Looming prominently across I-15 from the Strip, the future stadium of the National Football League’s (NFL) Raiders is well on its way to hosting its first game.
Las Vegas Stadium is among several mega-projects currently under construction in Nevada and making their way into the Valley’s economic landscape. Other major projects include the expansion of the Las Vegas Convention Center, Resort Worlds, The Drew and several projects in Reno.
The Raiders and general contractor McCarthy Builders declined to comment for this story, deferring to a later date. A Las Vegas Review-Journal article in November 2018 reported the project was 30 percent complete within a year.
The stadium is expected to be completed in July 2020. The 31-month build timeline is tight for modern stadiums, the two most recent stadiums built, Atlanta’s Mercedes Benz Stadium and Minneapolis’ U.S. Bank Stadium took 39 and 32 months, respectively.
The Raiders are slated to begin play in the new stadium to kickoff the 2020 season. The team, which played last season in Oakland, is currently in limbo for where it will play the 2019 NFL season. The Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum Authority board will vote on a proposed deal to keep the Raiders in Oakland next year.
The proposed deal includes the Raiders paying $7.5 million to play the 2019 season at the Oakland Coliseum. Pending the approval, there is a provision for the Raiders to play in Oakland, if necessary, for $10.5 million.
Whether Las Vegas Stadium is ready in 2020 or 2021 season, a $1.8 billion stadium will sit on a 62-acre site when it’s completed. Designed for a normal capacity of 65,000 fans, it can be expanded for a maximum capacity of 72,000. seats.
The stadium will have a glass-dome roof to offer views of the sky, but a cooling climate in the hot desert sun. The natural grass field will be on tracks to pull out from the stadium when it’s not in use.
Designed by MANICA Architecture, the project, which broke ground in September 2017, has erected the outer shell.
A 7,500-square-foot stadium preview center is open at Town Square, featuring a large-scale model, sample views of seats and interactive exhibits.
In addition to the Raiders, the UNLV football team will also play at the stadium, as will the Las Vegas Bowl, moving both away from Sam Boyd Stadium. Other possible events include the Super Bowl, Pro Bowl, NFL Draft, NCAA Final Four, USA Sevens rugby, international soccer matches, boxing matches and more.
Still on track and on budget for completion for CES 2021, the Las Vegas Convention Center expansion has been free of any hiccups, said Terry Jicinsky, Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority senior vice president of operations.
“We’re happy to report there are no surprises that have been substantial or consequential,” Jicinsky said.
The nearly $1 billion expansion kicked off in September 2018 and will add 1.4 million square feet to the convention center. Once the expansion is complete, a renovation of the existing 3.2 million-square-foot convention space will commence. That phase of the project is expected to finish up in 2023.
While the building itself is moving forward as planned, a new piece of the plan is in the works. Originally, there was a proposed above-ground autonomous vehicle people mover to connect the convention center.
The LVCVA Board of Directors voted in March to allow employees to move forward with negotiations with Elon Musk’s The Boring Company for an underground people mover. Musk has said he would plan to develop an 18-passenger autonomous vehicle for use with the project, Jicinsky said.
A release from LVCVA estimated the cost of a system would be between $35 million and $55 million.
The project would have potential loop connections to the convention center, downtown, Las Vegas Boulevard and McCarran International Airport, according to the release.
The Boring Company has said it could complete the project when the phases of expansion and renovation are complete.
The expansion is 13 percent completed, Jicinsky said. Completed aspects of the project include the laying of the foundation and utility and infrastructure work.
This summer, all of the steel for the project will be delivered. Purchased in advance last summer, Jicinsky said the steel production had to be spread amongst five manufacturers, rather than the planned two, because of upticks in construction projects nationally.
“The contractor went to five steel plants just to get it all completed on the timeline and same price,” Jicinsky said. “Just spread he work out across subcontractors.”
Turner Martin-Harris is the construction manager on the massive project.
A hiccup could have occurred on the site as it did once contain dry cleaners and the ensuing ground contamination. The contractor’s remediation plans went as planned. The remediation is 95 percent complete.
The entire project was expected to create 14,000 construction jobs and more than 7,800 full-time jobs once complete. Also projected is $2.1 billion in economic activity during the construction and an annual impact of $810 million and 600,000 additional visitors to Las Vegas annually.
Las Vegas should be on track to see its first mega-resort open in a decade when the $4 billion Resorts World Las Vegas opens. Should the construction stay on schedule, the resort will be open 10 years following the opening of the last major project, the Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas.
Developer Genting Berhad has been largely quiet in regards to the development and the company didn’t respond to requests for this report.
Despite the silence, Resorts World Las Vegas is making progress on its site on Las Vegas Boulevard, as the bronze colored glass plates are being installed on the exterior. The first phase is expected to include 3,400 rooms. The east and west towers are both planned to reach 60 floors.
Resorts World is being built on top of the former Stardust, a site once reserved for Boyd Gaming Corp.’s planned $4.8 million Echelon project. Genting purchased the site in 2013 for $350 million.
Wynn Resorts has taken issue with the project, filing several lawsuits against it for alleged similarities to theirs.
Defunct and Coming
Wynn Las Vegas scratched its $1.6 billion Paradise Park project. The pet project of former CEO Steve Wynn, Paradise park would have included a 20-acre lagoon, as well as a slew of other amenities such as another hotel. Current Wynn Resorts CEO Matt Maddox announced a new direction on an earnings call in November 2018.
The project will allow for the casino’s golf course on the site to reopen. Maddox also said the panned 400,000-square-foot convention center is on track to open later this year or in early 2020.
“We believe that the convention center will add somewhere between four to six percentage points of occupancy to this hotel, which will allow us to really drive rates in those peak times,” Maddox said on the call.
Several partners, including Marriott Resorts, are still in the design phase for its Drew Las Vegas. The project, which will utilize the unfinished Fontainebleau, was initially reported to be opened in 2020.
Fontainebleau Las Vegas started construction in 2007 and, at 63 floors, is the tallest building in Las Vegas, despite its empty status. The project went into bankruptcy in 2009. Carl Icahn bought the building in auction for $150 million before selling to the investment firms Witkoff Group and New Valley LLC for $600 million in 2017.
Colliers Senior Vice President Ted Stoever is bullish about the future of Reno.
While the projects are smaller in comparison to the mega-projects of Las Vegas, Stoever said for Reno, there are some significant investments in the pipeline.
Jacobs Entertainment is planning Renova Flats, a project that will continue the transformation of the city’s Fourth Street corridor, Stoever said. It will be the company’s first market-rate housing project in the city.
The $11 million project includes a first phase with 46 units and a second phase adding 10 more. Renova Flats is a renovation of the former Crest Inn.
The project is part of a seemingly larger play by Jacobs Entertainment, Stoever said. Nearby, the company also acquired the Sands Regency and Gold Dust West in the past several years.
“That’s the largest single project of note,” he said. “It’s an assemblage of eight or nine square blocks downtown. They started buying up and assembling and bulldozing motels and old dilapidated commercial buildings in an effort to connect [Sands and Gold Dust].”
Until the company recently went in front of the Reno City Council, Stoever said the plans had been fairly secret. “That’s going to change the face of downtown Reno,” he said.
Despite the mass amount of planned activity, he said the city still lacks a crane in the air. A push for high-density urban living is taking longer than had been expected. Part of the issue in that push for high-density residential is the struggle to piece together property, he said.
One land developer making strides in residential is Reno Land Inc., Stoever said, mentioning the massive suburban complexes the company has completed and plans to develop.
Reno Land Inc. projects include Park Lane, Rancharrah, Meridian 120 and Inova.
Stoever said Google recently broke ground on a planned data center in the Tahoe Reno Industrial Center, after purchasing 1,210 acres of land for $26.1 million in 2017.
He also noted the continued projects of other major technology companies in the industrial center, including Tesla.
Beyond commercial development, Stoever is also excited about the activity involving University of Nevada, Reno, including the $91 million Pennington Engineering Building. All together, the university has had several projects recently completed or planned in the near future, including Manzanita Hall, Peavine Hall, Lincoln Hall, Palmer Engineering and Scrugham Engineering and Mines Building, Thompson Hall and the E.L. Wiegand Fitness Center.
While it’s no single major project like the several in Las Vegas, Reno has plenty going on, Stoever said.
“Vegas is a much different scenario than Reno,” Stoever said. “It’s an exciting time up here, for sure.”