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Henderson City Council lets stadium feasibility study move forward

Henderson Mayor Andy Hafen

Henderson Mayor Andy Hafen

Henderson City Council hears stadium proposal

The Henderson City Council heard a proposal Tuesday night to build a multi-billion dollar sports complex off I-15 near the M Resort.

A developer’s plan to build a multi-billion-dollar sports complex in Southern Nevada took a small step forward Tuesday night at a Henderson City Council meeting.

Representatives from Las Vegas National Sports Complex LLC, led by developer Christopher Milam, presented plans for a multi-phased project that would eventually see four stadiums built on 485 acres of federal land east of Interstate 15 and just south of the M Resort in Henderson.

The council approved an agreement to allow the developer to move forward with feasibility and design studies and supported an application from the developer to buy the land from the Bureau of Land Management.

The first phase of the project would see a 17,500-seat enclosed arena and a 25,000-seat open-air stadium built at a cost of $1.3 billion.

Lee Haney, a representative for the developer, said the two buildings would be capable of supporting an NBA team and a professional soccer team and would be targeted for completion in 2014.

The project would be privately financed but ownership of the stadiums and land would be transferred to the city upon completion and leased back to the developers to allow the city to issue bonds to help pay for the stadiums.

The project bonds could come in one of many forms, including via a tourism improvement district, a tax increment area or a user fee on tickets, food and beverages.

A second phase, to be completed later, would involve a 63,500-seat domed stadium designed for an NFL team and a baseball stadium to host the Las Vegas 51s or another professional baseball team.

Investment banks Morgan Stanley and Goldman Sachs would help finance the project, but there are no formal commitments from the banks yet, Haney said.

“They feel confident...that they will not have any problem raising the equity that’s required for this project,” Haney said. “Although we don’t have written commitments to date, we feel those are forthcoming.”

City officials emphasized that there would be no tax increases associated with the project.

Haney estimated that the project would create about 10,000 jobs during construction and another 4,000 permanent jobs.

Talks of building a stadium in Southern Nevada have abounded for years, but several proposed projects in Las Vegas and Clark County have failed to materialize.

Haney said the Henderson location is ideal because of its large size, visibility and easy access from I-15, St. Rose Parkway and Las Vegas Boulevard.

Mayor Andy Hafen said Tuesday night’s agreement was only the beginning of the negotiation process and allows the city and developer to study the viability of the site.

He said the proposed complex, if built, would be a boon for Henderson.

“Jobs. Economic development. What mayor, what city wouldn’t want to have an arena and a stadium of this caliber?” he said. “I really think this could work for Southern Nevada. But we’ll do our due diligence. The big thing is going to much risk the developer is going to be able to take on and how much risk, if any, do we, the city, take on.”

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