Thursday, August 12, 2010

This week's LVW col: Save Silver State

Here's this week's LVW column. Enjoy. -sf

Where’s Vegas’ sports arena?

There is no intelligent reason for the County Commission to oppose the construction of the Silver State Arena and the financing arrangement its developers have proposed. That, sadly, leaves us with the stupid ones.
The Silver State Arena is the $750 million multipurpose venue proposed for the site of the late, great Wet N Wild, immediately south of the Sahara. The genie’s-lamp-looking thing even fits in with its neighbors, but better still is that it would create 4,100 new construction jobs as well as, according to the developers, an estimated 7,300 permanent positions after it opens. It’s also, right now, the only hope this city has of landing an NBA team.
You might have heard we’re mired in a horrible slump, so the promise for thousands of well-paying union jobs ought to be irresistible. If President Obama were pimping this deal, they’d be using the magic words “shovel ready.”
So what’s the holdup?

Read the rest at LasVegasWeekly.Com


Anonymous said...

Wow. I've never seen you swing and miss so badly.

What, exactly, has Milam ever developed? Check out and you'll see lots of shiny clip art photos of glamour cities. But what projects has IDM actually built?

Click the Las Vegas link and it currently shows some non-existant egg-shaped towers, a supposed 9.5 million sf project that only exists on this website. (Curiously, its renderings also show it on the same site where Silver State Arena would be built.)

Milam's recent Sun story that claimed to have an NBA team on the hook was also widely trashed by credible sources. The NBA said there is no team on the hook, and the idea that the Pistons would leave Detroit to head to a city with 20 percent unemployment was also quickly doused.

Really, all Milam has ever done in this community is propose really big projects for that same piece of land, seeking public support along the way.

James Packer bailed on him and their proposed tower never went anywhere. The 9.5 million sf development doesn't exist. And now he says he can build an arena, and it's the city's only hope for an NBA team?

Look a little deeper, Steve. There are so many things to question here I'm shocked that you'd even take this position.

Where is Milam's money? Especially if he's promising that he really wouldn't need the development funds because it'll be such a moneymaker.

If the stadium would be such a win for Sue Lowden, why couldn't she just boot Milam to the side and go in with another developer with a better track record to get the thing built?

Lots and lots of things to question.


None of this has anything to do with the county commission's posture. It's not about Milam. It's about Lowden. The only explanations for why this isn't going forward have to do with traffic and financing. Your concerns are interesting, but not relevant to what's happening here politically.

Anonymous said...

I am not in a position to confirm or shoot down the political maneuvering you've suggested may be taking place. I don't question that the dots you've connected in that regard could well form a trail.

However, an alternate (and equally plausible) theory could be that the elected leaders have turned away from Milam's proposals simply because they see through him and his claims.

The Reid-Lowden position makes sense on the surface, but to view this impasse as if that issue were in a vaccum doesn't work.

If Milam had a demonstrated track record, and if he were not seeking tax assistance, and the elected leaders were still showing opposition - then it's time to question if politics were in play.

But given this guy's lackluster history, chalking up the opposition strictly to the idea that this is somehow an anti-Lowden push by Clark County Democrats seems sketchy at best.

Also, keep in mind that Chris G is up for election this fall. Politically it makes perfect sense for her to stand up for the Turnberry residents who could vote for her now. She'd be foolish to go against real voters in an effort to win over those who may someday later (after the election) get some sort of employment from this arena, provided it somehow gets built. And supporting the arena also wouldn't go over well with her union supporters who are facing layoffs due to the county's budget issues. (They'd say, "She can spend money to help an NBA owner, but she's telling me I have to be laid off?"). There's no upside for her to side with Milam now, so she can hang her anti-arena hat on the traffic issue, whether that's a red herring or not.

That theory rings way more true to life right now than any theories that this could boil down to a simple Reid vs. Lowden spat. Really, why should either Reid care about Lowden now? She's no longer in the picture thanks to Angle's win in the primary.


Chris g doesn't have a credible opponent and there hasn't been a republican commissioner from this region possibly ever but at least for more than 35 years.

Anonymous said...

So what?

Your theory that the commissioners are spurning Milam because they don't like the Lowdens is supposedly more relevant? She's already been knocked out of the race.

Chris G may not have a credible opponent, and she may be running in a loaded Democratic district. But even if it's only a very slight chance, she could still lose an election this fall, whereas Sue Lowden has absolutely zero chance of winning anything come November.

Nice spin, though.


Anon: That's what makes it so petty. And "spin" is the word to apply to your version of arguing -- throw something out there, when it's shown irrelevant, find another tack. This is my view. I've made my case. You're welcome to disagree, but I haven't "spun" anything from my initial premise, nor been required to bring in new arguments to support it. You just did. Nice try, tho!

Jeff in OKC said...

Here's my opinion; this is not the best use for property on the Strip. An arena will make about the same money anywhere in the valley, but Strip porperty has a much higher earnings potential. I think the traffic will gridlock and mass transit isn't going to be viable for at least 20 years.
I also think that this is the kind of project that is usually done by cities, not counties. A city usually has a mayor who can take the point and ramrod a project like this. A county seems to have committee leadership and lacks a single figure at the top.
Las Vegas may not have a strong mayor type government, but Oscar Goodman sure has everyone convinced they do. I think that is the type of driving force it takes to get arenas built. That and a big public subsidy. :-)