Process Underway for Megastadium in Las Vegas

UNLV and Majestic Realty have partnered to bring life to a 60,000-capacity stadium

  • by Jessica Boudevin
  • Published: January 16, 2013

Rendering of a UFC fight at the proposed UNLVNow megastadium in Las Vegas. (Photo by Majestic Realty)

In a few years, when people think of Las Vegas, more will come to mind than showgirls and gambling. A giant addition could be popping up just off the Strip, bringing huge events and larger crowds to the busy town.

If all goes according to plan, University of Nevada-Las Vegas could be the home of a state-of-the-art, 60,000-capacity, domed stadium by 2017. Estimates for the project have been reported to run about $800 million.

One very big thing stands out when looking at the renderings: a 100-yard-long video screen.

“We’re Las Vegas and obviously we like to be a bit over the top,” said Mike Newcomb, executive director of UNLV’s Thomas & Mack Center, Cox Pavilion, and Sam Boyd Stadium. The video board runs along the side of the building, allowing 90 percent of attendees to enjoy a movie theater-like experience watching the screen.

Newcomb added that the screen could be a great backdrop for an awards show or concert setting, as well as any number of other events.

In fact, in a presentation by Don Snyder, Dean of William F. Harrah College of Hotel Administration at UNLV, Craig Cavileer representing Majestic Realty, and Pat Christenson of Las Vegas Events, proposed events include music festivals, boxing, stadium concerts, international soccer, and possibly a new college football bowl game. The facility could also be a potential site for political conventions.

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Rendering of a VIP concourse at UNLVNow. (Photo by Majestic Realty)

Newcomb said he didn’t see a new stadium as a threat, but as a way to enhance the existing properties.

“When there’s something big going on in the city, there are 500 calls from other promoters looking to do a show here,” he said.

The project, being referred to as UNLVNow, is currently a partnership between Majestic Realty and UNLV.

Majestic Realty may sound familiar. It’s the company that worked with AEG to build Staples Center. That model — the campus-type, all-inclusive model — could be the end game for the Las Vegas project.

“It’s a pretty aggressive, long-range plan with Majestic Realty. Incorporated with this, they’d want to see an L.A. Live-type model where there’s housing, residential, shopping and restaurants that, eventually, years down the road, would all be built around the stadium,” said Newcomb. “Majestic Realty doesn’t have short-sighted plans.”

southeast_campus.jpgA rendering of the Southeast campus plaza. (Photo by Majestic Realty)

The university won’t be asked to provide any funds for the project, just use of its land, image, brand and tax status. 

“They’re trying to leave the public out of it,” said Newcomb. “They’re going to go in front of the legislature this winter and spring to try and put a tax district together where all the taxes on the property would go back to help fund a bond for the project.”

“It could somehow be connected to the hotel corridor,” added Newcomb. “Craig Cavileer is the GM over at Silverton resort and he’s been spearheading the project for probably a year and a half.”

Majestic Realty has done its research, commissioning an Economic Impact Report from the University of Michigan’s Center for Sport Management School of Kinesiology to prove that Las Vegas is the right location for a new entertainment campus.

The findings showed that the stadium’s economic impact to the area would run more than $600 million annually due to the volume of visitors it could bring in with the projection of 15 events each year. Of the figure, $393.2 million would be in the hospitality sector.

The report also highlights the benefit of construction to the local economy. Working off the estimated project cost of $800 million, the document showed that more than $200 million will be paid in direct construction wages, providing thousands of jobs.

There will also be a direct effect on the students.

“Majestic wants to really enhance the students’ lives,” said Newcomb, who added that of the 27,000 students, only about 1,000 live in dorms.

“They want to create a little more of a college feel for them and to be able to have more housing and shopping; a one-stop kind of place is the goal at the end of the day.”

Interviewed for this story: Mike Newcomb, (702) 895-1117

  • by Jessica Boudevin
  • Published: January 16, 2013
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