For years, Mayor Oscar Goodman is well known that he would like to see a new sports arena built in downtown Las Vegas. And we could expect it to be glorified on the last proposal that was published this week to build a sports stadium three complexes in Symphony Park
But Goodman has no heart and flowers for $ 1.57 billion in Las Vegas National Sports Center to everyone else at the table. At least not publicly. “I am supporting someone who will be able to build a stage,” the mayor said in his weekly press conference. “… Once the blade is running, you know they will have funds in place and this is the start of something big for Las Vegas.”
The latest proposal includes a 17,500-seat arena for basketball and hockey, a 9,000-seat partially enclosed baseball stadium and a 50,000-seat partially enclosed football stadium in Symphony Park. Symphony Park is the former Union Pacific rail yard that now includes the Cleveland Clinic Lou Ruvo Institute for Brain Health and the Smith Center for Performing Arts.
That three-stadium project is in competition with the “UNLV Now” proposal by developer Ed Roski to build a new domed football-basketball arena project near the existing Thomas & Mack Center on UNLV’s campus.
Goodman said the city’s developer, the Cordish Company, has been talking to International Development Management about the three-stadium complex for about a month.
“Betsy Fretwell, our city manager, is almost in daily contact with them,” Goodman said. However, it is business, and nobody wants to show their hand, he said.
Goodman said while he’s made no secret about wanting an arena downtown, it wouldn’t be fair for him to play favorites.
“I really want to have an arena complex in this community because I think it will galvanize the people,” he said. “I think we’ll be able to identify with the teams that are there. It will give us a sense of being something better than we are today. I’m going to encourage all of the parties to just push as hard as they can.”
The mayor, who is finishing his third four-year term, is also wanting to go out of office on a high note following this spring’s city elections.
“I’d love to have something on the dotted line before I leave this position so I could feel I at least had some small part in bringing the NBA here, with my dealings with David Stern, the commissioner,” Goodman said.
Asked why he thought the proposals have become more elaborate over the years, Goodman said it was “because the light bulb went on.”
When Las Vegas hosted the 2007 NBA All Star game, Stern at that time said he wouldn’t stand in the way if the NBA franchise owners wanted to bring a team here, Goodman said.
“I met with the owners and I believe that we will have an NBA franchise as soon as we have an arena,” Goodman said. “I think they take the position that whoever is going to build it first is going to be the winner.”
Goodman said the main difference between past proposals and the the ones now on the table is that the latest ones “have money behind them.”
For example, Silverton Casino Lodge owner Ed Roski, who has proposed a 40,000-seat arena complex for UNLV at Tropicana Avenue and Paradise Road, has a track record of successful sports ventures in other places, Goodman said. The Cordish Company also has built several arena projects around the country, he said..
“I think we have players who are not just talking,” said Goodman. “I think they understand that something will happen that legislators will consider the concepts of finance and want to be first in line.”