Business Development:

MGM Resorts clears first hurdle on path to building arena on the Strip

With an eye on opening the venue in 2016, MGM Resorts International received approval from the county Wednesday for the first round of permits and reviews needed to begin construction on an arena.

The Clark County Commission unanimously approved use permits for the planned 20,000-seat arena and the restaurants, retail space and park that will accompany the development.

Planning documents filed with the county show the project, with an estimated price tag of $350 million, will include a 640,000-square-foot sports and entertainment arena, plus another 80,000 square feet for the outdoor shopping center. A 10-acre park area will serve as an entryway into the arena complex, which will be located behind the New York-New York and Monte Carlo casinos.

Commissioners enthusiastically endorsed the proposal, calling the 3,000 permanent jobs it’s expected to create “good news” for a region still struggling with high unemployment.

Their few reservations centered on possible congestion created by vehicular and pedestrian traffic to the new arena and whether there’s enough parking spaces surrounding the site.

Attorney Greg Borgel, MGM Resorts’ representative, told commissioners that the company plans to have staff and vendors park at the Excalibur — a short walk across Tropicana Avenue from the arena — to help alleviate some parking issues. With parking at New York-New York, the Monte Carlo and several other MGM Resorts-owned hotels south of Tropicana Avenue, Borgel said the company has more than enough parking spaces to support the increased traffic.

A development agreement between the county and MGM Resorts still needs to be finalized before construction can begin. Concerns about traffic or parking, along with any other considerations relating to the project, will be addressed through that process.

“We have a real project with real employment benefits for the community,” Borgel said. “We have the intention of getting the project open in mid-2016.”

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