Las Vegas Raiders stadium work may start without formal agreement

The Las Vegas Stadium Authority will consider extending the time to write a development agreement with the Oakland Raiders to build its 65,000-seat domed football stadium in Southern Nevada when it meets Thursday.

The extension, which isn’t expected to delay the start of construction on the $1.9 billion project, puts the Raiders on the hook for paying for preliminary site work if the stadium deal stumbles.

A document to be introduced Thursday — called an “Enabling Work Memorandum of Understanding” — would move the deadline to complete the development agreement to February from Oct. 17. The original stadium legislation, approved by the Nevada Legislature in a special session in October 2016, contemplated the possibility of a need for additional time and included the option of a six-month extension, which would enable an extension to April.

Jeremy Aguero, principal analyst for Las Vegas-based Applied Analysis, which serves as the Stadium Authority’s staff, notified board members earlier this month that they would be seeing the extension resolution at its next meeting.

“To meet the Raiders’ proposed development project schedule, they will need to complete certain preliminary development activities between November 2017 and February 2018,” Aguero said in his Sept. 6 memorandum to the board.

Raiders take risk

Aguero said the resolution makes it clear that the Raiders would undertake the site preparation at their own risk and that “the Enabling Work MOU will not bind or otherwise obligate the authority to any subsequent approval and will preserve all rights of the authority in terms of project review and approval, including the development agreement and any considerations concerning the issuance of stadium bonds.”

While the resolution to extend the timeline is expected to come to a vote Thursday, Aguero said the Enabling Work MOU would be introduced Thursday but voted on at the authority’s Oct. 12 meeting.

The Raiders can’t tap general obligation bond proceeds guaranteed by $750 million in new hotel room tax revenue until the development agreement is signed, and the team has paid the first $100 million in development costs.

The site preparation work will include grading and grubbing — leveling the ground of the 62-acre site at Russell Road and Interstate 15 and removing all vegetation — and relocating utilities on the site.

Timeline established

Under the Raiders’ construction timeline, contractors Mortenson Construction of Minneapolis and McCarthy Building Cos. of Henderson are scheduled to clear the land in late November and early December, blast anticipated caliche from the site in mid- and late December and excavate the inner stadium bowl 20 feet deep from the end of December to mid-June.

Structural concrete and steel isn’t expected to go up on the site until 2018 and 2019.

Authority board members will get their first look at several other agreements that have to be signed before the development agreement can be considered.

Among the agenda items planned for Thursday are progress updates on the community benefits plan that spells out how minority and small-business subcontractors and suppliers will be selected for the project and on findings that document the team’s commitment to relocating to Southern Nevada.

Updates also are scheduled on documents proving the Raiders’ financial capability to build the stadium and their contracting with development partners.

“The resolutions that are on the list have been agreed to between the parties,” Aguero said in a telephone interview. “From our perspective, those are all significant because, those take the form of all of the findings that have to take place. It’s the first time that the board will be going through each one. Every one will have a draft attached to it.”

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

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