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UNLV stadium site revealed

By RICHARD LAKE
LAS VEGAS REVIEW-JOURNAL

A proposed new 40,000-seat domed football stadium at UNLV would sit between the Thomas & Mack Center on campus and Paradise Road, said James Dean Leavitt, chairman of the higher education system’s Board of Regents. If it is ever built, the stadium complex would include a hotel, campus housing, restaurants and retail space, he said. A portion of Swenson Street would be removed under the proposal, he said.

“It will eventually develop into a town square concept,” Leavitt said.

Craig Cavileer, one of the developers behind the project, confirmed what Leavitt said. But Cavileer said he was not ready to release more details yet. He said he expected to hold a formal news briefing next week.

“We’re really close,” he said.

He wouldn’t discuss a potential price tag or whether public financing will be involved in the proposal. A higher education source said, however, that no UNLV money would be involved.

A spokeswoman for developer Ed Roski, Cavileer’s partner in the deal, declined to comment on specifics of the plan. The spokeswoman said the proposal has not yet been completed. She said she did not want to release details that might be changed in the final proposal.

The plan is scheduled to be presented to the Board of Regents at a special meeting set for Feb. 11. The Board is being asked to enter an exclusive agreement with Roski, owner of Southern California -based Majestic Realty , and Cavileer, president of the Silverton Casino, to develop the stadium.

Roski helped build the Staples Center in Los Angeles and has long been unsuccessful in trying to lure an NFL team to that city. He holds a stake in both the NBA’s L.A. Lakers and the NHL’s L.A. Kings.

Leavitt said the proposal will include the setting up of a special tax district, which would redirect tax revenue from the stadium complex away from local governments to pay off bonds issued to develop the stadium. Such an arrangement would require legislative approval, which is why he scheduled the special Board of Regents meeting so quickly.

He said he did not know details about financing, but he expected that it would cost “millions” just to develop the proposal before building started.

The land is largely vacant or used for parking. Property records show the portions not already part of the University of Nevada, Las Vegas campus are owned by the Clark County Department of Aviation and two rental car companies that no longer operate businesses there.

“This is very legit,” said higher education Regent Mark Alden, a longtime UNLV booster. “It’s a tremendous opportunity for us.”

The stadium would replace Sam Boyd Stadium, seven miles from campus and originally built in 1971, though it has been refurbished and expanded since then.

The new stadium would house not only UNLV’s football games, but potentially its basketball games and special events, such as the National Finals Rodeo.