Courtesy of Cuningham Group Architecture, Inc.
Published Monday, Dec. 23, 2013 | 1:23 p.m.
Updated Monday, Dec. 23, 2013 | 3:05 p.m.
A privately funded $1.3 billion arena with a retractable roof has been proposed at the former Wet 'n' Wild site on the Strip.
Former UNLV and NBA player Jackie Robinson, a Las Vegas businessman, announced today plans to break ground next year on the 22,000-seat arena that could house basketball, hockey, boxing, rodeos and concerts.
No tenants have been signed for the arena, but Robinson has ties to the NBA and has interest in bringing a team to Las Vegas. He said the arena would be large enough to play host to NCAA regional basketball tournaments.
Developers have tentatively named the project the All Net Arena and Resort, and the project would include a high-end resort with a spa. A promenade called Victory Plaza would lead visitors from Las Vegas Boulevard past lush landscaping and water features to a restaurant, nightclub, wedding chapel and retail amenities as well as the arena.
The four-level arena would include 75 luxury boxes: 25 1,000-square-foot executive suites and 50 500-square-foot corporate suites.
The retractable roof would enable the arena to host traditionally outdoor events such as tennis matches and rodeos, or indoor sports such as basketball and hockey.
“I’m really excited about this,” Robinson said today. “I started on this about four or five years ago, and at the time, the economic conditions didn’t help. So we just waited for the right time. We have proper financing in place, the economy is moving in the right direction and our lenders are saying now is the time.”
Robinson said he and his lenders would meet with representatives of the Clark County Commission in the weeks ahead to answer questions and resolve any problems, including parking.
The 862,500-square-foot arena would be built on 27 acres between the yet-to-open SLS Las Vegas and the dormant Fontainebleau project site.
Robinson said he has a team of financial backers that includes several banks and international and domestic lenders. He also said the project qualifies under U.S. Department of Commerce and EB-5 Immigrant Investor jobs and capital investment programs. Robinson estimates the project would result in more than 19,000 construction, arena and hotel operation jobs, and the project is supported by the federal Minority Business Development Agency.
No tax money would be used for the project, but the program would qualify the developers for tax credits.
Robinson has hired Minneapolis-based Cuningham Group Architecture, which has an office in Las Vegas.
Brett Ewing, director of resort development for Cuningham’s Las Vegas office, has been hired as the project architect and is wrapping up negotiations with a high-profile sports architect for the arena.
Legendary UNLV basketball coach Jerry Tarkanian recruited Robinson, who played for the Runnin’ Rebels from 1973-78. He ranks 10th in UNLV career rebounds with 669 and 19th in scoring with 1,258 points. He redshirted one season because of an ankle injury — the season UNLV went to the Final Four in 1976-77.
He played four years in the NBA with Seattle, Detroit and Chicago, playing for the SuperSonics team that won the NBA title in 1979 and five years in Europe after his NBA career.
Robinson held executive positions in several Las Vegas companies that worked in retail, real estate, construction, credit, and the food and beverage industries. He was a one-time owner of the Las Vegas Silver Bandits of the defunct International Basketball League.
The All Net Arena site was once the proposed location of the Silver State Arena, a project pushed by Texas developer Chris Milam, who had earlier envisioned it as the site of the Las Vegas Tower, a massive high-rise hotel development.
Another arena is planned on the opposite end of the Strip. MGM Resorts International is partnering with sports and entertainment promoter AEG on a 20,000-seat indoor facility between New York-New York and the Monte Carlo.
A group also is meeting at UNLV to consider a football stadium on the campus. The group hasn’t determined the size of the facility or whether it would be a domed stadium.