Las Vegas Sun

October 13, 2015

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Developer, Henderson city officials move forward on stadium project

Plans call for facilities to house pro basketball and soccer teams

With hopes of reaching a final agreement by April, a developer and Henderson city officials are working quickly to lay the groundwork for future negotiations on a proposed $1.3 billion stadium project.

On Tuesday night, the Henderson City Council approved a series of planning items related to the streets, sidewalks, trails, sewers and public transit that will serve the multi-sport complex.

The master plan agreement, which serves as the framework for negotiations, was also updated to include basic terms for the buildings' lease and place guidelines on future phases of development.

The project, slated to be built on 500 acres of federal land east of Interstate 15 near the M Resort, was first introduced at a city council meeting in September. The plan calls for an initial phase of building that will include a 17,500-seat enclosed arena suitable for a professional basketball team and a 25,000-seat, open-air stadium to host a professional soccer team.

The stadium would be privately financed, with the city helping implement a tax increment district or a tourism improvement district. City officials insist taxes will not be raised due to the development.

The project is being led by Chris Milam, who has tried unsuccessfully to build a stadium at several sites around the valley over the past few years.

City officials and the developer hope to have a final agreement in place by April, which would allow construction to begin in the summer.

Director of Utility Services Dennis Porter said the city still has the option to walk away from the project at any point until the final agreement is signed.

Several of the changes approved by the council Tuesday night will give the city more flexibility and help minimize risk from the project, Porter said.

Among the biggest changes to the initial agreement approved in September is a clause that requires the developer to complete construction within three years of the agreement. If the developer doesn't, the 500-acre site must be returned to its initial state, and any completed construction would have to be torn down, Porter said.

"What we didn't want was for the project to get started and then just sit there," he said.

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