Wednesday, November 25, 2015         

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20,000-seat arena to be built on Las Vegas Strip

The indoor venue by MGM Resorts and AEG is expected to be completed in 2016

By Ken Ritter

Associated Press


LAS VEGAS » Years of talk about building an arena capable of hosting professional sports and big-name concerts yielded an announcement Tuesday that casino giant MGM Resorts International and entertainment company AEG will build a privately financed 20,000-seat indoor venue on the Las Vegas Strip.

Construction on the $350 million arena should start next summer on land that MGM Resorts owns between the New York-New York and Monte Carlo resorts, the two companies said in a joint announcement.

Completion is expected by spring 2016.

International design firm Populous will draw up plans for premium seating and hospitality areas for entertainment and sports events, the statement said. Populous designed London's O2 arena, Berlin's O2 World arena and Kansas City's Sprint Center, among other projects.

Naming rights are on the table. No professional sports teams have committed to the deal.

The arena is expected to be a centerpiece of an outdoor pedestrian mall featuring restaurants and retail shops stretching from Las Vegas Boulevard to Frank Sinatra Drive, visible from Interstate 15.

Former Las Vegas Mayor Oscar Goodman tried for years to entice a developer to build an arena downtown that would be newer and larger than the Thomas & Mack center at UNLV. Goodman often said he wanted to attract a pro hockey or basketball franchise.

The Thomas & Mack opened in 1983 and hosts events such as the NCAA Mountain West Conference men's basketball tournament and National Finals Rodeo.

It has a capacity of about 19,500 spectators for boxing events, and under 19,000 for basketball.

Three casinos have other large arenas around town, including MGM Resorts' Mandalay Bay Events Center. It can seat 12,000.

The parent company's MGM Grand Garden Arena opened in 1993 with a capacity of just under 17,000 spectators. It hosted the Pac 12 men's basketball tournament last March.

The Orleans Arena opened in 2003 adjacent to Boyd Gaming Corp.'s Orleans casino-hotel. It can seat about 9,500 for boxing, and just under 8,000 for hockey and basketball. It plays home to the professional minor league Las Vegas Wranglers hockey team, and hosted Western Athletic Conference and West Coast Conference basketball tournaments.

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