For members of the Las Vegas Stadium Authority and executives of the Oakland Raiders, the grind is over.
Now, the fun part begins.
Authority Chairman Steve Hill and Raiders President Marc Badain put their signatures on dozens of documents Wednesday, wrapping up all the legal ends of the process to build a 65,000-seat, $1.8 billion indoor stadium for the team to start play in 2020.
So what happens next?
“You heard the chairman (Hill) say, it’s really a construction project now,” Badain said after Wednesday’s meeting. “We have to stay on time and stay on budget, and we’ll obviously continue our sales efforts and work towards our practice facility. There will be a number of projects that we still need to accomplish. Now it moves from this aspect of it to more of the construction, which is the fun part, to see a thousand people at work.”
The site at Interstate 15 and Russell Road has been an active construction zone since November. The Raiders were able to go to work on it before Wednesday because the team signed off on preliminary development agreements, and it has always been required to spend the first $100 million on the project, not counting land acquisition, before it could tap the $750 million in public funds. A special agreement was signed requiring the Raiders to put the land back to the way it was if everything fell through.
The stadium is a design-build project under contract to Mortenson Construction Co., of Minneapolis, and McCarthy Building Cos., of Henderson. Both have worked together before, and Mortenson has received accolades for delivering U.S. Bank Stadium, the site of this year’s Super Bowl, on a tight timeline for the Minnesota Vikings.
A design-build project means some of the detailed design work on certain aspects of the stadium is occurring simultaneously with construction. Don Webb, chief operating officer of the Raiders’ subsidiary building the stadium, said some of the footings and foundation work would start before all the caliche is blasted out to form the stadium’s inner bowl.
“We just got an email from the construction team showing some of the pilings and some of the footings that we already have in the ground and how fast it’s going to go up,” Badain said. “Every week, we come back and forth, and it’s pretty amazing progress.”
Badain said the team’s focus has been on the stadium, but now that most of the administrative work is completed, the team will start looking at the development of a $100 million team headquarters and training facility near Henderson Executive Airport by summer. More than 30 employees already have moved from Oakland to Las Vegas.
And then, of course, there’s the parking matter. Because there won’t be enough parking spaces to accommodate people for stadium events on-site, the Raiders are looking to develop off-site solutions.
“We’ll continue to work on parking,” Badain said. “As I shared a couple of meetings ago, we were able to secure a number of options very quickly. There are a number of landowners and a number of property owners that recognize the opportunity associated with opening up their lots or opening up their land around the stadium site. I don’t envision it being too much of a challenge.”
The team will have until September to present their parking solutions to the Clark County Commission.
The commission will address another Raiders matter this week with the consideration of a bond ordinance at its Tuesday meeting. The authority and the county have stated they plan to price the entire $750 million sale at one time. But last week, Clark County Manager Yolanda King said Wednesday the bond sale would probably be closer to $650 million as a result of nearly 13 months’ collection of room tax and and interest generated on collected funds. She said the county expects to receive updated bond-rating information from Standard & Poor’s and Moody’s, two New York-based financial services companies, to gauge the status of the bond market. The bond sale is anticipated sometime in April.
The 86-page bond ordinance would require five affirmative votes from the seven-member panel to pass.
As for the Stadium Authority, the nine-member board will continue to meet monthly, even after it has completed its biggest job.
The board still needs to monitor a community benefits plan developed by the Raiders to assure that a high percentage of jobs go to qualified small businesses, minorities, women and veterans.
The authority also will oversee budgets and recommend capital improvements in the future. It’s also the dispute resolution board on matters such as the scheduling of UNLV events at the facility. But the scheduling hierarchy is already established and the Raiders and the NFL will get priority when it comes to putting events in the building.
Hill outlined how much work board members and the staff of Applied Analysis put in on completing the documents needed for the development agreement, and he said he likely would give everyone a break by canceling the scheduled April meeting.
A pile of documents
Las Vegas Stadium Authority Chairman Steve Hill admitted Wednesday he was astonished at how many legal documents had to be drafted to complete the key stadium development and lease agreements.
Many of them revolve around anticipating numerous what-if scenarios and both sides are hopeful the terms of some of those agreements never have to be exercised.
But that’s what attorneys are paid to do, prepare solutions for the unexpected. That’s why there’s a non-relocation agreement forbidding the Raiders from leaving for the 30-year term of some of the agreements. That’s why there’s clear language that the Stadium Authority is responsible for paying for future capital improvement projects to keep the stadium at a level capable of hosting future Super Bowls.