We have another new arena in the increasingly crowded Las Vegas marketplace, as Oak View Group is planning a $3-billion arena/entertainment district at the south end of the Strip, near a high-speed rail station and potentially a new MLS stadium.
Scheduled to begin construction in 2023, the arena/entertainment district will be built on 25 acres near the intersection of I-15 and I-215 and feature an 850,000-square-foot-arena, casino, hotel and an additional entertainment venue amphitheater. Featuring as many as 20,000+ seats and modern amenities that will include suites, and premium hospitality clubs, the arena will host live events, including concerts, sporting events, family entertainment, conventions, large meetings, award shows, exhibitions and more.
Gensler and Populous will spearhead design of the privately financed development, which will be the biggest project from Oak View Group to date—which is impressive, considering OVG’s portfolio includes Climate Pledge Arena (Seattle), UBS Arena (New York) and Co-Op Live in Manchester, England. In addition to Gensler and Populous, the project development will be led by Steve Collins, OVG’s president of global venue development and special projects.
Groundbreaking is expected in 2023, and the project is expected to be completed by 2026.
At 850,000 square feet, we’re looking at a facility that can easily host an NBA franchise: Fiserv Forum, home of the Milwaukee Bucks, occupies 730,000 square feet; Target Center, home of the Minnesota Timberwolves, occupies 831,533 square feet; and T-Mobile Arena, home of the NHL’s Vegas Golden Knights, occupies 650,000 square feet.
The location of the new sports/entertainment district is shaping up to be one of the hottest in the country when it comes to development. It’s adjacent to the Las Vegas terminal for the planned Brightline high-speed rail running between Los Angeles and Vegas. Besides this planned development, Brightline investors under the Fortress Investment Group umbrella—which include Wes Edens, co-owner of the Milwaukee Bucks—are rumored to be planning their own large development next to the terminal, which could feature a new MLS stadium. Besides the traffic generated by high-speed rail, the site will feature direct access to and from I-15 and Las Vegas Boulevard, resulting in 8- to 15-minute drive times to and from all major Las Vegas Strip resorts.
“South of the Las Vegas strip represents one of the few areas of potential future growth of the gaming and entertainment corridor,” said Tim Leiweke, CEO of Oak View Group, via press release. “This unprecedented project is an industry game-changer, and we will usher in the evolution of Las Vegas as the new entertainment AND sports capital of the world. As the largest arena developer in the world, we look forward to driving good paying job creation to Clark County as well as creating the most innovative and environmentally sustainable live entertainment point of destination in the world.”
Former Las Vegas Raiders president and veteran sports industry executive Marc Badain is partnering with OVG to develop and consult on the new project. President of business development Francesca Bodie will oversee business transactions and operations.
The new arena will fit an interesting spot in the Las Vegas venue scene. On one hand, it’s no secret that the NBA is considering expansion, and Las Vegas has been mentioned as a potential site for an expansion team. It would be a natural for OVG to pursue an NBA team calling this new arena home.
On the other hand, we seem to have an abundance of venues in Vegas, especially for a market the size of Sin City: We have larger venues for NFL football and potentially MLS soccer, and on the arena side we have an abundance of 15,000-30,000 seat indoor venues, including T-Mobile Arena, various casino arenas (such as the MGM Grand Arena), Thomas & Mack Center and the planned Las Vegas Strip All Net Resort & Arena. In terms of high-end entertainment venues, we have the MSG Sphere on tap. And, of course, MLB’s Oakland A’s have held out the possibility of a Vegas move should a new Howard Terminal ballpark fall through.