Vegas Extends Arena Deadline

City officials in Las Vegas city have granted Cordish Companies four more months to tie up financial details for a $400 million downtown arena plan that’s drawn the criticism of some in the area.

Photo: Courtesy Cordish Companies
Las Vegas is moving forward with lots of arena plans, including one by Cordish Companies.

The city has been negotiating with Cordish about an arena for years, and the developer’s most recent financial plan called for a tax on downtown businesses to contribute almost $50 million toward the building, the Las Vegas Review-Journal reported.

Needless to say, many downtown advocates haven’t been too happy with the idea.

“I can’t help but feeling like a betrayed spouse or partner, not just once but several times,” Richard Worthington, director of the Downtown Las Vegas Alliance said during a public meeting, according to the paper.

“The time for this project has come and gone.”

Boyd Gaming’s Russell Rowe echoed that sentiment at the meeting, noting that he also opposes the use of $187 million in city-backed bonds to fund the project.

“If Cordish wants to come here and build an arena downtown we welcome them. But don’t ask the public and the people in this community to fund it when we are trying to figure out how to fund more cops,” he said.

AEG and MGM Resorts International already have a privately funded, $350 million Las Vegas arena project in the works.

The venue, which is expected to host concerts, boxing, mixed martial arts, awards shows and other events, is slated to break ground this year.

The city has also considered a $1.3 billion arena plan from a former Vegas basketball player.

That could mean serious competition for shows should the Cordish plan come to fruition. The company reportedly expects to attract nearly 140 events annually, which economic consultant Guy Hobbs told the Review-Journal is overly optimistic.

The four-month deadline also presents a problem.

“You can run the numbers, you can run different scenarios,” Hobbs said. “But I think four months, given the experience I had with these things – that would be challenging to have everything buttoned up and everyone shaking hands.”