Stadium Authority approves lease with Raiders

The Stadium Authority approved the Raiders lease unanimously. 5/18/17 (Jeff Gillan | KSNV)

It still looks like opening day 2020 is on track, and Raiders President Marc Badain couldn’t be happier.

“We’ve been looking forward to getting a stadium project done for the better part of a decade and we took a big step today,” he told reporters after the meeting of the Las Vegas Stadium Authority, which is responsible for the ownership and oversight of the $1.9 billion stadium.

The step taken Thursday was finalizing and approving the lease between the team and the Authority, a roughly 100-page document governing the relationship and the responsibilities between the two parties.

RELATED LINK | Las Vegas Raiders could be delayed if lease isn't done soon

On the table Thursday, a final review of the document which has been months in the making. The Authority’s attorney, Mark Arnold, walked the board members through revisions on largely technical items like terms, insurance, and extensions. In a bow to the NFL’s public opposition to gambling, the lease forbids any gaming at the stadium, in the city that made gambling famous.

The nine-member board approved the lease unanimously.

“Now we just look forward to start grading on that property. Make it all nice and clean,” said a smiling board member Tommy White, who also runs Laborers’ Local 872, which has been the most outspoken labor proponent of the project.

“This was a big step. We’ll go to the Chicago meetings with the NFL and hopefully get approval on Tuesday,” said the Raiders’ Badain.

RELATED LINK | Raiders stadium to be built by June 2020

Last week, he told reporters time was of the essence. If a lease was not approved in time for next week’s NFL review, Badain said that could push the timetable for the whole project back and possibly delay the Raiders’ Las Vegas opening day by a year.

As we saw at last week’s meeting, members of Las Vegas’ African-American community spoke out, asking the Authority to make sure African-Americans also benefit from the project.

“I’m here to make sure the historic West Side is included,” said former Las Vegas NAACP President Gene Collins, referring to the city’s historically black neighborhoods.

RELATED LINK | First meeting since NFL vote: Stadium Authority to work on details

The stadium and the team will reverberate through Las Vegas in ways large and small. Down the street from the Russell Road site sits Jeff Parkway’s tattoo business, which now stands to cash in.

“I just bought,” Parkway says. “We're going to do all of the Raiders tattoos. I think every Sunday that they play here we're going to do free Raiders tattoos.”

In the audience at today’s Stadium Authority meeting, union men and women from Local 872, hoping to get some of those 19,000 stadium construction jobs.

“It means a lot of work for the town. It means a lot of business for the small business owners,” says union member Charla Garcia.

Approval of the lease does not finish the Authority’s work, by any means. It still needs to iron out documents such as an agreement with UNLV, whose Rebels will share the stadium, and a community benefits agreement that ensures the entire community shares in the opportunities the stadium will bring.

Construction is expected to begin in December and take 30 months to finish. The Las Vegas Raiders are expected to play on their new home field for the NFL season beginning in 2020.

“The design’s pretty much finalized,” Badain told News 3. “We’re pretty happy with it. When we’re ready we’ll unveil everything and the community will be really proud of what we’re building. It will be spectacular.”

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