Parking may double land needed for stadium proposal

The developer of a proposed three-stadium sports complex might have to nearly double the size of the land required for the $1.95 billion project to account for parking facilities.

Nearly a dozen artist renderings depicting the stadiums on a 63-acre site west of Interstate 15 across from Mandalay Bay show the facilities linked by walking paths through greenbelts.

But the renderings depict zero parking spaces, though the largest stadium would seat 36,000 soccer fans.

Stadium developers are reportedly targeting an estimated 50 acres nearby for parking, event marshaling and facility maintenance.

But unlike the site for the stadiums, which is empty desert controlled by Texas developer Christopher Milam, much of the area planned for parking is already occupied by older single story industrial properties and warehouses. The target site contains more than two dozen land parcels and multiple ownerships, including the corporate headquarters for Herbst Oil Co., a warehouse owned by the foundation of the family that built the Imperial Palace, an NV Energy substation and industrial land owned by Strip headliner David Copperfield.

Two artist renderings in a 300-plus-page binder detailing the development highlight the proposed parking locations. The binders were delivered Monday to state lawmakers who are expected to be asked to create a special taxing district to help finance construction of the venues.

None of the landowners or their representatives contacted Monday said they had been approached by the stadium developer.

“I’ve been approached before, but not for this,” said Jack Breslin, the owner of Breslin Builders, whose office sits on a little more than 2 acres on Polaris Avenue, directly across the street from the planned stadium complex. “Nobody has really heard anything on our side of the street. I think if (the stadiums) get a little more realistic, we’ll hear something, and they’ll come at us hard.”

A spokeswoman for Copperfield said the magician had not been contacted to sell his 3.8 acres at the corner of Russell Road and Valley View Boulevard, which includes a warehouse.

Milam says he controls the land for the stadiums through a signed sales agreement and a nonrefundable deposit. The same land was also identified by another company in March as the preferred station location for the $4 billion DesertXpress high-speed train connecting Las Vegas and Victorville, Calif.

The estimated 50 acres thought to be designated for potential stadium parking is bordered by Polaris Avenue on the east, Valley View to the west, Russell Road to the south and Hacienda Avenue to the north.

In an email, Milam would say only that the stadiums would have several thousand “below-grade” parking spaces on site for VIP valet parking.

A real estate source said Milam’s group would seek to acquire and redevelop the sites only if the stadium deal comes to fruition. Traffic studies and road improvements, possibly an expansion to Interstate 15, would also be needed.

As of Monday, landowners around the stadium site were hesitant to tip their hands.

“As far as I know, the Herbsts haven’t been approached,” said attorney Sean Higgins, who represents Herbst Oil. He said the Herbst family owns 5.2 acres at the corner of Polaris Avenue and Russell Road. The sites house a Terrible Herbst gasoline station and convenience store, Herbst Oil’s headquarters, warehouses and the home of Affinity Gaming.

“The family is aware of what’s going on across the street, but that’s about it,” Higgins said.

Attorney Owen Nitz, who represents the Engelstad Family Foundation, which owns almost 2.3 acres on Polaris, said a warehouse on the site was built in the 1980s by the late Imperial Palace owner Ralph Engelstad.

“It’s just a warehouse,” Nitz said. “I don’t know if we would sell. No one has approached us.”

While language for the proposed tax district has not been introduced in the legislature, lawmakers were given details about the multiple-stadium project and its potential economic impact.

Milam’s group, International Development Management, is asking lawmakers to create a special taxing district at the site to help pay for the project, which would include a 9,000-seat baseball park, a 17,500-seat arena for a National Basketball Association team, and a 36,000-seat stadium for a Major League Soccer squad. Milam also plans to buy the Las Vegas 51s Triple-A baseball team.

He said he stadium project might be scuttled unless the Legislature approves the special taxing district, which would add a 12 percent ticket sales tax for any event at the three arenas.

The legislation would also allow stadium owners to keep sales, live entertainment, property and other taxes generated there for reinvestment in the facilities.

But the site was also named the DesertXpress train station in an environmental impact statement which is now under review by the Federal Railroad Administration. Authors of the report said the site’s advantages include proximity to the south end of the Strip and to McCarran International Airport, and the fact that it is “undeveloped and would not require displacement or demolition of any existing development.”

Milam thought the stadiums and the train station could coexist on the site by potentially integrating the station into one of the stadiums.

Contact reporter Howard Stutz at hstutz@reviewjournal.com or 702-477-3871. Follow @howardstutz on Twitter.

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