The Nevada Board of Regents in early January will get its first look at a proposed UNLV Joint-Use Agreement for the 65,000-seat domed football stadium being built by the Oakland Raiders after the university and the team resolved every major issue in negotiations that wrapped up last week.
UNLV President Len Jessup is expected to tell the Las Vegas Stadium Authority board on Thursday that the regents will see a tentative agreement on Jan. 4 and a vote to consider its approval could come Jan. 19.
Nevada System of Higher Education Chancellor Thom Reilly said Wednesday that final terms of the agreement were reached in a three-hour negotiating session on Dec. 7.
The UNLV Joint-Use Agreement is one of four contract updates expected to be reviewed at Thursday’s 1 p.m. meeting at UNLV’s Foundations Room.
The Stadium Authority also is expected to review a community benefits plan that spells out the Raiders’ commitment to the inclusion of minorities and small businesses on construction subcontracts and as suppliers and game-day workers. The team has targeted workforce participation of not less than a combined 55 percent of work hours on days in which events take place at the stadium.
The joint-use agreement and the community benefits plan are widely viewed as two of the three most critical factors in the process of zeroing in on a final stadium development agreement that will include a firm price for what’s estimated to be a $1.9 billion project.
The Raiders’ stadium development subsidiary can’t begin any major work on construction until the development agreement is signed and the development agreement is dependent on sign-offs on more than a dozen other matters.
“We had a very successful meeting with (representatives of) the Stadium Authority board and the Raiders, and feel we have come to agreement on all the major issues and we feel we’re at the point that we can take a draft agreement to the Board of Regents for their consideration,” Reilly said on the Joint-use Agreement. “We went through every major open issue.”
Reilly said the only outstanding concern is a minor technical issue involving what system will be used to sell game tickets.
He did not detail how the many issues were resolved, but he added that he’s comfortable enough with the outcome to take the package to the regents.
A draft of the agreement will be made public when the regents see it initially in a special board meeting on Jan. 4. That will give the regents the opportunity to review the document in detail before it is brought to a vote at a Jan. 19 meeting along with with a scheduled strategic planning workshop.
Thursday’s agenda also includes an update on the land dedication agreement that will turn the stadium over to the authority once it is built and a non-relocation agreement that assures the Raiders will stay in Las Vegas for at least 30 years.
The parking issue
Another outstanding critical issue: parking. The Raiders still haven’t solved where fans attending games and other events will park their cars. An agreement with Clark County extends the time period the team has to solve the parking problem into the middle of next year and that issue won’t prevent contractors from moving forward with the project.
Jessup, in an interview with the Review-Journal last month, said parking isn’t a negotiating point in the UNLV joint-use agreement.
Clark County Commission Chairman Steve Sisolak said Wednesday the Raiders are continuing to talk with private landholders in an effort to solve the parking issue.
County codes require the Raiders to provide 16,250 parking spaces, but there’s only room for about 2,400 on the 62 acres the team purchased for the stadium at Interstate 15 and Russell Road.
The Joint-Use Agreement will detail the UNLV football team’s access to the new Las Vegas stadium and matters that involve the appearance of the venue, including the playing surface, on UNLV game days, revenue splits on tickets, advertising and concessions and scheduling games and other events.
The Raiders already have stated publicly that the stadium would be equipped with a portable natural grass field that will sit outdoors just southwest of the stadium and wheeled onto the stadium floor for game days. That doesn’t preclude UNLV from having an artificial turf surface with red and gray markings for its games.
The agreement also will specify pass-through costs for UNLV’s use of the stadium as required by Senate Bill 1, the legislation that has authorized an increase in hotel room taxes to raise a $750 million public contribution to pay down bonds to be used to help pay for stadium construction. The Raiders can’t access the $750 million until they sign a final development agreement and put in the first $100 million in construction costs.