A leading arena developer announced plans in late March to build a 20,000-seat, NBA-quality arena as the cornerstone of a $3-billion entertainment complex on 66.5 acres of land south of the Las Vegas Strip.

Los Angeles based-Oak View Group said it expects to break ground next year on a project that would include a casino resort and amphitheater, along with an 850,000-sq-ft arena, all privately financed.

“The goal would be to try to open everything up simultaneously,” says project consultant Marc Badain, but the company maintains the option to develop it in phases depending on market conditions.

Badain says the project will continue the decades-long trend toward ever-more-sophisticated Las Vegas venues, something seen most recently in T-Mobile Arena, Allegiant Stadium and the under-construction MSG Sphere.

“As Vegas grew, as Vegas evolved, the venues kept pace,” says Badain, a former Raiders team president who played a leading role in developing Allegiant Stadium. “Our goal is to build the next-generation arena and incorporate that into a resort in one integrated property.”

Badain says that while the arena will be built to NBA standards, “it’s up to the 30 owners and the commissioner” whether the league brings a team to Las Vegas.

Oak View Group acquired 25 acres about four miles south of the Strip in an area that CEO Tim Leiweke says is “one of the few areas of potential future growth of the gaming and entertainment corridor.”

The site is near a separate location proposed for a Major League Soccer stadium and the terminus of a Southern California to Southern Nevada high-speed train. The area is also close to Reid International Airport, Interstate 15 and the beltway that circles much of the Las Vegas Valley.

“There is so much potential for connectivity,” says Clark County Commissioner Michael Naft, whose district includes the proposed arena site.

He predicts that with little room to build on the Strip, the arena and resort “would create opportunities for additional development” as the area becomes a stand-alone entertainment destination and, potentially, a place where thousands of rail passengers will arrive daily.

Naft says Oak View Group’s record of sustainable development, including the first net-zero carbon certified arena in the world, make it a good fit for Nevada, which has an ambitious agenda to reduce its carbon footprint.

“They’re exactly the kind of partner we want in Clark County to help us develop in an environmentally friendly way,” Naft says.

Oak View Group executive Francesca Bodie is heading the project, which is being designed by architecture firms Gensler and Populous. Badain says the names of the contractors will be released later. Construction is slated to begin sometime in 2023.