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Bankruptcy Court judge approves Monorail sale to LVCVA

Updated November 24, 2020 - 4:30 pm

A judge on Tuesday approved the sale of the Las Vegas Monorail to the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority.

U.S. Bankruptcy Court Judge Natalie Cox said she will sign the order enabling the LVCVA to acquire the 3.9-mile elevated transit system for $24.26 million. Most of the money generated by the sale will be distributed to creditors.

“We are pleased the U.S. Bankruptcy Court today approved the sale of the Las Vegas Monorail Co.’s assets to the LVCVA and look forward to the close of the transaction in the coming weeks,” LVCVA President and CEO Steve Hill said in an emailed statement.

The LVCVA’s primary interest in acquiring the system is to control a noncompete agreement that enables Elon Musk’s The Boring Co. to build a competing underground transit system on the east side of Las Vegas Boulevard.

The LVCVA will now be able to allow the company to develop an estimated 15 miles of tunnels for a new but untested system that will use Tesla vehicles to transport customers to various locations in the resort corridor and downtown Las Vegas and to Allegiant Stadium and McCarran International Airport.

When the spread of the coronavirus subsides, the LVCVA is expected to operate the monorail system. The organization has said the monorail is an important transportation option when the destination is at full strength, as it moves nearly 5 million people a year, many of whom are attendees of meetings and trade shows at the Las Vegas Convention Center.

The LVCVA says it wants to make sure the monorail system continues to operate. In its October meeting, the LVCVA, in a 12-1 vote, approved an agreement with Western Management Group of Los Gatos, California, on a contract not to exceed $500,000 to manage the Las Vegas Monorail.

Executives with the Las Vegas Monorail, including President and CEO Curtis Myles, are expected to be hired through Western Management to oversee the system because of their familiarity with its operation.

Cox conducted six hearings since Sept. 11 as the LVCVA went through the process as a stalking-horse bidder.

Hill said from the beginning that it was possible that other entities could outbid the LVCVA for the system. But in an October hearing, it was determined there were no other qualified bidders, paving the way for the sale to the LVCVA.

Cox also declined a motion from the World Buddhism Association, which intends to build its headquarters on vacant land near the northern terminus of the monorail line at a vacant parking lot across Paradise Road from the Sahara.

After initially objecting to the sale Sept. 11, the Buddhist association filed objections Oct. 12, Nov. 6 and Friday, but Cox ruled against all of them.

Long-term plans for the monorail are unclear, but a minimal staff has been hired to keep the system functioning and secure.

Hill has said the system’s developer, Canada-based Bombardier Inc., no longer manufactures trains for the type of system Las Vegas has.

Cox disclosed in Tuesday’s hearing that MGM Resorts International was approached about buying the Monorail, a suggestion offered by LVCVA board member and Las Vegas Mayor Carolyn Goodman. MGM declined the offer.

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

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