High-Stakes Las Vegas Stadium Gamble May Go Bust
Developer Chris Milam's planned 750,000-sq-ft, 16,500-seat sports arena in Henderson, 12 miles south of Las Vegas, may be headed for bust. Due to fraud concerns, the U.S. Bureau of Land Management has delayed the potential sale of 480 acres to Milam's Silver State Land LLC 40 days until Feb. 6. at the request of Henderson City Attorney Josh Reid.
Milam had submitted a $2.1-million deposit in June for the $10.56-million purchase; the balance was due Dec. 3. Reid wrote in a letter addressed to the BLM that the federal land deal "may not be valid and appears to be tainted by fraudulent representations." Milam and his investors have been "actively promoting" the land for prospective residential development, "in direct contravention" of the BLM deal, Reid wrote.
Milam rebuffs those claims, but admitted in a letter to city officials his Las Vegas National Sports Complex cannot get the funding needed without "a revised plan and new agreement." Milam announced in February 2012 that Shenzhen, China-based China Security & Surveillance Technology has tentatively agreed to provide a 42-month, $650-million loan for an indoor basketball arena designed by 360 Architecture, Kansas City, Mo. Construction was expected to begin as early as October 2012, with Turner Construction Co., New York, as general contractor.
Milam tried three times unsuccessfully in 2011 to build similar projects in unincorporated Clark County and Las Vegas, including a $1.57-billion three-arena scheme in downtown Las Vegas. The Austin, Texas-based developer is currently facing a $1.1-million fraud judgment for a failed Las Vegas condominium project in 2005; the judgment is under appeal.