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Raiders one step closer to building Las Vegas stadium

LAS VEGAS (AP) — The Oakland Raiders are one step closer to being able to start building their proposed stadium in Las Vegas after local officials on Wednesday approved the use of the land the team purchased near the city’s world-famous casino-resorts.

Commissioners in Nevada’s Clark County voted unanimously to approve use permits required for the proposed 65,000-seat stadium. They also waived a requirement for thousands of on-site parking spots. But they gave the team a year to figure out a solution for a problem that has dogged the project.

Grading and other site-preparation work can take place at the site west of the Las Vegas Strip, near the Mandalay Bay casino-resort. But the county and the Raiders still have to enter into a development agreement, which among other things would detail infrastructure requirements for the team, before major construction begins.

“Thirty-one months is what we have available,” John Wood, senior vice president at Mortenson Construction, said of the project’s construction timeline. “… That is exactly the schedule that we had in Minnesota to build U.S. Bank Stadium, and there we went through three harsh Minnesota weekends. So, we’ll have two-and-a-half Nevada summers to go through. But we still have great confidence in our ability to complete on time.”

The Raiders want to play in Las Vegas starting in 2020. Their ambitious construction timeline for the partly tax-funded $1.9 billion project calls for site work to begin later this year and work on the concrete structure to start in the spring.

The proposed domed stadium will feature a retractable wall that will give fans a view of the Luxor, Excalibur and other Strip casino-resorts, whose guests and those of other hotels in the Las Vegas area are contributing $750 million to the project through a room tax increase.

Commissioners gave the team a year to solve the project’s parking problem. Per county regulations, the stadium is required to have 16,250 parking spots on site, but the land the team bought can only fit about 2,400.

Raiders adviser Don Webb told commissioners the team is exploring a variety of solutions for the “very obvious parking challenge.” He wouldn’t add details, saying that plans are still under development and some of the options will require negotiations.

Commission chairman Steve Sisolak after the meeting said he wants the solution to allow fans to have a good game-day experience, but preferably that it all not be in a single location to avoid straining roadways. He said the Raiders are looking for the right mix of public transit.

“They’re looking at the recipe, the mix, between what’s going to come through the monorail, what’s going to come through rideshare, what’s going to come through walkers coming from the various casino properties,” Sisolak said. “They are going to have to figure out a way to make this work for everybody (and) at the same time maintain the tailgating experience.”

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Follow Regina Garcia Cano on Twitter at https://twitter.com/reginagarciakNO

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