Murren sets stage for debate on spending for tourism improvements

MGM Resorts International’s top executive on Friday set the stage for a citywide philosophical debate that could determine how resources will be spent for tourism infrastructure improvements in the years ahead.

Jim Murren, chairman and CEO of MGM, the state’s largest private employer, told an audience at the Las Vegas Metro Chamber of Commerce’s Preview Las Vegas forecasting event that he supports efforts to use room-tax revenue to expand and improve the Las Vegas Convention Center, even though it competes with the company’s various convention facilities.

That viewpoint conflicts directly with those of executives with Las Vegas Sands, who see the Convention Center as a direct competitor to private enterprise and the use of room-tax revenue as inappropriate.

The Review-Journal is owned by a limited liability corporation owned by the family of Sands chairman and CEO Sheldon Adelson.

Sands officials have indicated they would support using room-tax money as part of the financing to build a $1 billion domed stadium. The company announced Thursday that it plans to build the 65,000-seat stadium on 42 acres just east of the MGM Grand at Tropicana Avenue and Koval Lane. Sands executives met with representatives of the Oakland Raiders on Friday in a bid to move the team to Las Vegas and share the stadium with the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, football team. Sands officials have said they plan to build the stadium with or without a National Football League team.

The Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority has proposed a $2.3 billion expansion and upgrade of the Las Vegas Convention Center that officials say is essential to stay competitive with cities trying to steal conventions and special events away from Las Vegas.

In an interview after his Preview presentation, Murren acknowledged that the stadium would compete for some events with MGM’s T-Mobile Arena that opens in April.

Murren said while he’d be interested in considering live entertainment tax revenue or a special tax district supporting the stadium, he’d be opposed to using room-tax funds.

“To me, the priorities are obvious,” Murren said. “It’s to expand and improve the Convention Center. And if we can find a fiscally responsible way to fund a stadium, MGM will be at the table as we always are, put money into it, support it, and I don’t give a hoot if it competes against us.

“If it’s good for Las Vegas,” he said, “we’re all for it, but it won’t be done to the detriment of the Convention Center. We would not be for that. Without that convention center improvement, we can forget about Las Vegas growth. Let’s go to the must-haves before we go to the nice-to-haves and if we can do both, I’m all for it.”

A Sands spokesman said Friday that the company considers a state-of-the-art stadium a must-have amenity “that far outweighs the need for additional convention facilities.”

Murren was the final speaker at Preview, the chamber’s largest annual networking event.

About 2,000 people attended the event, which combines a tradeshow atmosphere on the concourse of the Thomas & Mack Center with a series of speakers discussing trends in Southern Nevada’s economy.

Tourism issues dominate

Tourism issues took center stage in the early sessions with Robert Lang, executive director of Brookings Mountain West advocating a stronger presence in Washington and Carson City to convince national and state policymakers to empower local entities to make decisions on developing infrastructure that will benefit the tourism economy.

Lang specifically suggested that businesses support policy that would enable local leaders to keep and use the tax revenue it generates instead of sending it the government. He cited Orlando, Fla., one of Las Vegas’ chief tourism rivals, as a city that has a relatively low tax rate, but capitalizes on keeping revenue raised for local projects.

And Lang knows Southern Nevada is in need of local projects. He said to keep its competitive edge, Southern Nevada needs a light-rail transit system, a stadium with seating for more than 60,000 people and enhanced facilities at the Las Vegas Convention Center.

Attendees also got a closer look at Faraday Future, the electric car company that is building a manufacturing plant at the Apex industrial park.

Dag Reckhorn, vice president of global manufacturing for Faraday, gave details of the company’s plans to build a $1 billion, 3 million-square-foot manufacturing plant on 900 acres at Apex.

The Preview presentation was similar to a Jan. 4 presentation when Faraday unveiled its FFZero1 concept car.

Reckhorn said Faraday’s Variable Platform Architecture will feature strings of batteries, which can be more easily replaced or changed than a single battery. On the platform, adding or reducing strings will enable the creation of vehicles of varying sizes with more power or greater range.

The architecture also incorporates motor configurations with one to three motor strings. That will enable the company to modify vehicle characteristics, including rear-, front- or all-wheel drive systems, extended range options and various outputs, all using the same chassis structure.

Travel themes surface

Convention and Visitors Authority President and CEO Rossi Ralenkotter also led a panel that included Mike Boyd, president of Boyd Group International, Roger Dow, president and CEO of the U.S. Travel Association, and Warren Eales, port director for the U.S. Customs and Border Protection at McCarran International Airport.

They discussed a variety of travel-related issues, from potential international markets for Las Vegas to Project Time Off, an initiative to encourage workers to take all the vacation time they’re entitled to.

Boyd said Las Vegas needs to be prepared to make international visitors comfortable when they visit with appropriate signage and a knowledge of the traveler’s customs and expectations. He said visitation provides the biggest opportunity for growth.

Panelists encouraged attendees to contact their congressional delegation to lobby for enough staffing for Eales to process international arrivals as McCarran moves toward expanding the number of gates it has available for arrivals from foreign countries.

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

ad-high_impact_4
Business
President Trump’s tariffs could raise costs for real estate developers, analysts say
President Donald Trump made his fortune in real estate, but by slapping tariffs on imports from close allies, developers in Las Vegas and other cities could get hit hard.
Las Vegas business and tariffs
Barry Yost, co-owner of Precision Tube Laser, LLC, places a metal pipe into the TruLaser Tube 5000 laser cutting machine on Wednesday, June 20, 2018, in Las Vegas. Bizuayehu Tesfaye/Las Vegas Review-Journal @bizutesfaye
Nevada Film Office Connects Businesses To Producers
The director of the Nevada Film Office discusses its revamped locations database and how it will affect local businesses. (Bailey Schulz/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Opendoor isn't the typical house flipping company
Unlike most house flippers, the company aims to make money from transaction costs rather than from selling homes for more than their purchase price.
The Venetian gondoliers sing Italian songs
Gondolier Marciano sings a the classic Italian song "Volare" as he leads guests through the canals of The Venetian in Las Vegas. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Building In Logandale
Texas homebuilder D.R. Horton bought 43 lots in rural Logandale. (Eli Segall/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Indoor farming in Southern Nevada
Experts discuss Nevada's indoor farming industry. (Bailey Schulz/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Former Fontainebleau could have become a Waldorf Astoria
Months after developer Steve Witkoff bought the Fontainebleau last summer, he unveiled plans to turn the mothballed hotel into a Marriott-managed resort called The Drew. But if Richard “Boz” Bosworth’s plans didn’t fall through, the north Las Vegas Strip tower could have become a Waldorf Astoria with several floors of timeshare units. (Eli Segall/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
LVCVA CEO Rossi Ralenkotter announces plans to retire
Rossi Ralenkotter, CEO of the LVCVA, on Tuesday confirmed a Las Vegas Review-Journal report that he is preparing to retire. Richard N. Velotta/ Las Vegas Review-Journal
Cousins Maine Lobster to open inside 2 Las Vegas Smith’s stores
Cousins Maine Lobster food truck company will open inside Las Vegas’ two newest Smith’s at Skye Canyon Park Drive and U.S. Highway 95, and at Warm Springs Road and Durango Drive. Cousins currently sells outside some Las Vegas Smith’s stores and at Fremont Street and Las Vegas Boulevard. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Las Vegas home prices to continue to rise, expert says
Lawrence Yun, chief economist at the National Association of Realtors, gives homebuyers a pulse on the Las Vegas housing market. (Eli Segall/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
NV Energy announces clean energy investment
The company is planning to add six solar projects in Nevada, along with the state's first major battery energy storage capacity. Bailey Schulz/Las Vegas Review-Journal
3 Mario Batali restaurants on Las Vegas Strip to close
Days after new sexual misconduct allegations were made against celebrity chef Mario Batali, his company announced Friday that it will close its three Las Vegas restaurants July 27. Employees of Carnevino Italian Steakhouse, B&B Ristorante and Otto Enoteca e Pizzeria, all located in The Venetian and Palazzo resorts, were informed of the decision Friday morning. Bastianich is scheduled to visit the restaurants Friday to speak to employees about the next two months of operation as well as how the company plans to help them transition to new positions.
Nevada has its first cybersecurity apprenticeship program
The Learning Center education company in Las Vegas has launched the first apprenticeship program for cybersecurity in Nevada. It was approved by the State Apprenticeship Council on May 15. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Las Vegas union members voting to authorize the right to strike
Thousands of Las Vegas union members voting Tuesday morning to authorize the right to strike. A “yes” vote would give the union negotiating committee the power to call a strike anytime after June 1 at the resorts that fail to reach an agreement. (Todd Prince/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Small businesses struggle to find qualified candidates
A 2018 survey found that over two-thirds of small businesses in Nevada find it somewhat to very difficult to recruit qualified candidates. Bailey Schulz/Las Vegas Review-Journal
Nevada secretary of state website offers little protection against fraudulent business filings
Property developer Andy Pham tells how control of his business was easily seized by another person using the secretary of state website.
Caesars may be going solo in its marijuana policy
Several Southern Nevada casino companies aren’t following Caesars Entertainment’s lead on marijuana testing.
How much is the Lucky Dragon worth?
Less than a year-and-a-half after it opened, the Lucky Dragon was in bankruptcy.
Gyms and discount stores take over empty retail spaces
Grocery stores used to draw people to shopping centers. But many large retail spaces have been vacant since 2008. Discount stores like goodwill and gyms like EOS Fitness are filling those empty spaces, and helping to draw shoppers back in. K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal
Funding source of Las Vegas stadium for the Raiders is sound, expert says
The stadium is funded in part by $750 million of room taxes, the biggest such tax subsidy ever for a professional sports stadium. Robert Lang, executive director of Brookings Mountain West and The Lincy Institute at UNLV, says that is a good use of public funds. (Richard Velotta/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Las Vegas needs light rail, expert says
Robert Lang, executive director of Brookings Mountain West and the Lincy Institute said he is afraid of a "congestion mobility crisis." Las Vegas needs a light rail system, he said, to accommodate the city's growing number of attractions. (Richard Velotta/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Three takeaways from Wynn Resorts' Earnings Call
Matt Maddox came out swinging in his first earnings conference call as Wynn Resorts chief executive officer, boasting of record Las Vegas quarterly revenues and applicants lining up for work.
Star Wars VR Comes to Las Vegas
Sneak peak at the new "Star Wars: Secrets of the Empire" VR experience at the Grand Canal Shoppes.
Elaine Wynn continues her fight to change Wynn Resorts board
Elaine Wynn, the largest shareholder of Wynn Resorts Ltd., is seeking to kick a friend of her ex-husband Steve Wynn off the company’s board of directors. (Todd Prince/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Zillow is getting into house flipping in Las Vegas
Las Vegas Review-Journal real estate reporter Eli Segall says flipping houses has waned in popularity after the housing bubble burst.
Ellis Island Buys Mt. Charleston Lodge
Ellis Island, which operates a casino, brewery and hotel just off the Strip, purchased the Mt. Charleston Lodge in early April.
Casinos to be penalized for allowing drug-impaired customers to gamble
Nevada Gaming Commission Chairman Tony Alamo talks about an amendment making casinos subject to the same disciplinary standards of preventing people to gamble if impaired by drugs as they are for letting them play while intoxicated by alcohol.
Terrible Herbst to open large travel center in Southern Nevada
The 50,000-square-foot commercial travel center will include 96 fuel pumps and the third White Castle restaurant in Southern Nevada. Wade Tyler Millward reports.
Art Bell’s Top 10 Shows
A selection of radio host Art Bell’s most popular shows.
TOP NEWS
News Headlines
Home Front Page Footer Listing
Circular
You May Like

You May Like