LAS VEGAS >> Casino giant MGM Resorts International and a development partner, entertainment company AEG, released renderings Tuesday of a gleaming new 20,000-seat indoor arena planned for the Las Vegas Strip.
Construction on the $350 million privately financed arena is expected to start next April or May, with a projected opening in spring 2016, said Tim Romani, president and chief executive of Denver-based ICON Venue Group, the project manager.
The facility designed by the Kansas City, Mo.-based firm Populous is expected to host concerts, boxing, mixed martial arts, awards shows and other events. Planners hope to lure professional basketball and hockey events, although no pro team commitments have been announced.
The renderings show a sweeping 12-plus story glass and steel structure with a light-emitting display on 5.4 acres between MGM Resorts’ New York-New York and Monte Carlo resorts, visible from the Interstate 15 freeway.
"The arena will be an extension of The Strip’s high energy," said architect Brad Clark, Populous senior principal. "Our job with the design was to stay authentic to that spirit."
Populous designed London’s O2 arena, Berlin’s O2 World arena and Kansas City’s Sprint Center, among other projects.
The Las Vegas arena design calls for an 85-foot-high atrium and exterior balconies on an energy-efficient building. That structure will serve as a centerpiece of a 12-acre outdoor pedestrian mall featuring restaurants and retail shops stretching from Las Vegas Boulevard to Frank Sinatra Drive.
AEG and MGM are paying for the arena with private third-party financing from as-yet unnamed sources.
Dan Beckerman, AEG president and chief executive, said the Las Vegas arena should compare with other AEG facilities including STAPLES Center in Los Angeles, London’s The O2 and Mercedes-Benz Arena in Shanghai.
Las Vegas has several other arenas, including the Thomas & Mack center at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. It opened in 1983 and has a capacity ranging from under 19,000 for basketball to about 19,500 for boxing.
MGM Resorts’ Mandalay Bay Events Center can seat 12,000 people, the MGM Grand Garden Arena opened in 1993 with a capacity of just under 17,000 spectators, and the Orleans Arena opened in 2003 with a capacity of about 9,500 for boxing.
UNLV officials also want to build a 60,000-seat stadium on campus to replace aging Sam Boyd Stadium for Rebels football games, and attract events such as NFL exhibition games.