Southern Nevada’s long simmering plans for a sports arena took a step forward with a funding pact that could see the $650 million, 17,500-seat Silver State Arena break ground this summer. A memorandum of understanding between United Arab Emirates-based International Development Management and Shenzhen, China-based China Security & Surveillance Technology (CSST) was unveiled Feb. 10, calling for CSST, with support from its Chinese banking partners, to fully fund construction of a 750,000-sq-ft sports arena in Henderson, about 12 miles south of Las Vegas. The deal covers only the indoor arena portion of a potential $1.3-billion project that calls for a separate open-air stadium. Morgan Stanley was hired last year to find project investors. CSST, in a regulatory filing, said it had $1.4 billion in assets as of June 30.

Image courtesy IDM
The Silver State Arena was previously planned as a $1.57-billion, three-arena project at Symphony Park in downtown Las Vegas. That 70-acre scheme, above, included a 17,500-seat basketball/hockey arena, 9,000-seat ballpark and 50,000-seat football stadium.

Turner Construction Co., New York, has been tapped as general contractor, with Romani Group Inc., Greenwood Village, Colo., as program manager. Designed by ThreeSixty Architecture, Kansas City, Mo., the arena would be located on 485 acres of federally managed land east of Interstate-15, just south of the M Resort Casino. Sale of the land has conditional support from the city of Henderson, although stadium feasibility studies must first be completed. IDM must also convert the memorandum into a binding contract and secure city approval for a tax-increment subsidy deal to buy the property from the Bureau of Land Management.

IDM, led by developer Chris Milam and with U.S. offices located in Austin, Texas, tried three times unsuccessfully last year to build similar projects in unincorporated Clark County and Las Vegas, including a $1.57 billion three-arena scheme in downtown’s Symphony Park. Prior plans revealed in early 2011 called for a 17,500-seat basketball/hockey arena, on 70 acres, flanked by a 9,000-seat ballpark and 50,000-seat football stadium, both partly covered with tensile roof structures.

The arena's business plan is based on securing professional sports tenants and selling high-end luxury seats, which has yet to occur. The arena could be completed as soon as mid-2014, says a company spokesperson.