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Raiders set to name general contractor for Las Vegas stadium

Updated May 11, 2017 - 6:21 pm

The Oakland Raiders are close to announcing the selection of a general contractor for the $1.9 billion, 65,000-seat domed football stadium it will build to begin play in Las Vegas in 2020.

Minneapolis-based Mortenson Construction, which bills itself as the No. 1 sports builder with 170 sports and entertainment projects completed, will partner with McCarthy Building Cos. Inc. of Henderson on the project.

Raiders President Marc Badain said Thursday that the contract hasn’t been finalized but terms are near completion.

“We’re working with a firm called Mortenson, and they have a local partnership with McCarthy,” Badain said. “Until the ink is dry on the contract, it’s sort of as if when you sign a player, we wait until they’ve actually signed it before announcing it. We’re working on finalizing that, but they’ve been our partner for awhile now, they’ve done a spectacular job for us and we’re very confident in them.”

Mortenson dazzled its hometown by delivering occupancy of U.S. Bank Stadium, the new home of the Minnesota Vikings, a month and a half ahead of schedule.

The Las Vegas Stadium Authority earlier this week announced an ambitious construction timeline of 30 months from a late December-early January groundbreaking, a timetable that has never occurred for an NFL domed football stadium.

Badain impressed

Badain said he was impressed with the Minneapolis effort.

“The timing worked out, they finished that project and were able to jump into this one,” he said.

Mortenson also built SunTrust Park, the new home of Major League Baseball’s Atlanta Braves, and is working on the Wisconsin Entertainment and Sports Center, the future home of the National Basketball Association Milwaukee Bucks.

Representatives of the local office of McCarthy could not be reached for comment on what its role in the project will be.

Badain also confirmed that Manica Architecture of Kansas City, Missouri, is the project designer and that the renderings the company has produced as illustrations of the building will be pretty close to what the structure will look like.

Badain didn’t provide details of the construction contract in his brief remarks before the Stadium Authority Board Thursday, at which board members received updates on an accelerated timetable for completing a stadium lease agreement with the Raiders.

Board Chairman Steve Hill, Jeremy Aguero of Las Vegas-based Applied Analysis, which serves as the authority’s contracted staff and contracted authority attorney Mark Arnold of Houston-based Andrews Kurth Kenyon spent more than an hour updating the board on plans to complete the stadium lease agreement by May 22-23 when NFL owners next meet. Badain said if the two parties can’t deliver an agreement by then, the lease discussion — which is on the owners’ May agenda — would have to put off until their next meeting in October and hopes of having the stadium completed for the 2020 season would be pushed back a year.

Meeting next week

Hill announced Thursday that the board would meet again next Thursday for a planned lease agreement vote.

The board also has scheduled a May 22 meeting to review the entity’s budget, a standard procedure for all government organizations.

The two sides must still iron out details for setting aside funds for necessary capital expenses as the stadium ages. The authority also wants a mechanism in place to address the process of attracting additional events for the stadium in order to generate the revenue necessary to justify the public’s investment of $750 million through an increase in the county’s hotel room tax.

Hill said considerable progress has been made in the last week and a half on the lease deal.

“If you had asked two weeks ago (about whether there were sticking points to the lease agreement), I would have said there were quite a few,” Hill said. “But in last week and a half, we have resolved most of them.”

Funding maintenance

Among the points that are close to resolution are details on how to fund routine maintenance, capital repairs — large projects necessary to keep the venue in top shape — and capital improvements, new projects designed to make the venue even better than at opening.

Establishing those funds is a bid to avoid litigation similar to what Maricopa County, Arizona, is going through with the Arizona Diamondbacks Major League Baseball team. They’re in court in a dispute over improvements to Chase Field. The Diamondbacks have threatened to move the team if the county doesn’t come up with the improvements.

The Las Vegas stadium will be owned by the authority, but managed by the Raiders.

Hill also said he wants to establish a process by which the team and the authority can discuss adding events at the stadium to generate revenue — including tax revenue — that would help justify the $750 million public investment in the stadium. The two sides are considering having an annual public meeting at which comments about the scheduling of stadium events can be reviewed.

Raiders control events

An events company under the Raiders control would manage stadium events, but the authority wants to be able to review and evaluate events as the facility becomes established.

In earlier discussions, the Southern Nevada Tourism Infrastructure Committee determined that 45 events a year, which include Raiders and UNLV home games, as a goal to generate the revenue needed to justify the public’s contribution to the stadium’s cost.

A sublease outlining UNLV’s use of the stadium is referenced in the proposed lease agreement, but it won’t have to be completed before the review by NFL owners later this month.

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

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