the Nevada Legislature approved Senate Bill 1 in a special session last fall, it created two public boards with roles in the two largest tourism infrastructure projects in Nevada history.

The Las Vegas Stadium Authority was formed to oversee development of a venue with the potential to attract the National Football League to Southern Nevada in addition to housing the UNLV football team.

The Oversight Panel for Convention Facilities in Clark County was created to watch members of the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority as they made their way toward completing a $1.4 billion expansion and renovation of the the Las Vegas Convention Center.

While those two boards were cut from the same legislative cloth, their personalities couldn’t be more different. In the months ahead, both will be center stage as the city continues efforts to dominate the convention and tourism industries.

This month, the Oversight Panel will be in the spotlight as LVCVA staff, guided by consultant Terry Miller, the project’s owner representative, presents its final building, financing and construction methodology plan. The seven-member board, composed of development leaders and financial experts from the city’s largest resorts, will take a vote and possibly add recommendations on the staff plan.

Those recommendations will then go to the 14-member LVCVA board of directors for consideration in June. Once that’s done, designing and building can begin. At least, that’s the way it’s mapped out.

If the LVCVA board and the Oversight Panel aren’t on the same page, there could be problems. But so far, Miller said the process has worked smoothly and everybody is collegial. It could only get ugly if there are major strategical disputes between the board and the panel. Right now, that looks extremely remote.

If there’s a dispute, the LVCVA board holds the trump card and can overrule the overseers with a supermajority vote.

In meetings so far, the Oversight Panel has asked a lot of questions and seems intent on getting the project off the ground.

Meanwhile, the Stadium Authority will have its hands full in the months ahead getting the $1.9 billion, 65,000-seat stadium project moving.

The authority received welcome news last week that the Oakland Raiders have purchased the so-called Russell 62 site — 62 acres along Russell Road at Interstate 15 — to build.

While the Convention Center’s Oversight Panel is designed to backstop the LVCVA, the Stadium Authority is in a firm leadership role.

Now that the stadium site is chosen, the nine-member authority, its staff and attorneys will work with the Raiders on the next steps, completing a lease agreement with the team, approving a development company that will build the structure and conveying those 62 acres to authority ownership.

The Raiders reportedly are close to announcing a general contractor — it’ll likely be an out-of-state company — and ground probably won’t be broken until late 2017 or early 2018.

While the authority board is driving the narrative, they’ll still need to rely a lot on Clark County to approve development and High-Impact Project agreements along the way.

Like the Raiders throughout the NFL Draft, the county and the Stadium Authority are on the clock.

Contact Richard N. Velotta at rvelotta@reviewjournal.com or 702-477-3893. Follow @RickVelotta on Twitter.

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