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Regents approve UNLV master plan, which includes stadium project

Regents expected to vote in February on final stadium details, deal



Complete coverage of the proposed UNLV Now stadium plan and the other arena and stadium proposals in town.

Updated Friday, Nov. 30, 2012 | 8:45 p.m.


Artist rendering of the proposed UNLV Now project. Launch slideshow »

Nevada's higher education leaders unanimously approved UNLV's master plan, which includes the stadium project, on Friday.

With the Nevada System of Higher Education's approval of a campus master plan, UNLV and its private partner Majestic Realty Co. can now move forward with the details of a proposal to build a covered, 60,000-seat stadium on its Maryland Parkway campus.

Officials hope the "UNLV Now" stadium project would be a "game-changer" for the university, and a major regional attraction that could bring the likes of an NFL exhibition game, Comic-Con and the Electric Daisy Carnival to campus.

A stadium at UNLV would attract more quality students and faculty to campus and transform campus life from less of a commuter atmosphere to a more residential one, officials said. There is also the potential for a lot of money to be made — on campus and regionally.

The stadium could pump $393.2 million to the Las Vegas economy annually if constructed, according to an economic impact report released Friday.

The study was written by Mark Rosentraub, a project consultant from the University of Michigan's Center for Sport Management, and was funded by UNLV and Majestic Realty.

The stadium is estimated to draw at least 15 new major events and about 472,500 visitors each year, according to the report. Anticipated events include the following:

• Sporting events such as a Mountain West or Pacific-12 football championship game, the X-Games, Wrestlemania, UFC International Fight Week, a Major League Soccer All-Star game and a NCAA Final Four basketball game.

• Music concerts and festivals such as the Electronic Daisy Carnival, the Country Music Festival and a Rock Music Festival.

• Other major events such as the Republican or Democratic National Convention, Comic-Con and corporate events.

The stadium could attract a Major League Soccer team to Las Vegas, which lacks a major sports team, said Majestic's Craig Cavileer, president of the Silverton resort. Any major events held currently at the Thomas & Mack Center — such as the National Finals Rodeo — could be hosted at the new stadium as well.

The report estimates that each of these 15 events would attract about 31,500 people.

If each person spends an average of $100 per ticket and $40 in food/souvenir purchases, UNLV stands to raise $66.1 million in on-campus revenue annually.

The nearby Las Vegas Strip, the local construction industry and Nevada's coffers also stand to benefit.

The stadium would support local resort and retail venues, which could rake in more than $327 million in new revenue each year.

The report adds that stadium construction would generate more than $197 million in wages and nearly $30 million in additional tax revenue for state and local governments.

If UNLV is able to attract 30 major events to a new UNLV stadium, the total economic impact for Las Vegas could approach $790 million.

Although final cost estimates and financing details have yet to be released, the stadium’s cost is estimated at $800 million. UNLV officials plan to have final budget figures and deal hammered out by late February.

UNLV and the developers earlier had said about one-third, or about $270 million, of the cost would come from long-term naming rights and numerous forms of advertising.

Another third would come from revenue generated at the site.

The last third would come in the form of a sort of tax-incremental financing plan, which would help developers obtain long-term financing. UNLV is expected to ask the Legislature for a special tax district to help support the stadium's construction.

Last legislative session, UNLV's bid for a tax-district failed in the 11th hour. It fail in part, officials said, because it was bundled with two other stadium projects in the valley.

This time, UNLV officials are more hopeful as the other two projects — in Henderson and in Las Vegas — have hit hiccups.

"We're more optimistic, but we have a lot of work to do," said Don Snyder, UNLV's hotel college dean and lead project manager. (Snyder was involved in building the Fremont Street Experience and the new Smith Center, both of which were public-private projects similar to the UNLV Now stadium proposal.)

The mega-events center is envisioned at the site of the current UNLV baseball facility, north of Harmon Avenue and east of Swenson Street. The baseball field would be moved south, between Harmon and Tropicana avenues, and expanded to include a soccer field and baseball diamonds.

A new "student village" would be sandwiched between the athletic fields and the stadium area. This village, consist of retail shops and expanded student dorms and apartments, will be key to UNLV's transition from a commuter school to a residential campus.

Regents asked questions about the stadium proposal and master plan — issues such as financing and safety — but remained supportive of the project.

Regent Jack Schofield, 89, was especially enthusiastic about the proposal. The former UNLV student saw the campus open in 1957 and has watched it grow into Southern Nevada's premier research institution ever since.

"This is an investment in my opinion. We're investing, not spending," Schofield said. "We have an opportunity here to succeed and I hope we don't flub it."

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  1. One of the names under consideration is the "Dust Bowl".

  2. Build it and they will come about time this goes into action it will be a Gem for LV and another step in the right direction towards making Las Vegas a complete vacation area. Any major city which has a major stadium has reaped the $$$ benefits and culture growth making them center points for great entertainment. Who knows even a super bowl bid might be entertained for this complex.

  3. The list of events included in the Executive Summary has some incredibly questionable events.

    NFL Preseason & Pro Bowl - The NFL absolutely hates Vegas, there is no way they'd bring games here, to play at a stadium that is within 10 minutes walking distance of the sports book at the Hard Rock Hotel.

    NCAA Final Four - This deserves a bigger laugh than the idea that the NFL would bring games to Vegas!

    Music Events (EDC, Rock festivals) - Large music festivals are typically held outdoors in large, flat areas to accommodate 100,000+ people and multiple stages. A stadium like this wont do for how EDC and large rock festivals like Coachella usually work. You'll be able to attract concerts, and probably local radio-sponsored events (Extreme Thing) but you aren't going to get a music festival going to attract 80,000 people to the stadium.

    Two Soccer Festivals - one maybe, but two seems unlikely.

    Comicon - As much as I would love to see Comicon in Vegas, a stadium isn't going to put us over the top. We have everything we need from a logistical standpoint now for Comicon (hotel rooms, convention space), a stadium brings us nothing new.

    X-Games - perhaps every other year, but not every year. Would likely rotate cities.

    MWC Football Championship Game - I don't think it'll attract a ton of people or revenue.


    After looking at their list I figure they have a good chance for 10-12 events, not the 15 they're talking about. And that includes stealing the NFR from the T&M, which would hurt UNLV and benefit the stadium (might not be that big of a net gain).

    Plus, if you look at the UNLV Now master plan, parking for the T&M and the stadium would be less (fewer spots in total) than what is available for the T&M now exclusively. Good luck with that.

    The master plan is available at (warning: large JPG) - you can see they remove the T&M black lot in its entirety, most of the white lot as well, along with the parking that fronts Tropicana between Paradise and Swenson. Replacing this parking is a few small lots near the stadium (likely to be reserved for VIP parking for events, so don't think you'll be parking there anytime soon).

    The executive summary PDF is available at - this lists the events they'd like to see is towards the end of the document.

  4. LV would attract a pro sports team if they build this, probably soccer. UNLV's football program would benefit, more people would go to games. I can see a bowl game being played there and some playoff games as well.

  5. Comment removed by moderator. Inappropriate

  6. "The last third would come in the form of a sort of tax-incremental financing plan, which would help developers obtain long-term financing. UNLV is expected to ask the Legislature for a special tax district to help support the stadium's construction."

    There it is. It's just *so fantastic* that the private developer is either unable or unwilling to secure enough private financing to pay for it all. Will the developers be on the hook if it fails, or will we?

    As to all these "anticipated" events - it sounds awfully (and by that I mean 'unrealistically') presumptive. Plus, isn't the Electric Daisy Carnival already here? That's not going to pump more money into the local economy if it was already going to be here. It leads me to wonder whether the economic impact report is only counting what will be added and ignoring what will be lost. All over the country, big stadiums for things like professional sports teams routinely fail to boost economies as claimed (and are often a drain instead), because they cannibalize other leisure activities. People spend at the stadium instead of spending at the movies, or restaurants, etc. It sounds like they expect the stadium to cannibalize other venues as well as other forms of entertainment. Lose/lose.

  7. "Plus, if you look at the UNLV Now master plan, parking for the T&M and the stadium would be less (fewer spots in total) than what is available for the T&M now exclusively. Good luck with that."

    Did the pictures confuse you?

    According to their presentation - - UNLV currently has 12,500 TOTAL parking spots, including T&M. They're building an additional 11,500 in the first phase, which is planned for the next five years.

    The plan is to have 23,500-29,000 parking spaces.

    Looks like they're planning to replace giant swaths of parking lots with parking garages, which is a great use of space and will allow them to move things around campus.

    The real question is how traffic will flow around the university. Cramming this much stuff into such a small footprint seems like a traffic nightmare waiting to happen.

  8. As they wait to cash their Obama stimulus checks (unemployment benefits) they trash something that may make them get work....

    The 15 events is a small list compared to whats really out there waiting to come here. Plus the smaller events that will share space as it does now at the various venues.

    Much better than a giant Farris wheel being built next to a bankrupt monorail..

    Tourism is still Las Vegas number one job creator.. This will add jobs and $$ to the economy like no other.

  9. "Did the pictures confuse you?"

    The image I linked to showed the T&M black lot being completely removed (replaced with "recreational areas"), the MP PDF you linked to above doesn't. Also the white lot appears to be reconfigured with larger garages in the MP PDF. So which one is right? And why did I find that image on UNLV's master plan website? In the direct vicinity of the stadium and T&M, they'd have how many spots? Not counting the current Engineering parking garage, or any future Maryland Parkway garages. And this doesn't even bring up the fact they want to increase on-campus housing from 1,100 beds to 7,000-9,000 beds (and the cars that come with them in this mass-transit-unfriendly town).

    The car counts for the stadium seem questionable - the stadium will only draw 11K cars? So 5 people per car on average for a sold-out event? Or do that many people take cabs/shuttle busses to the events? (I know NFR runs shuttles, but I don't expect football games to). Never mind all the employees of the stadium driving commuting 1 person per car.

    The parking garages are a good idea for students who spend variable amounts of time on campus per day depending on their own schedule and don't all come in one rush at 8A and leave at 5P, but I question their use and density for an events center. Ever try and leave the Hard Rock after a sold-out concert at the new Joint? A lot of education would need to go on to tell people where to park for how they want to leave the stadium - if you want to get to the 215 via the airport, park in X, Y and Z garages; etc.

    Parking is an annoyance, and not a big concern when it comes to funding the stadium. They've got their "15 events" and I think they'll be lucky to get 12 and the promised tax revenue they're putting out there.

  10. Anthony, what I linked to was the master plan that was approved. It has a few things to quell your concerns.

    First, the addition of 11,500 parking lot spaces, making a total of 23,500 spaces (at least) on campus. 23,500 spaces for a 60,000 seat complex is very reasonable. To compare, Cowboys Stadium has a capacity of 80,000 with 24,000 spaces available.

    Are all of those parking spaces directly adjacent to the complex? No. Which is why they're proposing a campus transportation system. I'd remind you that half of the parking for the Cowboys stadium is at the Rangers' ballpark. They employ a similar system.

    This actually makes a lot more sense, as you can park in a garage across campus, that would be easier to get out of, and take a shuttle to the complex.

    What they actually seem to lack is a decent space for tailgating.

    I share your concerns about the realistic number of events they can expect.

  11. Unless at least 60% of this is funded by private donations I think it's a huge mistake.

    I love sports as much as anyone but this may be one of the dumbest moves of all time considering the local and national economic forecasts. That is unless you believe all the hype and BS.

    If it costs an average of $100 per ticket they'll never see me and probably not tens of thousands of others. The revenues are a pipe dream as they all are. There may be a stadium that makes money, but outside of Dallas I can't think of a stadium that ever reached projections and I'm not sure about them. Stadium pushers always claim the moon and deliver much less. Someone said on local TV last night that a Super Bowl was possible. The current NFL Commissioner has said he won't allow an NFL team in Vegas and it is unlikely he'd allow a Super Bowl based upon his comments about Vegas and gambling. Vegas I believe is a medium not a big TV market and with only 60,000 seats it would be tough to get a SB here. Most schools and cities build new stadiums before they finish paying off the old one. The Chargers and San Diego have been doing the stadium dance for ten years with threats of moving and if I remember, SD is still paying for the old one through the nose.

    Those who will pay for this for the next 20 or 30 years need to think about it, carefully. With city, county and state budgets busted; education, transportation and other special interests all conniving for tax raises, saddling the tax payer with more than a billion including maintenance and operations costs doesn't make sense.

    So many have so much to say about the dismal state of education in Nevada and the inability to attract new business due to a poorly educated work force that I would think a major expenditure of this nature that will surely result in higher taxes should go to facilities that produce the types of degrees and skills that will create an educated work force.

    "If each person spends an average of $100 per ticket and $40...". "If UNLV is able to attract 30 major events... ". If and if and if; if a frog had wings it wouldn't bump its butt.

    If the taxpayers want it regardless they should vote for it and the tax increases necessary up front, but stop feeding us preposterous nonsense that judging by history and any reasonable projection is very unlikely to ever come true.

    A billion for education might make sense if done right, which is another air burst but a billion for a sports stadium when we will never pay the bonds off is suicidal and stupid. I may be wrong but I haven't seen any guarantees of anything that can be taken to the bank yet. Talk about living beyond our means...

    Majority private funding must be contractual before we go down this rabbit hole.

  12. I'm sorry...did I miss something. I don't believe I saw anything here regarding "higher education"

  13. "Voters say 'NO' to local library fund initiative "
    "The projected cost to taxpayers was $7 annually for every taxable value of $100,000."

    Two branches expected to close by end of month as result of decision that $7/month was too much...Henderson Press.

    Eliminate Libraries, the build a boutique and sports dome for millions more. The tipping point has arrived.