After delays, Raiders stadium board slated to tackle key points

Updated November 7, 2017 - 9:58 pm

For the Las Vegas Stadium Authority, Thursday is Take 2 for what many view as a turning-point meeting for the future of the planned $1.9 billion, 65,000-seat domed Las Vegas Raiders football stadium.

The authority board was scheduled to meet in October to review a proposed community benefits plan and an enabling work agreement between the authority and a Raiders subsidiary charged with building the stadium.

The meeting was canceled with Authority Board Chairman Steve Hill saying everyone needed more time to complete work on the numerous agreements awaiting approval. The scheduled October meeting also was less than two weeks removed from the mass shooting that resulted in 58 deaths in Las Vegas less than a mile from the stadium site.

Those two items are back on the agenda for the November meeting, scheduled to start at 1 p.m. at the Clark County Government Center.

But since October, new matters related to the stadium have emerged.

The Raiders have scheduled a groundbreaking event at the stadium site on Monday, but so far have sent invitations to a select few.

Last week, the House Republican leadership threw a potential monkey wrench into the stadium financing plan by drafting a proposal to end tax-exempt status on bonds used to pay for stadiums used by professional sports teams in their tax-reform legislation.

As written, the legislation could jeopardize the authority’s planned use of tax-exempt bonds on the $750 million public contribution to the stadium.

The legislation, which is expected to be considered by lawmakers this month, isn’t on Thursday’s agenda, but Jeremy Aguero, whose Applied Analysis firm serves as the authority’s staff, said Monday that he researched the matter and will give a briefing at the meeting.

Another proposal that is on Thursday’s agenda is the planned hiring of a property management company to oversee the enabling work agreement.

That agreement spells out what the Raiders and their stadium development company can do on the land at Interstate 15 and Russell Road before a final development agreement with a guaranteed maximum price of the project.

The description of enabling work includes 17 items that include clearing the ground, soil excavation, surveying and staking and drilling deep foundations. It also allows for setting up temporary water, sewer and electricity connections for a temporary office.

The agreement also allows crews to relocate an underground drainage culvert developed by the federal Army Corps of Engineers discovered on the property in August.

The company identified to oversee enabling work is Las Vegas-based Grand Canyon Development Partners, a real estate development management company headed by president Sam Nicholson.

The contract the authority will be asked to approve Thursday would enable Grand Canyon to work to up to April 30 for a maximum amount of $50,000.

Work undertaken on the stadium site will be paid for by the Raiders and will be applied toward the $100,000 the team must first spend on the project before being able to tap the $750 million in public money.

The community benefits plan, one of the most controversial and most discussed aspects of the stadium development, also is on Thursday’s agenda.

The community benefits plan spells out how the team would contract with small businesses and provide jobs to local minority laborers as well as contribute philanthropically to the community.

Activists from the historic West Las Vegas community and North Las Vegas have addressed the board in public comment periods at meetings since June. In occasionally heated testimony, factions within the community have sought a seat at the table to develop the plan.

But the Raiders haven’t asked for their help.

The team reportedly turned the community benefits project over to Lynn Littlejohn, community benefits director for Mortenson Construction, the Minneapolis-based general contractor for the stadium.

Also reportedly working with the Raiders is state Senate Majority Leader Aaron Ford, D-Las Vegas, who announced his candidacy for attorney general in September.

Littlejohn declined a request for an interview and Ford did not return calls and emails.

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

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