Las Vegas Sun

November 20, 2019

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Signs point to Sands studying stadium project



An artist’s rendering depicts the Fusion Project — the latest stadium proposal to surface for Las Vegas.

Notes compiled as we kick off the new year on the great VegasVille landscape:

• A 100,000-capacity stadium rumored for the Strip has generated a ripple around town. An anonymous Las Vegas resort company reportedly has embarked on feasibility studies for such a facility.

When you look at the viability of such a project, the most likely company to investigate such an adventure is Las Vegas Sands, owner of the Venetian and Palazzo.

The company has available territory behind the Palazzo on the east side of the Strip. And there has been previous speculation that Sands would build an arena to rival the Las Vegas Arena being built by MGM Resorts and AEG Live on the west side of the Strip.

None of these plans are close to being made public. But that company and that location would be the most likely scenario for a new stadium on the Strip.

The feasibility study certainly would examine what sorts of events could be staged at a 100,000-capacity venue — international soccer, music festivals and the like. A stadium of that size would rival in capacity the Rose Bowl and L.A. Coliseum. In other words, massive.

And this isn’t the only stadium project floating out there. Still forging ahead are officials with the Fusion Project, who in June announced plans to build a $1 billion sports complex with a 70,000 to 90,000 capacity stadium.

I’m reliably informed that F Group International, fronted by Italian entrepreneurs Daniele Fortunato and Gaetano Di Renzo, still are moving forward with plans to secure land on Las Vegas Boulevard and assemble a collection of international investors to fund the complex. Fortunato’s “master plan,” as he calls, is due any time,

“We will be near the Strip, and we will do this with no public money,” Fortunato said.

When he was mayor of Las Vegas, Oscar Goodman once said of a handful of competing arena plans, “Whoever has their shovels in the ground first, wins.” That likely is the case with Strip stadiums, too.

• We didn’t start the fire, as Billy Joel once intoned, but we can furnish some Las Vegas firefighter trivia: The oldest fire station in the city is No. 1, originally located on Fremont Street and now at 500 N. Casino Center Blvd. The station dates to the city’s infancy in 1906. It also is home to the last fire pole in use in any Clark County fire station.

• Among the fine entertainers in Las Vegas are unlikely figures Paul Lowden and Al Bernstein. Lowden, who owned the Sahara and had a stake in the Hacienda and Tropicana over the years, is an expert keyboard player who plays with his band at Bootlegger Bistro and the Italian American Club. Bernstein, one of the foremost boxing broadcast analysts for more than four decades, is a great singer of standards who also appears occasionally at Kelly Clinton’s Open Mic Night each Monday at Bootlegger.

During the nearly hourlong delay of the start of the Floyd Mayweather-Manny Pacquiao bout at the MGM Grand in May (the pay-per-view system crashed because of a high volume of late purchases), I tweeted that we should fill the time with Bernstein singing from the Great American Songbook. Hardly anyone got that reference, but he did.

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