You need a scorecard to track Las Vegas arenas

With all the stadium, arena and ballpark proposals floating around Las Vegas, it’s a challenge to keep track of them all. Here’s the rundown for those keeping score:

* * *

The Sure Bet

Arena proposals on the Strip have come and gone through the years, but this $375 million, 20,000-seat arena being built by the high-profile team of Las Vegas-based MGM Resorts International and Los Angeles-based Anschutz Entertainment Group is as close as you can get to a sure thing. Buildings have been leveled to make room behind the New York-New York parking lot. The MGM-AEG duo have lined up their funding and the public is not being asked to contribute a nickel. It’s scheduled to open in mid-2016. The arena is being built to NBA and NHL specs, so expect endless chatter of proposed ownership groups seeking big-time basketball or hockey in this venue.

* * *

The Hail Mary

University of Nevada, Las Vegas officials want an on-campus stadium in their quest for Tier 1 status. After a relationship with Majestic Realty on a $950 million domed “Mega Events Center” fizzled last year, UNLV hooked up with the Las Vegas resort industry through a new 11-member stadium board. The best deal UNLV acting president Don Snyder can get from the gamers is a more modest $523 million open-air stadium with some shade, like the new Baylor University stadium pictured here. But how to pay for it? Nobody knows. A countywide sales tax increase has been mentioned, along with university fund-raising and revenue from stadium naming rights and suite sales. The stadium board will forward a report suggesting the open-air stadium option to the Legislature on Oct. 1 and hope for the best.

* * *

The Chutzpah

The new owners of the Las Vegas 51s — the Howard Hughes Corporation and some Summerlin businessmen — unveiled a $65 million plan last summer for a baseball park near Red Rock Resort in Summerlin. They wanted the city, the county and the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority to pay for it. The ask had a touch of chutzpah because, as Mayor Carolyn Goodman pointed out, Howard Hughes is already paying $450 million to build Downtown Summerlin, a big shopping center next to the proposed ball park site. Goodman suggested Howard Hughes roll its ball park costs into that of the shopping project — and voila, you can have a ball yard in Summerlin. Even some local trade unions, which typically support construction projects, opposed public money for the ball park. The 51s owners have been quiet lately about their funding request, and the Triple A team appears as if it will be playing in Cashman Field in downtown Las Vegas for the forseeable future.

* * *

The Second Chance

After development company Cordish Cos. failed to meet a deadline to build an arena in Symphony Park, the Las Vegas City Council earlier this year gave the company a second chance. This time, Cordish is trying to piece together a deal for a new $200 million soccer stadium plus another $100 million to bring a Major League Soccer expansion team to Las Vegas. Cordish is partnering with Justin Findlay of the Findlay car dealership empire. The Cordish-Findlay partnership was to present the stadium/team financing plan at public meetings this week but the city cancelled out. Because, you know, they’re still “negotiating” over how much the public would be expected to contribute to the $300 million deal. The City Council has until a Sept. 1 deadline to decide on whether the Cordish-Findlay duo can move ahead or whether Las Vegas should just pull the plug.

* * *

The Dreamer

Former UNLV basketball player Jackie Robinson has spent the past seven years trying to secure financing for a $1.4 billion resort and retractable-roof arena project for 27 acres next to SLS Las Vegas on the north end of the Strip. The arena part would cost $690 million alone.

On Aug. 6, the Clark County Commission granted a zoning approval to Robinson, and he said a groundbreaking is set for a day in October, depending on U.S. Commerce Secretary Penny Pritzker’s schedule. (A Commerce Department spokesman later said the secretary is unaware of Robinson’s project.)

Industry skeptics note that Robinson still has to line up a loan for more than $1 billion, and that he offered sparse details about events and programs at the arena that would pay the bills. But Robinson says he has $300 million in equity — he hasn’t said who his investors are — to start construction, so his dream lives on.

* * *

The Plan That Melted

After the Orleans Arena declined to renew a lease, the Las Vegas Wranglers minor league hockey team floated an ice rink idea all the way up to the rooftop of the downtown Plaza Hotel’s casino. Then, the Wranglers changed that plan, moving the ice rink proposal from the Plaza roof to the hotel’s parking lot. Then, the Wranglers pulled the plug and cancelled their 2014-15 season. The team claims it will return for a 2015-16 campaign, but the club does not know where it will play.

Contact reporter Alan Snel at asnel@reviewjournal.com or 702-387-5273. Find him on Twitter: @BicycleManSnel

News Videos
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Business Videos
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Smith & Wollensky CEO Michael Feighery speaks
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Apartments to Come to Hughes Center
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