Las Vegas Sun

September 26, 2017

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Lack of deadlines slowing pace of Raiders agreements in front of Stadium Authority

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Copyright 2017 LV Stadium Company, LLC

This rendering shows the Las Vegas Raiders stadium west of Interstate 15 and the Strip. Construction on the 65,000-seat stadium will begin in November and is hoped to be completed in time for the 2020 NFL season.

Months ago, Las Vegas Stadium Authority Chairman Steve Hill expected Thursday’s meeting to carry well into the evening as draft agreements came before the board for consideration.

Instead, the board will vote only on giving itself six more months to finish the development agreement that allows the Raiders to build their new stadium.

The development agreement cannot be completed until the Raiders finalize their contract with construction companies Mortenson and McCarthy. That process hit a snag recently because the guaranteed maximum price (GMP) of the stadium — a necessary figure both for that document and for Bank of America’s financing agreement of close to $1 billion in loans — will not be available until February.

Hill said last week that delay should not push back the 30-month stadium construction timeline that is scheduled to commence soon after Thanksgiving. The Raiders will assume responsibility for the project during the period between groundbreaking and the completion of the development agreement.

The Raiders plan to open their 65,000-seat facility by July 2020, but any delay in that tight schedule could jeopardize the team’s ability to play the 2020 season in Las Vegas.

Without a clear deadline as motivation, neither the UNLV joint-use agreement outlining how the Raiders will share the stadium with the Rebels football team, nor the community benefits plan defining the nebulous language from stadium financing mechanism Senate Bill 1 appears near a resolution. In contrast, the stadium lease between the Raiders and stadium authority reached a swift conclusion in May after months of negotiations when NFL owners threatened to delay the team’s move if the agreement was not completed in short order.

Thom Reilly, chancellor of the Nevada System of Higher Education, told the system’s Board of Regents last Thursday that ongoing parking issues are slowing negotiations between the Raiders and UNLV. Reilly said the timing extension before the stadium authority board Thursday would allow months for the sides to complete their required agreement. Hill did not return a request for comment clarifying if that is the case.

The board will receive an update on the community benefits plan, an issue which flared two months ago when community activist Stan Washington lured close to 1,000 people to a stadium authority meeting with a misleading flyer promising jobs working on stadium construction. Since that time, officials involved in the plan have said little beyond that discussions among the Raiders and various community interests are progressing well.

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

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