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September 24, 2017

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UNLV parking lots, luxury suites among major issues before Raiders stadium board

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Courtesy of MANICA Architecture

A look at the proposed $1.9 billion domed football stadium for the Oakland Raiders and UNLV football in Las Vegas.

Where Raiders fans will park on NFL Sundays in Las Vegas commands attention right now in Southern Nevada, but creeping deadlines loom on other significant stadium issues as well.

As the clock ticks steadily toward an October deadline for completing a dozen agreements, the Las Vegas Stadium Authority Board meets Thursday with a lengthy agenda largely focused on discussion and review. Central among meeting issues are how the Raiders will share their new building with UNLV and how to craft a community benefits package from the team that best serves a wide swath of Southern Nevada.

The Sun first reported last week on the draft joint-use agreement submitted by the Raiders to UNLV officials. In that proposal, the Raiders seek to use nearly 80 acres of land controlled by the university for game-day and event parking, including the 4,000 spaces at the Thomas & Mack Center.

The home of the Runnin’ Rebels sits three miles from the 62-acre site near Interstate 15 and Russell Road where the stadium will be built, though, creating questions about how the famed Raiders tailgate experience will sustain from Oakland to Las Vegas. The stadium site contains roughly 2,400 parking spaces, or about 15 percent of what Clark County code requires for a 65,000-seat facility.

County officials must sign off on the final parking plan for the stadium, as Clark County Commissioner Steve Sisolak reminded last week.

Luxury suites, scheduling, rent, advertising and numerous additional issues are covered in the Raiders initial proposal to UNLV. University spokesman Tony Allen said Tuesday that UNLV officials are reviewing the draft and could respond as soon as Thursday.

The joint-use agreement that will govern the relationship between the franchise and the university must win approval from the Nevada Board of Regents before being ratified by the stadium authority board. Otherwise, the authority serves only as a potential mediator between the Raiders and the Rebels.

Also slated for discussion is the community benefits agreement required by Senate Bill 1, the state legislation that authorized $750 million in public funding toward the $1.9 billion stadium. In addition to provisions of the law requiring that at least 15 percent of stadium subcontractors must be small local businesses, additional plans to ensure community involvement are required.

According to the law passed in October, “the developer partner and the Stadium Events Company shall develop a community benefits plan to ensure the greatest possible participation by all segments of the local community in the economic opportunities available in connection with the design, construction and operation of the National Football League stadium project developed by the developer partner and operated by the Stadium Events Company.”

At the time the legislation was approved, casino magnate Sheldon Adelson was assumed to represent the stadium events company. Following Adelson’s withdrawal from the project, the Raiders chose to operate the events company and are expected to select a prominent company like Legends or AEG to operate the stadium.

Development partners Mortenson and McCarthy addressed the community benefits issue at their initial information meeting for potential contractors and partners. The companies introduced Lynn Littlejohn from Mortenson as the main person overseeing that area. Littlejohn serves as Mortenson’s director of community affairs and has been with the construction outfit for 21 years.

Senate Bill 1 also stipulates that a stadium community oversight committee must be created to carry out the community benefits plan. Board Chairman Steve Hill said following last month’s meeting that discussion toward the creation of that committee is under way.

The board meets at 1 p.m. Thursday at the Clark County Government Center.

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