Plans could be cemented by 2023
Oak View Group, an international venue development group, is planning a $3bn project centered around a $1bn, 20,000-seat arena and entertainment district to the south of the main Las Vegas strip.
25 acres of land at Las Vegas Boulevard and Blue Diamond Road
Oak View is looking to progress the privately-financed project by next year with plans of building completion by 2026. The plan calls for development on 25 acres of land at Las Vegas Boulevard and Blue Diamond Road; that land is part of 66 acres that were bought by Blue Diamond Acquisition RE 2022 LLC for almost $99m in February. Oak View does not own the other 41 acres.
The company plans to create an entertainment district, massive stadium, hotel and casino, and amphitheater. All of this will be just a few minutes away from the Harry Reid International Airport.
A reimagined Las Vegas
Las Vegas is well known for its gambling and entertainment enterprises, but Oak View CEO Tim Leiweke believes that there is still untapped potential in the area.
“South of the Las Vegas Strip represents one of the few areas of potential future growth of the gaming and entertainment corridor,” said Leiweke. “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.”
Oak View’s building site is next to the planned Brightline high-speed railway that will connect Vegas and Los Angeles. This will further its influence and popularity in the entertainment sector if the railway project goes through.
Wes Edens, co-CEO of Fortress Investment Group, which owns Brightline, is also interested in building a Major League Soccer stadium next to the train station on the otherwise vacant ground.
I think it’s phenomenal”
“If those two projects happen, I think it’s phenomenal,” Leiweke said. “We’re excited because it really builds something dynamic as a live entertainment zone that is connected directly to Southern California. Just a huge boon for not only Las Vegas and Nevada, obviously for our campus as well.”
Other sporting attractions
There has been a rising demand for sports in Vegas, following the Raiders’ move to the south of Nevada. The creation of the Las Vegas Golden Knights franchise also gave Nevada a representative in the National Hockey League.
The once-music-driven city that was seen as a semi-retirement home is now the hub of entertainment— the city missed out on the drama of the Oscars, but it will host the Grammys on April 3 and Super Bowl LVIII in 2024.
Leiweke has an in building a professional basketball stadium in addition to the plans for a new MLS ground. There are no professional hoops teams in Las Vegas, but the CEO could be granted some assurances.
this building will be built so that it would be spectacular for the NBA”
“If [the National Basketball Association] made a commitment to Vegas at some point in the future, this building will be built so that it would be spectacular for the NBA,” said Leiweke. “Not just in the way that it operates, meeting and exceeding all their standards, but in a way economically it could generate revenue for an NBA team.”
The NBA already holds its one of its summer leagues in Las Vegas, so adding a professional team would not be a far stretch. Fans have also clamored for the recreation of the Seattle Supersonics franchise, so this would allow the NBA an opportunity to appease its fanbase and tap into two new markets.
History and future opportunities
Oak View has a long history of venue development. The company redeveloped and now operates Climate Pledge Arena at Seattle Center, where the Seattle Kraken plays. It also helped build and operate UBS Arena in New York, home of the New York Islanders. Furthermore, it has projects at all levels of sports and has been in operation since 2015.
Leiweke has also been in the game for quite some time, dating back to his tenure as Denver Nuggets president from 1991-95. After that, he served as CEO of AEG from 1996-2013; AEG is part owner of T-Mobile Arena with MGM Resorts and Golden Knights owner Bill Foley.
I welcome this next evolution for south Las Vegas Boulevard”
“The team assembled has the track record and ability to bring another world-class venue to our world-class destination,” Clark County commissioner Michael Naft said in a statement. “I welcome this next evolution for south Las Vegas Boulevard, the jobs this project will create, and the history that will be made by today’s news.”
Oak View will need a partner to help run hotel and casino operations; conversations have reportedly been held behind the scenes, though no names have been released.
Leiweke envisions Las Vegas growing its global influence and catering to sporting, musical, theater, and gambling crowds.