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July 29, 2015

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Mayor: UNLV domed stadium wouldn’t conflict with a downtown Las Vegas arena

Goodman praises UNLV officials for working toward enclosed multipurpose facility

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Oscar Goodman

Mayor Oscar Goodman says he's hoping UNLV officials will be successful at bringing a new domed football stadium to campus.

But at the same time, Goodman says he will continue to push for a professional sports arena to be built in downtown Las Vegas at Symphony Park.

"I don't know whether they're inconsistent with one another," the mayor said. "I haven't heard anything in that discussion about bringing an NBA team or an NHL team out to that arena. It appears to be more directed towards the university."

Goodman made those remarks after having a joint press conference at City Hall with UNLV men's basketball Coach Lon Kruger, who was there to help promote a new "Suits and Sneakers" cancer fundraising program.

UNLV officials have said they are in discussions with Los Angeles billionaire Ed Roski to build a multipurpose sports and entertainment complex near campus.

"I asked the coach (Kruger) on the way in here whether that really has legs and he indicated that's a real possibility," Goodman said after Kruger had left. "I mean, it's more than just talk at this point in time. And I think it would be terrific for the university to have a 40,000-seat venue out there."

Goodman said he has heard that plans for the facility's seating could be reduced down to 5,000 seats. He said he has also heard that organizers don't plan to ask for taxpayer dollars to build it.

"That's extraordinary and I hope that it's true," Goodman said.

He said UNLV's Sam Boyd Stadium is like the school's Thomas & Mack basketball arena.

"They're grand old venues, but they're old venues," Goodman said. "Hopefully they'll be able to build us a brand new facility that will maybe help folks feel like we have to support the football team a lot more than we have in past years. ... Support brings good players here. I would love to have a first-class football team to root for."

Goodman said he has consistently taken the position that the best place to have a professional sports arena that would be home to an NBA or NHL team would be a "neutral place."

"All I want is for the community to have a sports team for whom they could root. And if it's gonna be someplace else, I'm not gonna shed any tears. I just felt that the downtown is probably the most neutral of all venues and it would be very good to continue our redevelopment efforts," he said.

He described a "neutral" site as one that is not associated with any particular casino.

"I'm not sure that that definition would apply to UNLV, which I believe would be a neutral site as well," Goodman said.

Meanwhile, the mayor said he still had no announcement to make on how plans are progressing toward building a sports arena in the 61-acre Symphony Park, the former Union Pacific rail yard.

"Every day there are conversations and every day there are reports," Goodman said. "Are we any closer? I will say this: I had discussions with the group that has been pursuing the arena and stadium complexes."

He said he put them in touch with the Cordish Company, the city's developer for the project.

Goodman said he also had discussions Wednesday with a former owner of a major league franchise who said he was interested in bringing a major league team to Las Vegas.

"The closer we get to somebody turning that shovel, we're going to find who's going to be culled out and who's going to perform," he said.

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