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July 18, 2018

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Stadium Authority Board gets to work despite uncertain future of project

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Courtesy of MANICA Architechture

An artist’s illustration of a stadium on Russell Road and Las Vegas Boulevard was revealed during a Southern Nevada Tourism Infrastructure Committee meeting at UNLV Thursday, Aug. 25, 2016.

The Clark County Stadium Authority Board met for the first time Monday and began laying the groundwork for governing the planned 65,000-seat facility that could house an NFL franchise.

As its inaugural action, the Stadium Authority hired local firm Applied Analysis to handle the board’s administrative and research functions for one year. Per terms of the employment agreement, Applied Analysis will bill the board for hours worked by its staff — not to exceed $25,000 per month.

It’s a familiar name to those involved with the stadium project. Applied Analysis, whose principal is Jeremy Aguero, staffed the Southern Nevada Tourism Infrastructure Committee, the body that vetted resort corridor projects, including the proposed stadium, earlier this year.

The Stadium Authority’s permanency hinges on whether an NFL team relocates to Las Vegas. That’s why Applied Analysis will serve as “temporary staff” for the board, taking care of organizational documents and presentations, gathering data, conducting analyses, creating a website and staffing meetings, among other duties.

“It’s exactly what we did during (the Southern Nevada Tourism Infrastructure Committee),” Aguero said.

First on the company’s agenda: helping the board organize the selection of two additional members.

Seven members of the Stadium Authority already have been appointed by Gov. Brian Sandoval, the Clark County Commission or UNLV. Those people include Steve Hill, executive director of the Governor’s Office of Economic Development; Bill Hornbuckle, president of MGM Resorts International; Jan Jones Blackhurst, an executive vice president at Caesars Entertainment; Kenneth Evans, president of the Urban Chamber of Commerce; Dallas Haun, CEO of Nevada State Bank; Tommy White, business manager and secretary-treasurer of the Laborers International Union of North American Local 872; and Mike Newcomb, executive director of Sam Boyd Stadium, the Thomas & Mack Center and Cox Pavilion.

The existing members will select two more members from a pool of applicants, which will include candidates recommended by the developer as well as interested members of the public.

Hill, who serves as the board’s chairman, said an application would be posted online soon. Interested people have until Dec. 19 to apply for the board positions. The Stadium Authority will discuss the appointments during an early January meeting.

The board, however, may meet again Dec. 15 to discuss development and operating agreements. It’s unclear if those proposals will be ready by then, Hill said.

“We should know that within the next few days,” he said.

The Stadium Authority plans to meet monthly but may need extra meetings leading up to when the Oakland Raiders’ owner makes the relocation pitch to fellow NFL owners.

In October, Sandoval signed into law a bill that provides $750 million worth of public funding for the stadium project, which is being developed by Sheldon Adelson, chairman and CEO of the Las Vegas Sands Corp. A Clark County room tax increase has been enacted to pay for the public’s portion of the estimated $1.9 billion stadium.

The developers are trying to lure the Oakland Raiders to Las Vegas with the new stadium that would also host the UNLV football team, concerts and sporting events, among other activities. Two-thirds of NFL team owners (24 of 32) would need to approve the team’s relocation bid to the desert.

It’s far from a done deal. Officials in Oakland have been busy crafting a separate plan to keep the Raiders in the Bay Area.

Even so, the uncertainty hasn’t stopped landowners from pitching their Las Vegas-area properties as the best bet for the stadium. The stadium developers favor — and have the options for — 63 acres near Russell Road and Interstate 15, but the site location has not been finalized.

Fred Nassiri, a wholesale clothing magnate and real estate developer in Las Vegas, urged board members to consider a plot of land he owns near Blue Diamond Road and Las Vegas Boulevard South. He said the land provides better pathways for ingress and egress of traffic.

“The best part of Las Vegas is yet to come in this south corridor,” he said during public comment Monday.

After the meeting adjourned, Hill said Nassiri would need to convince the Raiders and the Adelson family that his land is the most suitable location before the board would consider it.

The board expects to discuss an interlocal agreement with Clark County concerning “bridge funding” — money to supplement the board before the room tax increase goes into effect and is collected — and hiring legal representation at upcoming meetings.

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