- The Clark County, Nevada, Zoning Commission axed the $5 billion All Net Resort & Arena entertainment complex in Las Vegas last month after more than 10 years of delays and financing issues. The project had seen minimal construction progress to date, limited to grading and site preparation work.
- Plans for the complex, positioned behind the Sahara Las Vegas hotel and casino at the north end of the Strip, were to include a 22,000-seat venue, a 44-story hotel and numerous retail establishments. The project’s cancellation removed its status as the favored venue for a potential Las Vegas-based NBA franchise in the future.
- Despite the unanimous 7-0 decision, Commissioner Tick Segerblom left the door open for the project to restart if the venue’s developer, Las Vegas-based Dribble Dunk, can substantiate its claimed financial capacity.
Work had already commenced, including the removal of billboards, demolition and site preparation work, said Chris Kaempfer, a Las Vegas-based land use and zoning attorney representing the All Net project, during a Nov. 21 commission meeting.
Construction teams also already started mobilization for the excavation crews, as well as full operation of grading, said Thomas Selvaggio, vice president of construction for All Net.
But issues with financing the multibillion-dollar project continue to plague any progress, said Jim Gibson, Clark County commission chairman, during the meeting. Additionally, Las Vegas Paving Corp., a local heavy civil construction company, has a five-year-old lien against the property worth for unpaid work, according to the county meeting.
“What we really had hoped for, with the additional time, [was that] there would be money in accounts that are available for the applicant to then begin to pay things,” said Gibson during the meeting. “We’re still hearing that the money is out there, but it is not under [All Net’s] control, it is under the control of others.”
A representative of the Meruelo Group, which operates the Sahara, supported the decision to shut down the project. Andrew Diss, senior vice president of Meruelo, said the site has not been properly maintained, and that the lot has turned to a breeding ground for mosquitos. He also questioned whether All Net has the funds to continue the project.
“Today, we’re hearing about a bank in Mexico. A year ago, we were hearing about a family fund in Wyoming. A year before that, it was Middle Eastern money that was going to be wired through Switzerland and come to the United States,” said Diss during the meeting. “We’ve heard this song and dance before.”
Other delayed projects
Along with the All Net Arena project, other construction starts in Las Vegas have also hit roadblocks related to project financing.
Shopoff Realty Investments paused construction on its approximately $550 million Las Vegas Dream Resort in March due to construction financing issues, said Bill Shopoff, its president and CEO, in an email to Construction Dive. That project is still on hold, and may not resume construction until January 2024, according to the Las Vegas Review-Journal.
Nevertheless, progress is being made on development projects elsewhere in Las Vegas, even if it takes years. The MSG Sphere, a giant globe-like entertainment venue just east of the Strip, opened its doors earlier this summer, but not after nearly doubling its original $1.2 billion cost estimate to $2.3 billion. The long-awaited Fontainebleau Las Vegas also will open on Dec. 13, nearly 15 years after its groundbreaking in 2007.
In other professional sports news, MLB’s Oakland Athletics signed an agreement to purchase 49 acres of land near the Strip with plans to build a $1.5 billion ballpark. The A’s are reportedly seeking to secure funding through a public-private partnership with state and city officials.
All 30 team owners last month approved the relocation, according to NPR, which said the new stadium is expected to be ready in 2028.