Oak View Group reveals $1bn Vegas arena project

Oak View Group (OVG), the global venue development, advisory and investment company for the sports and live entertainment industries, has today (Wednesday) announced plans for its biggest project to date – a $3bn (£2.28bn/€2.69bn) retail and entertainment district in Las Vegas that will have a $1bn arena as its focal point.

The district, located south of the Las Vegas Strip, will include a 20,000-seat arena, casino, hotel, and additional entertainment amphitheatre. OVG intends to break ground on the privately financed project next year, with a view to completion in 2026.

Featuring modern amenities that will include suites and premium hospitality clubs, the arena is intended to host live events including concerts, sporting events, family entertainment, as well as conventions, large meetings, international events, award shows and exhibitions.

With a focus on the prioritisation of technology, sustainability, and green initiatives, the construction of Las Vegas’ new arena is expected to create thousands of permanent and temporary jobs for the surrounding community.

“South of the Las Vegas Strip represents one of the few areas of potential future growth of the gaming and entertainment corridor,” Tim Leiweke, CEO of Oak View Group, said in a statement. “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.”

The district is being designed by architecture firms Gensler and Populous. The latter firm was also responsible for T-Mobile Arena, the home of NHL ice hockey team Vegas Golden Knights which opened in April 2016.

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.

Marc Badain, former president of NFL American football franchise the Las Vegas Raiders, has partnered with OVG to lead and consult on the arena project. He will work along with OVG’s president of business development, Francesca Bodie, who will oversee business transactions and operations.

“In the time I have spent in Las Vegas, I have been overwhelmed by both the entrepreneurial spirit and the willingness of its residents and leaders to embrace the innovation and vision that guides its future,” Badain said. “This project represents the next step in that exciting evolution.”

While there is no anchor sports team currently connected to the arena, Vegas has been strongly linked to an NBA basketball franchise in the past and Leiweke said this opportunity would be of interest.

“We would join the governor, Clark County and the business leaders and the tourism industry to aggressively pursue a franchise, should one become available,” he told the Las Vegas Review-Journal. “But we’re under no belief, expectation or direction today that that’s imminent.

“If they (the NBA) 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. 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 project site is also located adjacent to a planned train station for Brightline’s high-speed rail link that would connect Las Vegas with Los Angeles. Wes Edens, co-chief executive of Fortress Investment Group, owner of Brightline, is said to be assessing the potential for a Major League Soccer (MLS) stadium on vacant land at the site.

“If those two projects happen, I think it’s phenomenal,” Leiweke added. “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.”

OVG’s most recent major arena project, the $1.1bn UBS Arena, opened its doors in November.

Image: Stephen Leonardi on Unsplash