Las Vegas has been awash in proposals to build a new large stadium. One group wanted to construct one near downtown, the proposal was to build it on city owned property using city money. Another proposal was to build a large stadium complex just to the west of the Strip across I-15. This was to be on private property, but was to be financed with a new area property tax, in essence being paid for by the residents of Clark County. One big stadium was proposed far south, behind the M resort. This was going to be on land purchased from the Federal Bureau of Land Management and funded by a new tax district in the city of Henderson. That one fell through when, a week before the BLM sale, it was found that the person proposing it was planning on building houses on the cheap BLM land instead of a stadium, and the city sued to prevent the sale. These all were to cost around $300,000,000 each and have around 60,000 seats.
Unfortunately these projects all depended on public money, in addition to having to attract some type of permanent resident for the facility. There have been announcements of getting a new franchise for a national football team, but the two big football leagues both said they want nothing to do with Las Vegas, supposedly not supporting all of the gambling. This attitude has been show during broadcast football games, with advertisements for Las Vegas being forbidden, even the mention of the city not being allowed. So unless there is a big change in professional sports it looks like hosting a national team of any sort is not really a possibility.
The proposal that looks to be the closest to happening is for a large complex to be built on the University of Nevada campus near the airport and next to their existing Thomas & Mack Center, which is currently the largest facility in town and hosts the winter Nationals Final Rodeo, which has threatened to move to Texas because it wants a bigger place. The University has plans for a whole complex, with parking garages, new campus housing and a shopping area besides the stadium. Unfortunately the land currently houses several other sports fields and buildings which would have to be relocated elsewhere. The University had a private partner willing to put up a third of the money required in exchange for some control, but they were shut out just a few weeks ago as the University again tried to get a new tax district in conjunction with donations from the larger casino corporations, including Caesar’s and MGM, which did not want to participate if a private company was involved. Cost for this one is around $600,000,000 because of the complexity of the whole project.
One that looks like it will happen is being pushed by MGM. They want to build a smaller 20,000 seat stadium on land behind the New York New York casino, where the City Center construction management building now stands. MGM currently has the largest private venue, the 8,000 seat Grand Garden Arena located inside of the MGM Casino. This one has the biggest chance of being built, mainly because MGM would privately finance it, they already own the land, and they have the cash to proceed. They are not looking to put in a sports team, but would probably use it for conventions and big concerts. We are one of the few cities that are on the Rolling Stones tour; I know that in the past they appeared in the San Diego Stadium, which holds over 60,000 and usually sells out for them. So MGM putting the Stones in a new 20,000 seat should be better than in the existing 8,000 seat place.
In conjunction with the stadium MGM is also going to work on the exterior street between the New York New York and Mirage resorts. It will be turned into an outdoor thoroughfare, with new restaurants, bars and entertainment and lead from the Strip back to the stadium. This will involve major modifications to both casinos, with estimated costs between $100,000,000 and $140,000,000 will be starting now and be done within a year. This is a similar concept to what Caesar’s Entertainment is doing with the Linq project, which is across from Caesar’s Palace. It creates an outdoor area leading from the Strip to the east ending at their big wheel project, along the way providing outdoor restaurants and bars and new entrances to the casinos on either side.
There is a grand opening this week in another MGM property. The MGM Grand resort has completed construction on the Hakkasan nightclub. This will be one of the largest clubs in the world, at over 80,000 square feet in five stories with two restaurants, four nightclub areas and dayclub with pool. The reported cost for this varies from $100,000,000 to $400,000,000, with another $70,000,000 going to pay for celebrity DJs for the first year alone. Rumour around town is that a high roller at a different property dot mad when he was denied his regular table at a nightclub. He said he was disrespected and would teach them a lesson, so he bankrolled Hakassan, throwing whatever it took to be the biggest and best. I’m assuming he will get a booth with his name on it at the MGM facility. So if you’re in town and want to party big, bring your money and hit H.