The NFL mulls, local stadium officials ponder, and businesses say hurry up
LAS VEGAS (KSNV News3LV) —
“So what is this area here?” I asked ‘I Heart Vape’ owner Brian Mazzola, as he showed me a bar area toward the back of his business.
“This is the testing area, tasting bar, to see what flavors they like,” he told me, as he demonstrated one of the dozens of offerings he has.
“Strawberry,” he said, as he blew the vapor my way.
Mazzola is pretty pumped by the fact an NFL stadium could be going up on his doorstep.
He’s on Dean Martin, a stone’s throw from the Raiders’ preferred site off Russell.
“We're kind of off the beaten path here, so bring all that traffic through here is definitely going to up the business, for sure,” Mazzola said.
His location, a strip mall with an eclectic collection of shops, sits on a street that would see an increase in activity when the proposed 65,000-seat stadium would be in use.
On Monday, we got big news from Bank of America: News 3 confirmed it will step in where billionaire Sheldon Adelson backed out, providing $650 million in financing for the proposed $1.9 billion facility.
The Raiders met with key NFL committees in Florida this week, updating owners and their representatives on the latest developments. They are plugging the financial hole made when Adelson departed at the end of January, upset, he said, by how he was being treated by the team.
Under the deal, Nevada, in the form of higher room taxes, would pitch in $750 million in public money; the Raiders would put $500 million on the table; Bank of America would finance the rest.
“Nothing's a done deal until it's a done deal,” said sports insider Ray Ratto, with Comcast Sports Net Bay Area.
With the financing seemingly assured, I asked him to size-up ours, and Raiders owner Mark Davis’, chances.
“The only two things that I can see now that could derail this is a sudden reluctance by the owners to leave the sixth biggest TV market for the 40th biggest TV market, which hasn't seemed to be a problem in the past, or a level of personal animosity toward Davis that has not yet been tapped,” Ratto told News 3.
Our stadium authority meets Thursday.
On the table … the proposed lease with the team.
“We'll talk about what other stadium agreements have looked like around the country,” authority chairman Steve Hill said.
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In January, the Raiders raised eyebrows, proposing a-buck-a-year rent; it was the team staking out an opening position in a negotiation that will have many parts.
Hill says context here is needed: under the legislation which enabled the stadium to move forward, rent was never supposed to be part of the public payback.
The public will benefit from the stadium in other ways, Hill says.
“It creates jobs, it creates tax revenue, and it really eliminates the need to build a college football stadium that was going to cost $580 million, because UNLV will be able to play there,” Hill said.
The lease will also spell out how the Raiders and the other tenant, the UNLV football Rebels, will work with each other.
“UNLV’s access, and the field preparations, and making sure it works for both UNLV and the Raiders, what the rest of the event scheduling looks like,” Hill tells me, spelling out other areas of discussion.
Back on Dean Martin, “it's been here about three years, it's the Hollywood car museum,” manager, or ‘Mayor’, as his business card says, Steve Levesque tells me as we look over his collection of vehicles, many of which have graced movies and TV shows.
We stood by an authentic replica of the 60’s-era Batmobile, made famous by the hit show “Batman.”
Levesque says a stadium will not only boost business, but also help him with a problem.
“We do have a Brett Favre Green Bay Packers tailgate party car here, that maybe, that'll make sense because most of our cars are from film and television,” Levesque said.
The other problem: it’s not silver and black.