The Raiders broke out the shiny hard hats and logo-emblazoned shovels Monday for the ceremonial first move of dirt at the site of the NFL team’s future Henderson home.
“So while the stadium gets most of the attention — it’s where the memories are made on the field and where millions around the world watch their heroes perform — this right here is our home,” team President Marc Badain said with a backdrop of cloudy skies and Red Rock Canyon visible in the distance.
The team’s headquarters and practice facility will soon stand in the desert lot that, on a brisk Monday afternoon, was occupied by a staging of heavy-duty construction equipment. At more than 320,000 square feet, the headquarters will house one-and-a-half indoor football fields, a training center and office space. Outside the complex will be three more fields, fan seating and a pool.
“It is here where all the work gets done, where the coaches work 20 hours a day preparing the game plans, where the players study and train in getting their bodies and minds ready for the season,” Badain said. “It’s where the organization will become ingrained within the local community.”
The Raiders purchased the 55-acre plot near St. Rose Parkway and Executive Airport Drive from Henderson last year for about $6 million — half of its appraised value. The city has said the project will be a catalyst for development in an area that is rapidly growing. The total investment of the project will be “well north” of $75 million, Badain said.
The Henderson City Council has worked to set the area up for growth, approving development agreements in recent months for a nearby charter school and 380-unit apartment complex. Last week, the city approved the purchase of a nearby 10-acre parcel to give itself the opportunity to control how the land is developed.
“We’re excited about the growth and the transformation of this area, and we’re proud to be a part of it,” Badain said during a ceremony that was attended by Raiders quarterback Derek Carr.
Henderson Mayor Debra March said at the ceremony that the city is already seeing an economic impact from the team’s relocation, including an expansion of hangars at Henderson Executive Airport and the acceleration of the nearby Henderson West urban center project.
Football players aside, the team’s relocation is expected to create about 250 full-time jobs, city officials have said.
“I knew that we would be corporate headquarters for companies; I had no idea it would be the Las Vegas Raiders, and we couldn’t be more thrilled,” March told the Review-Journal.
The team looked at scores of properties all across the valley’s perimeter before settling in Henderson, Badain said after the ceremony.
“I think once the word got out what we were looking (for), people got really excited about it and we had a lot of opportunities,” he said.
Badain said the size of the Henderson site was attractive because it allows the organization to expand the facility. The team is brainstorming the second phase of the project with real estate partners, he said.
Part of the idea is to create a facility similar to the Dallas Cowboys’ Frisco, Texas, practice complex, Badain said. The Cowboys are headquartered in a multi-use development with restaurants and shopping.
“Whether exactly what they do there makes sense here, we’ll have to take a look,” he said. “We’ll do the research.”
The Raiders are slated to begin playing at the new 65,000-seat Las Vegas Stadium in time for the 2020 season. The team’s Henderson home is slated to be open in the spring of that year.