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City gets six arena proposals

Six groups, some with big league connections, submitted proposals to build a downtown Las Vegas arena, the city announced Friday.

Officials refused to disclose details about the proposals, which were due Thursday and opened by the city and its consultant on Friday.

The mood at City Hall, especially that of Mayor Oscar Goodman, has been optimistic about the chances for a new arena to replace the Thomas & Mack and possibly lure an NHL or NBA franchise.

“I don’t care whether they feel it or not,” Goodman said when asked about skepticism among developers. “I know it’s going to happen. It’s just a question with whom.”

City Manager Doug Selby said, “We’re very pleased with the interest that has been shown.”

A city committee is scheduled to interview company representatives and review proposals on July 12 and July 13. It will make a recommendation on a “preferred developer” to the City Council.

The city has said they will not release the proposals until after the council makes its decision.

Selby has said the “preferred developer” still would have to come before the City Council to get approval for any tax incentives.

One group that has apparently dropped out is AEG, owner and operator of the Staples Center in Los Angeles. They had submitted a letter to the city’s consultant, Bill Rhoda, saying they were interested in submitting a proposal.

Representatives of AEG did not return calls for comment.

The six groups submitting proposals are:

• Paradigm Sports and Resorts LLC.

The group is made up of Henderson developer Ken Miller, of Star Development, and Dorian Lange, president and CEO of Michigan Equities Realty. In an interview, Miller said the group is proposing a $4 billion development that would include a 124-story hotel and casino, with an arena.

He said they have Hunt Construction, one of the largest arena builders in the country, and Ellerbe Becket, an architecture firm that has designed a number of NBA arenas, lined up.

They also have partnered with a facilities management firm that is subsidiary of the company that owns the Philadelphia 76ers and Philadelphia Flyers.

• Medallion Financial, a New York-based publicly traded investment company.

Andrew Murstein, president of Medallion Financial, said the company is looking at a sports-themed hotel as part of the project, which he said would cost about $1 billion. Unlike other proposals, no casino would be part of the deal.

A gaming element would cause opposition from other casino companies, he said. “We think it’s a mistake to put a casino there,” he said.

The proposal, he said, envisions the arena on the city-owned land across from City Hall and at the current City Hall location.

He partnered with Dan Marino and Mark Cuban on an unsuccessfully bid for the Pittsburgh Penguins.

He said this deal would require the city to provide the land and issue a bond to finance the arena.

Medallion Financial is working with a “major private equity firm” and J.P. Morgan/Chase to finance the project, Murstein said.

The team includes individuals who have overseen NHL expansions and arena construction, he said.

Tony Tavares is past chief executive officer for the Washington Nationals and was the former CEO of SMG, a major facilities management company for arenas. He also oversaw baseball’s Anaheim Angels and helped bring in the expansion Mighty Ducks to the NHL.

David LeFevre was also head of the Tampa Bay Lightning, and helped bring that team to Florida.

• REI Neon LLC and Warburg Pincus Joint Venture.

REI won council approval for a $9.5 billion project on 85 acres they have assembled near Main Street and Charleston Boulevards. The project would include thousands of hotel rooms and condo units and three casinos.

Goodman said a part owner of the Detroit Pistons and a part owner of the Cleveland Cavaliers are part of the group. REI representatives did not return a call of comment this week.

Warburg Pincus is a private equity firm.

Despite the go-ahead from the Las Vegas City Council earlier this month, Goodman has said that did not give the company a leg-up on their competitors in becoming the preferred developer.

• World Arena LLC

Arthur J. Petrie of Las Vegas is listed as the managing member and Carolyn Petrie is listed as the resident agent, according to secretary of state records.

• Strather and Associates.

Herb Strather, chairman and chief executive officer of the Michigan company, is a Detroit developer. In his letter of intent, he said the company is proposing a development that would include an arena, hotel, retail space and a casino.

• Lakes Communications Services.

No representative of the company could be reached.

 

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