Las Vegas Sun

April 14, 2024

Clark County pushes back discussion on F1 impacts

F1 Business Troubles

Brian Ramos

Wade Bohn, owner of Jay’s Market on Flamingo Road, stands under the temporary bridge that was constructed in front of his business at the corner of Koval Lane and Flamingo as part of remaking the Resort Corridor for the Formula One race in November.

Clark County has pushed back a discussion on the inaugural Formula One race and its impact on small businesses that had been set for this week.

Kevin Schiller, Clark County manager, told commissioners that the item had been taken off the agenda of Tuesday morning’s meeting, but will return in the coming weeks as a full regional debrief on the November race.

The debrief will feature a pre- and post-action report that can apply to future Formula One races as well as other events of that size on how to “proactively plan minimizing impacts on the community,” Schiller said.

“This review will include an assessment of the impacts to the region along with forward-looking recommendations informed by input from county departmental leadership, regional partner agencies, community stakeholders, and the Las Vegas Grand Prix,” the county said in a statement sent late Monday night. “Additionally, these recommendations will align efforts to support F1 and other future large-scale events to the benefit of our community.”

Commissioner Tick Segerblom proposed the Formula One discussion after months of complaints from locals about traffic impacts and losses in business revenue.

To build the 3.8-mile racetrack, which included portions of Las Vegas Boulevard, a series of road repavements and barrier construction was needed — limiting road lanes or sometimes shutting them down altogether. These efforts began in early 2023, leading to months of sometimes hours-long traffic jams for local commuters and tourists alike.

Commissioner Marilyn Kirkpatrick, who said many Strip workers live in her district, was adamant in last year’s county commission meetings that race officials find a way to fix the traffic-related problems and get Strip workers throughout the resort corridor with less hassle.

The inaugural Formula One Las Vegas Grand Prix race took place from Nov. 16-18, bringing over 315,000 fans and an estimated economic impact of $1.2 billion, according to the Las Vegas Grand Prix team.

But while companies like MGM Resorts boasted record earnings partially driven by the race, others are still feeling the impact of a lengthy construction and takedown process.

Businesses along East Flamingo Road, like the bright red Jay’s Market at Flamingo and Koval Lane, said they had lost millions in the year Formula One began building the track. The temporary vehicular bridge above Koval Lane, which was constructed to help tourists access businesses within the Formula One track, only added to their woes.

It was finally taken down prior to the Super Bowl on Feb. 11, and the businesses said they saw increased revenue during that weekend as a result, but they’re still negotiating with the Las Vegas Grand Prix team on how to make up for all the lost profit in 2023.

This year’s Las Vegas Grand Prix is expected to take place Nov. 21-23 with the race set for 10 p.m., and some commissioners aren’t happy.

In a call with the Sun, Commissioner Segerblom said Formula One had set the date and time for this year’s race without consulting anyone at the county.

“Well, they have to come to us and then tell us when and where they wanna have the race and what time,” Segerblom said. “To my knowledge, they never asked the county and just announced when and what time, and I think they’re over their skis on that one because the county has to sign off on it and we’ve never even been asked to consider it.”

Segerblom explained that Formula One does have a three-year contract with the county, but it still needs to be approved by commissioners and a special event permit needs to be reissued. Part of the reissuing process would be discussing a date and time for the race, which Segerblom said never occurred prior to the Las Vegas Grand Prix’s announcement in January.

A resolution unanimously passed 7-0 in February 2023, states that the county commissioners will “work with Las Vegas Grand Prix Inc. and its affiliates on the required setup prior to the Formula 1 Las Vegas Grand Prix, anticipated to take place a few hours a day for five days, beginning on each Wednesday through Sunday, the week prior to the Thanksgiving holiday in November in the years 2023 through 2032.”

It also lists that the 120-day time limit for filing Special Event applications would be waived because “no unreasonable burden upon the County or its citizens exists.”

The county has plans over the next several months to hold public hearings and town halls to hear from the public about any issues caused by the Formula One race and take suggestions on how to improve the hosting process, Segerblom said.

But setting the race date without county permission, combined with the lengthy impacts on local residents and businesses, could make getting any future contracts approved a bit harder for Formula One, at least in Segerblom’s perspective.

“To me, unless they’re willing to dramatically change the way they do business, it will be very difficult,” Segerblom said. “If we’re gonna keep doing this, we’re gonna have to really minimize the impact to the community.”