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NFL stadium developers: 'The time is now'

Posted at 12:08 AM, Aug 31, 2016
Developers of the proposed NFL stadium in Las Vegas say Las Vegas Sands Corporation chairman Sheldon Adelson will use his personal wealth to fund a portion of the $1.9 billion cost.
 
The announcement comes as developers continue working on a deal that calls for $750 million in public funding for the stadium.
 
Developers including Majestic Realty and Adelson are asking the Southern Nevada Tourism Infrastructure Committee (SNTIC)  to recommend a .88 percent room tax increase to Gov. Brian Sandoval.
 
A $500 million contribution from the Raiders would be part of the deal if approved.
 
"I think this helps clarify a lot of confusion out there, that this is an Adelson family contribution to a public stadium,” said Andy Abboud, Las Vegas Sands Corp senior vice president of government affairs. “This is not a stadium that is owned by the Adelsons or owned by Las Vegas Sands Corp."
 
The developers say the .88 percent increase would generate $50 million a year towards the cost of the stadium.
 
The proposal in front of the SNTIC currently calls for a .7 percent increase to the room tax.
 
“That is basically, our difference between now and where the infrastructure committee is now is about 20 cents per room," Abboud said.
 
The developers say while the county would be the owners of the 65,000-seat stadium, anything above the $750 million in room tax funding it is asking for would be covered by the Adelson family.
 
"All of the risk, all of the overruns all of the losses will be the responsibility of the Adelson family to guarantee there is no sort of risk to the taxpayers," Abboud said.
 
When asked about future maintenance costs for the state-of-the-art facility, Abboud said that would fall on the developers as well.
 
"No one understands how important those things are than those in the integrated resort industry and the hospitality industry here in Las Vegas.  So if anyone understands the importance of maintaining quality facilities it is someone like Sheldon Adelson or Steve Wynn or MGM," Abboud said.
 
Abboud also say the stadium would contribute to education funding through increased tourism that he says would being in more money from the current room tax that sits at 12.9 percent.
 
"We'll have $57 million in new tax revenue, for education, for roads for police officers," Abboud said. "Before you get to the economic impact of the almost 8,000 new jobs that could be created and the increased visitation and the esteem the city gets with making Las Vegas a true major league city.  Not just with the National Hockey League but now with the National Football League."
 
But the one thing developers say they can’t generate is more time to get the deal done.
 
An increase to the room tax requires approval from Sandoval and the state legislature.
 
Abboud says the group needs that approval by the end of September to make its best pitch to the NFL for approval to move the Raiders from Oakland.
 
"We cannot wait another year. If we cannot get this approved by election day, then we will lose another year," Abboud said. "That could potentially give Oakland the opportunity to go other places like Los Angeles."
 
The question is will the governor call a special session of the legislature before the Nov. 8 election.
 
That can’t happen until the SNTIC makes its recommendation. 
 
The committee isn’t scheduled to meet again until Sept. 15 and has until Sept. 27 to make a recommendation.
 
"The sooner the better,” Abboud said of the date of a special session. “One it helps alleviate some pressure with legislators. So the further away from the election the better, but we think it can be done like it was for the special session two years ago."
 
Of course, depending on the structure of the plan, the deal could require either two-thirds approval from state lawmakers or a majority of lawmakers with approval from Clark County Commissioners.
 
Abboud say neither situation would be a problem.
 
"We think we are prepared for either contingency," Abboud said.
 
Even as negotiations continue on the stadium financing, developers say they are working out deals for land on two proposed sites for the stadium. One at Russell Road and Polaris Avenue. The second is the current Bali Hai Golf Course, near Russell Road and Las Vegas Boulevard.