Vegas stadium backers aim for 2 finalist sites next month


LAS VEGAS (AP) — Developers who want to build a domed stadium for the Oakland Raiders in Las Vegas vowed to zero in on two potential sites within the next month as they face a tight timeline to lock in a real estate deal, government approvals and the NFL’s blessing.

Representatives from Majestic Realty and the Las Vegas Sands casino company told an oversight committee Thursday that they want to get their plan in order by January, when NFL owners who must approve any team relocation by a three-quarters vote are scheduled to meet.

“I think the hardest part will be getting to the finish line on the land,” said Sands President Rob Goldstein. “Please be advised that we’re on it day in and day out.”

The Raiders are mulling a move to Las Vegas as Oakland hasn’t made significant progress toward building them a new stadium. Los Angeles is another potential home for the Raiders if the San Diego Chargers pass on an opportunity to move there. Residents in San Diego will vote in November on the Chargers’ proposal to raise local hotel taxes for a new downtown stadium. The Chargers would likely look north if that fails.

Raiders owner Mark Davis has said he’d prefer to move the Raiders to Las Vegas — a position reiterated by team President Marc Badain on Thursday.

“I know there are some people that question our commitment,” Badain told Las Vegas-area business and government leaders. “I hope they don’t.”

Stadium proponents want to tap into $750 million in hotel tax revenue to pay for a venue they estimate will cost $1.7 billion to $2.1 billion, depending on land acquisition costs that haven’t been finalized. They narrowed a list of nine potential sites to four priority locations within the past two weeks.

Those include the Bali Hai Golf Club and the UNLV campus near McCarran International Airport, the Wild Wild West casino and a site just to the west of Interstate 15 where the highway runs parallel to the Las Vegas Strip. Developers want to place the stadium as close as possible to the Strip and secure at least 60 acres for their project, if not 100.

Proponents must clear several government hurdles to build the proposed 65,000-seat stadium. They need approval from the Nevada Legislature to raise the hotel tax, and need the Federal Aviation Administration to ensure a tall stadium doesn’t interfere with plane traffic at the airport, which is close to the Strip.

Developers expect there will still be loose ends when they present their two favorite options to the oversight panel, the Southern Nevada Tourism Infrastructure Committee.

“I just caution, by August 25, we won’t know much from the FAA,” said Craig Cavileer of Majestic Realty.

Las Vegas had long been passed over by major professional sports leagues uncomfortable with the city’s robust gambling industry. The National Hockey League became the first major league to move into Las Vegas, announcing last month that the city was being awarded an expansion team that will play in the new T-Mobile Arena.

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