The Raiders have sold their Henderson headquarters for $191 million and leased it back, a rapid sale of a project that is still being built by a team that has not yet played a game in Las Vegas.
Chicago-based Mesirow Financial purchased the under-construction football facility across from Henderson Executive Airport and leased it back to the NFL team for 29 years, with seven 10-year extension options, filings with the Clark County recorder’s office show.
The sale closed Friday. Public records obtained by the Review-Journal do not show the Raiders’ annual rent.
The transaction shows how the NFL team has turned a once-discounted plot of city-owned property into lucrative real estate. It also comes on the heels of other leasebacks involving high-profile Las Vegas buildings.
The Raiders bought 55.6 acres of land from the city of Henderson in 2018 for a little over $6 million, half the appraised value, and sold its unfinished facility there for more than 30 times that.
Public records show the Raiders entered into a ground lease at the site and subleased it right back, indicating the team still owns, but is now renting, the land underneath the complex.
Raiders President Marc Badain declined to comment on the transaction.
Garry Cohen, a senior managing director in Mesirow’s sale-leaseback capital group, said the public records are accurate and “speak for themselves,” and referred comment to the Raiders.
Mesirow bought the facility through an entity called Autumn Wind HQ — apparently in honor of the Raiders’ unofficial anthem, “The Autumn Wind.”
Patrick Luther, of brokerage firm SRS Real Estate Partners, said sale-leasebacks are becoming more common across all industry types.
Sellers give up ownership of their property and, according to Luther, face tax implications with receiving a big bundle of money. But they also get a cash injection without having to take out a loan, he noted.
Las Vegas has seen a burst of casino leasebacks lately. For instance, MGM Resorts International sold the Bellagio, one of its biggest moneymakers on the Strip, this past fall for about $4.2 billion in cash to financial giant The Blackstone Group and leased it back for an initial annual rent of $245 million.
Luther, who said he has worked on more than 500 sale-leasebacks, noted the nine-figure Raiders deal stands out.
“Usually they’re not this large,” he said.
The Raiders sale closed after the Henderson City Council approved a measure Feb. 18 that was designed to protect the city’s development agreement with the team, given the pending sale-leaseback deal.
The measure ensures that the facility, 1475 Executive Airport Drive, off St. Rose Parkway in the booming west Henderson area, will be built “in the same manner as originally agreed,” that the property is used as the Raiders’ headquarters and practice center, and that the requirement for at least 250 non-football-player jobs is met, city spokeswoman Kathleen Richards told the Review-Journal.
According to city documents, the complex sits on a 24.6-acre portion of the Raiders’ land holdings.
Richards said she wasn’t aware whether the team had disclosed its annual rent, adding the city may not be privy to that anyway because it’s a private transaction.
The Raiders are expected to move to Southern Nevada from Oakland, California, this year. The team will play its home games in the under-construction, 65,000-seat Allegiant Stadium west of the Strip.
The team’s Henderson facility was designed to span 323,000 square feet and include indoor and outdoor fields, a gym, a sand pit and offices, city records show. The Raiders broke ground on the project early last year.
Raiders executive Don Webb, who oversees construction of the practice facility and the stadium, told the Review-Journal last summer the team was holding about 30 acres in Henderson for future uses and had some ideas for it, but nothing “with any specificity.”