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Stadium talks heat up 

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UNLV Now project unanimously approved by Clark County commissioners on Nov. 20

The dream of having an on-campus stadium across from the Thomas & Mack Center is taking its first steps to becoming a reality.

On Nov. 20 Clark County commissioners unanimously approved an agreement that gives approximately 60 acres of land to UNLV for the proposed $800 million, 60,000-seat arena and mega events center, the first news on the subject since discussions first began in February 2011.

This is the first step in bringing the campus project, known as UNLVNow, to fruition, but the approval of the land is contingent upon the university receiving approval from the NSHE Board of Regents.

The entire UNLVNow project is expected to be in the price range of $2 billion, with more campus housing — approximately 3,000-5,000 units added — along with renovations to the Thomas & Mack Center.

The project has been embraced by the Board in meetings prior, but has yet to be formally approved. The university will present a more detailed plan to the Board of Regents on Thursday for approval.

UNLV Senior Vice President of Finance and Business Gerry Bomotti said during the Nov. 20 commission’s meeting that the memorandum of understanding (MoU), which is to be a two-year plan, is not for a transfer of land but seeks support to move forward with the Board of Regents.

“We would hope that, at some point in time, we’d be able to work out, between the commission and Board of Regents, an arrangement to use much of this property,” Bomotti said.

One key component to this project is how it would impact the current living status of residents within the area, and Commissioner Lawrence Weekly said he would like the same kind of communication to be done with the university and its neighbors, much like when planning for The Smith Center first began.

“This is just an exploration period. We’re just exploring what’s out there and what can be done,” Weekly said during the meeting. “But also, to that, we can incorporate to make sure that we keep the neighbors and the residents involved.”

UNLV Dean of the Harrah’s College of Hotel Administration Don Snyder said during the meeting that there would be much effort made to ensure that the citizens in the area would feel comfortable with the transition going forward.

“I really believe in being inclusive,” Snyder said. “The process that we’ve gone through with the Master Planning effort has engaged the entire campus community, and also engaged the community around us.”

The plan for the site of the on-campus stadium/mega-events center is to be the location of Earl E. Wilson Stadium, the home of the UNLV baseball team, located north of Harmon Avenue and Swenson Street. The field would be moved south towards Tropicana and Harmon Avenues.

The stadium is a joint venture between UNLV and Majestic Realty Co., a company that has played a major part in the Staples Center in Los Angeles, and the newly-approved Los Angeles Stadium, which ground could be broken for the 75,000-seat Southern California stadium in March 2013.

Approximately one-third of the cost of the stadium — projected to be about $270 million — would come from long-term naming rights, as well as a large number of advertising. The other two-thirds of revenue would come from on-site and a form of tax-incremental plan, which the Legislature will be asked to approve in 2013.

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