Developer Bets $3 Billion That Another Pro Sports Team Could Move to Las Vegas
Oak View Group’s Planned Entertainment Complex Calls for Two Arenas, Casino and Hotel
Oak View Group is planning a mixed-use entertainment district with two arenas on a site south of the Las Vegas Strip.
Oak View Group bought land in Las Vegas with plans to develop a $3 billion entertainment district with two arenas, a casino and a hotel, as the gambling capital looks to join other major cities in turning sports complexes into lucrative generators of year-round economic activity.
Executives at the Los Angeles-based development and investment firm said they acquired 25 acres south of the Las Vegas Strip for an undisclosed price. Plans call for an 850,000-square-foot arena with at least 20,000 seats that could host sports, concerts or other live entertainment, along with “an additional entertainment venue amphitheater.”
The targeted site is part of a larger land parcel spanning approximately 66 acres at Las Vegas Boulevard and Blue Diamond Road near Interstate 15, acquired last month by Las Vegas-based investor Prospect Street for approximately $98 million, CoStar and public data show. An Oak View Group statement did not provide further details on the hotel, casino or amphitheater, and the company didn't release project renderings.
“South of the Las Vegas Strip represents one of the few areas of potential future growth of the gaming and entertainment corridor,” Oak View CEO Tim Leiweke said in a statement.
Over the past decade, sports teams and developers in several large U.S. cities have invested in mixed-use projects designed to serve as year-round generators of social and economic activity, often in locations where it previously did not exist. Sports arena-centric projects with retail, residential and other non-sports components have been built or planned in and around cities including Los Angeles, San Diego, San Francisco and Atlanta.
Oak View Group redeveloped Seattle’s $1.2 billion Climate Pledge Arena for the NHL’s Kracken, which started play in that city last year. Las Vegas already has a year-round draw in entertainment and the country's biggest concentration of casinos, so the complex adjoining the arena will fit in with similar developments in the city.
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The developer's plan arrives as Las Vegas — now rebounding from a pandemic that hit its tourism industry particularly hard for much of the past year — is looking to bring in more commercial development tied to professional sports, after the arrival of the NHL’s Golden Knights in 2017 and the NFL’s Raiders in 2020, both in newly built arenas.
Leiweke is the former president of the Toronto-based company that owns the NHL’s Maple Leafs and the NBA’s Raptors and former CEO of Anschutz Entertainment Group, developer and owner of the LA Live entertainment complex and Crypto.com Arena in Los Angeles, home of the NBA’s Lakers and Clippers. He told CNBC that the main arena at the planned Las Vegas complex is being designed with the possibility of landing an NBA team.
“There is no certainty or no guarantees the NBA is ever coming to Vegas, but should they come, we certainly will be NBA-ready and make sure we hit all of their standards,” Leiweke said.
Las Vegas and Seattle have been rumored to be candidates for NBA expansion teams, and NBA Commissioner Adam Silver said last fall that Las Vegas would be at the top of the list of cities to get a new team. The league, however, has declined to comment on specific teams that might be relocated or created in Las Vegas.
Allegiant Stadium, which opened in 2020 not far from the Vegas Strip as the home of the NFL’s Raiders, saw more than 1 million people attend sports and other events during the past six months, according to the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority. That included more than 400,000 people from outside the Vegas region.
Las Vegas regional officials have estimated that the $1.9 billion, 65,000-seat Allegiant Stadium, built by the Raiders with the help of $750 million in public funding, will generate $620 million annually in regional economic benefits including tax revenue. The stadium is scheduled to host the Super Bowl in February 2024.
Michael Petrivelli, who tracks Nevada as associate director of market analytics for CoStar Group, said the entertainment district plans reflect a larger rebounding economy that has attracted an array of developers and investors to Las Vegas in the past year, especially for apartments and industrial facilities. Visitors to the arena complex are likely to drive nearby retail and hotel demand.
“Allegiant Stadium is surrounded by dated warehouses that don’t benefit from increased foot traffic, but the Raiders’ training facility off St. Rose Parkway has spurred plenty of development in the Southeastern corridor,” Petrivelli said, pointing to more than 200,000 square feet of retail and 220 apartments delivered in that neighborhood since 2020.
Oak View has enlisted former Raiders President Marc Badain as a consultant on its Las Vegas development and is looking to start construction next year after obtaining entitlements from the city and Clark County.
The $1.9 billion, 65,000-seat Allegiant Stadium was built by the Las Vegas Raiders with the help of $750 million in public funding.
An Oak View Group spokesman told CoStar News the company would not be commenting on the Las Vegas project beyond Wednesday’s statement. The company was co-founded by music industry mogul Irving Azoff and previously developed several sports and entertainment venues including the UBS Arena in New York and Moody Center in Austin, Texas.
Developers are looking to host sports events, award shows, conventions and other large international gatherings in the planned main arena in Las Vegas. The company envisions a high-tech, environmentally sustainable entertainment district that “will usher in the evolution of Las Vegas as the new entertainment and sports capital of the world,” according to the statement.