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Parking just one obstacle to downtown soccer stadium

As if Port Telles didn’t have enough to do.

The Cordish Cos.’ development director was already assigned to wrangle Las Vegas City Council support for a publicly subsidized $200 million soccer stadium in downtown’s Symphony Park. He needs votes for a nonbinding stadium agreement between the city and the team of Cordish and Findlay Sports &Entertainment to proceed.

Now he must mitigate a battle over parking, too.

A representative of Las Vegas North Premium Outlets, the mall at 875 S. Grand Central Parkway near the site of the proposed 24,000-seat stadium site, expressed concerns over parking.

The mall offers about 2,350 free parking spaces. And lawyer Jennifer Lazovich, representing Premium Outlets, said the mall fears that stadium attendees would gobble up free parking designated for shoppers.

During a stadium hearing Wednesday, Lazovich said Premium Outlets opposed the proposed stadium because of the parking concerns.

In a Thursday interview with the Las Vegas Review-Journal, Lazovich said Telles told her Cordish will offer some ideas to satisfy the mall’s concerns and that the Baltimore-based development company will get back to Premium Outlets next week.

“Parking is a real issue for us,” she said.

Neither Telles nor Cordish public relations representative Candice Coolahan could be reached for comment.

The Cordish/Findlay team, which is proposing the stadium, told the City Council at a Wednesday hearing that the stadium plan calls for 8,000 parking spaces.

But Dean Howes, who is advising Findlay Sports managing partner Justin Findlay on the stadium proposal, said Friday the Cordish/Findlay team plans to address general parking issues Wednesday.

Howes cited available parking at the World Market Center site and the Molasky Corporate Centerand said the stadium team would like to “form relationships with those bodies” to provide stadium parking.

“There’s quite a bit of available parking,” Howes said. “What we don’t want is anyone going to the premium outlet mall (for parking).”

Lazovich said a secondary issue would be local traffic flow.

Cordish/Findlay has not conducted any stadium parking or traffic studies.

The parking issue may be moot if Telles can’t get some support from the council.

First, Telles must persuade Councilwoman Lois Tarkanian to cast her swing vote Oct. 1 in favor of the nonbinding stadium deal. Without her “yes” vote, the Cordish/Findlay bid dies because three of seven council members oppose the nonbinding agreement.

Then, if Tarkanian does endorse the nonbinding deal, Telles must persuade one of the three “no” voters — Bob Beers, Bob Coffin or Stavros Anthony — to change his mind for a final stadium agreement vote in December. That’s because any council decision on a deal involving bonds requires a supermajority — or 5-2 — vote.

The proposed deal for a $200 million stadium calls for the city to pay 78 percent of the costs up front, with Cordish/Findlay repaying the city 59 percent of the costs over 30 years through rent and a repayment plan.

Cordish/Findlay is also lobbying Major League Soccer for an expansion team, which would cost it $102 million. The stadium would not be built unless Las Vegas is awarded an MLS franchise.

If the stadium is built and team or Major League Soccer fails, the city would be burdened with an annual $8 million debt to pay off the stadium — 2 percent of the city’s general fund.

Waiting in the wings is Las Vegas gaming entrepreneur Jason Ader of New York City, who has proposed a $350 million plan to bring an MLS team and stadium to Las Vegas.

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