Developers identify preferred site and proposed budget of $1.9B stadium

Developers of a proposed 65,000-seat football stadium have zeroed in on a site and a $1.9 billion budget — and they told a special committee Thursday that if $750 million in hotel room tax revenue isn’t authorized for the project, the dome that could bring the NFL’s Oakland Raiders to Las Vegas won’t be built.

Representatives of Las Vegas Sands Corp., Majestic Realty and the Oakland Raiders told the Southern Nevada Tourism Infrastructure Committee that their preferred stadium site is acreage west of Interstate 15, across from Mandalay Bay, north of Russell Road, and that a purchase agreement is in place.

Officials didn’t provide details on the price or the seller.

The Bali Hai Golf Club on Las Vegas Boulevard south of Russell Road is the developers’ No. 2 choice.

Based on the site and the cost of land improvements, developers have established a cost estimate of $1.9 billion — $1.325 billion for the stadium, $375 million for the land and infrastructure improvements, $100 million for a Raiders practice facility and $100 million for contingency costs.

Under the developers’ proposal, the public would put up $750 million, or 39 percent of the cost, and private investors would cover the remaining 61 percent: $650 million from Las Vegas Sands and $500 million from the Raiders.

Committee Chairman Steve Hill and Rob Goldstein, president and chief operating officer of Las Vegas Sands, said the public would own the stadium. The stadium would be operated by its own seven-member authority.

The developers reiterated that without $750 million in room tax funding, the financing plan will collapse. The committee previously had discussed a reduced public contribution of $550 million.

Oakland Raiders present maps showing how the stadium would fit on the two leading sites under consideration, Aug. 25, 2016 (Gabriel Utasi/Las Vegas Review-Journal)

“(Sands Chairman and CEO) Sheldon (Adelson) would walk away from it and say, ‘We tried our best,’” Goldstein told the committee.

He also said the perception that $750 million in room tax revenue would be funneled to Adelson and the developers is inaccurate. The notion that the money is going to Adelson “is not only wrong, but stupid,” Goldstein told the committee.

The Raiders also made a presentation at the meeting that included images of the stadium and maps showing where it would sit on the top two sites. The presentation included projections of how much a visitor would pay if the room tax were increased to help fund the stadium.

A 0.7 percentage-point increase in the tax would produce $550 million for the project while a 0.88 percentage-point increase would raise $750 million. Based on a room rate of $109 a night, a visitor would pay $13.08 under the existing 12 percent room tax. A proposed 0.5 percentage-point increase in the tax to fund upgrades to the Las Vegas Convention Center expansion would add an additional 55 cents. The stadium tax would increase the room tax bill by 76 cents or 96 cents, depending on the level of funding.

No organized opposition to the stadium plan has surfaced, but three people provided criticism in a public comment period. One speaker said no public money should be spent on a stadium. Another speaker asked that a public vote be taken on the use of tax money for a stadium.

The Review-Journal is owned by the family of Las Vegas Sands Chairman and CEO Sheldon Adelson.

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

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