Tuesday, Feb. 1, 2011 | 5 p.m.
Proposed UNLV stadium
- Should the proposed arena be built near the UNLV campus?
- Yes — 90.0%
- No — 10.0%
This poll is closed, see Full Results »
Note: This is not a scientific poll. The results reflect only the opinions of those who chose to participate.
- Developers put early plans for UNLV stadium, retail district on display (2-1-11)
- Regents to hear UNLV arena plan for football, basketball (1-31-11)
- Mayor: UNLV domed stadium wouldn’t conflict with a downtown Las Vegas arena (1-27-2011)
- Report: UNLV domed stadium plans will be unveiled Tuesday (1-27-2011)
- Goodman: Arena project a key issue for next Las Vegas mayor (1-20-2011)
- UNLV acknowledges effort to bring stadium, football to campus (1-19-2011)
- Mayor: Sports arena ballot petition 'irrelevant' to city arena efforts (11-18-2010)
- Symphony Park targeted for sports arena (11-12-2010)
- Mayor: American League team says no to Las Vegas (8-26-2010)
- Mayor: Without public funding for arena, Las Vegas won't get NBA team (7-22-2010)
- Strip sports arena has very little support (6-10-2010)
- MGM Mirage opposes arena options seeking public financing (5-18-2010)
- County wants arena details, says public money unlikely (4-6-2010)
- Cowboys Stadium poses Texas-sized threat to Vegas (3-21-2010)
Beyond the Sun
Right now, it's all artist renderings, talk and visualization.
If and when a new mixed-use development on the UNLV campus, including a multi-purpose domed stadium, gets built is still the great unknown.
But during a presentation and press conference Tuesday at the Silverton Casino Lodge, imaginations ran wild as the proposed layout was unveiled in front of a crowd filled with UNLV administrators, athletic department personnel, the general public and several other parties of interest.
The plan will be discussed with the Nevada Board of Regents during a meeting on Feb. 11, and if a memorandum of understanding is approved, Majestic Realty Co. and its team would move forward, developing timelines, phasing agreements and construction schedules for the project.
Discussing the thinking behind the development on Tuesday were Ed Roski — chairman and CEO of Majestic Realty and owner of the Silverton — and Silverton president Craig Cavileer.
During Cavileer's presentation, he spoke of his inspiration coming from the time he spent in Austin, Texas, citing how the community's common bond was the University of Texas and Longhorns athletics.
According to UNLV athletics director Jim Livengood, talks for the project began seriously heating up in the late summer and early fall.
The new development would span 150 acres, and include 600,000 square feet of retail shopping, restaurants and student residences. The centerpiece would be the 40,000-seat event center to go with several parking facilities nearby and a renovation of the nearly 30-year-old Thomas & Mack Center.
UNLV athletics officials on hand said they look at it not as just a boost for their department and brand, but as a potential game-changer for the university as a whole.
"This would be a huge step forward for both our university and our football program," second-year Rebels football coach Bobby Hauck said. "This has a chance to transform our school. It would aid us in transitioning from what's perceived as a commuter university into a big-time place.
"Usually, people who do great things aren't small thinkers. These guys certainly are not small-thinking. They see the big picture, and again, you're not just building a building or a structure. It's an opportunity, and if you don't seize opportunities, sometimes they go (away)."
The goal of the entire project was presented as bringing more of a true college campus feel to UNLV, and that starts with getting more students to live on campus. Currently, very few do, dispersing into Henderson, Summerlin and elsewhere in the valley.
"We think we'll be able to take UNLV and build it into that (University of Texas) or Michigan kind of category," UNLV president Neal Smatresk said. "I really think this is uniquely suitable for Las Vegas, and this is the right time and right place."
Among the renderings on display where diagrams of how the stadium layout would look for several events. Many eyes were looking at the basketball setup.
Cavileer hinted that the proposed building could be the new home to UNLV men's basketball, with the arena being condensed down to 20,000 seats for Rebels games, while the refurbished Mack could still be put to use on conflicting dates.
He said the construction of the stadium is not contingent on lining up a pro sports franchise as a primary resident, but that it could accommodate one.
UNLV hoops coach Lon Kruger, also in attendance, liked what he saw. A shiny new home for games would fit in nicely alongside the Mendenhall Center, which is the program's new practice facility under construction in front of the Cox Pavilion.
"It's not a highly residential campus, and we're talking about going from maybe one extreme to the other," he said. "When you talk about that, I don't even see the buildings. I see the activity on campus on just a normal college day.
"(The Mack) is 27 years old, and it's a great facility for being 27 years old. But anytime you do something 30 years later, you can imagine doing it much bigger, much better, much brighter, much more appealing. Certainly, that's what this building would do. And that's certainly not a knock on the Thomas & Mack. It's great and has been great, but progress is about change."
However, for all of the optimism on display Tuesday, there were several questions hanging over the crowd that just couldn't be answered completely in this preliminary stage.
• How much, if any, public money would be needed to complete the venture?
• What would happen to Sam Boyd Stadium if this comes to fruition? And does UNLV's struggling football program really need a new home?
• What kind of traffic headaches would be caused with this, since a piece of the proposed development lies over where Swenson Street currently runs in front of the Mack?
Those questions could gain more steam depending on what happens Feb. 11.
A major motivating factor behind it, though, is protecting the revenue that already comes in from the flexibility that the Mack offers. Another arena in town away from campus could threaten that.
"If another arena is built, I figure we lose somewhere between $3 and $7 million a year instantly, and the impact of that would be devastating on our Division-I sports," Smatresk added. "So what we're saying is we want to keep the business we have and build something that makes sense for our campus and that campus community."