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Developers Pitch Arena Complex Plans to Nevada Lawmakers

Wed June 15, 2011 - West Edition
Michelle Rindels - ASSOCIATED PRESS

CARSON CITY, Nev. (AP) Developers are making a last-minute pitch to lawmakers for authority to create elaborate arena and event complexes they say will transform Nevada city centers.

Senate Revenue and Assembly Taxation committees June 2 considered a bill authorizing Clark and Washoe counties to establish special taxing districts to fund one proposed project.

“This is one of the more exciting opportunities this session. We’re giving communities in Clark County the opportunity to create jobs in the short and long term,” said Senate Majority Leader Steven Horsford, D-Las Vegas.

Three plans are in play for Las Vegas and the ultimate decision on which one to back would be up to local jurisdictions.

One proposal seeks to create a stadium at University of Nevada, Las Vegas surrounded by a shopping center and housing. Proponents said it would reinvent the commuter culture on campus and forge a bond between the school and its students.

A second plan promoted by International Development Management CEO Chris Milam seeks to create a privately-owned Las Vegas National Sports Center that could accommodate major league soccer and hockey and minor league baseball.

The complex includes an arena, a ballpark and a stadium and would be located on the west side of I-15 behind Mandalay Bay.

A third plan co-sponsored by the city of Las Vegas and developer Cordish Company creates an events center connecting Symphony Park and downtown Las Vegas.

Proponents of all three projects urged lawmakers to pass the bill as a way to create construction jobs and stimulate the Las Vegas economy. SB501 was introduced late May 30 by the Senate Finance Committee in a hastily called meeting on the floor.

Assemblywoman Marilyn Kirkpatrick, chairwoman of the Assembly Taxation Committee, had a litany of questions for project proponents and said she wanted to hear the nuts and bolts of the financing proposal during hearings scheduled over the next few days. Her committee heard the bill the morning of June 3.

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