Chinese company agrees to finance proposed Henderson arena

A Chinese company and its banks have tentatively agreed to finance a $650 million arena in Henderson, the arena developer announced Friday.

Whether the Silver State Arena will actually get off the ground, however, is an open question, despite Friday’s announcement by developer Chris Milam’s companies, Las Vegas National Sports Center and International Development Management.

It’s an open question because of the many hurdles Milam needs to overcome and questions about the arena project.

Milam’s companies said China Security & Surveillance Technology Inc. of Shenzhen, China, and its Chinese banking partners signed a “memorandum of understanding” providing for full financing of the 17,500-seat arena.

Friday’s announcement covered only the indoor arena portion of what has been billed as potentially becoming a $1.3 billion project that would include a separate open-air stadium. The proposed site is on Bureau of Land Management property south of the M Resort.

China Security & Surveillance, in a regulatory filing, said it had $1.4 billion in assets as of June 30.

Lee Haney, a consultant to Milam’s companies and their spokeswoman, said the next steps will be for the parties to convert the memorandum into a binding contract, to gain city of Henderson approval for a tax-increment subsidy deal and to obtain unused federal land from the Bureau of Land Management for the arena.

She said Milam hopes to break ground “in mid-2012” and open the arena by mid-2014. Milam is in talks with professional teams in hopes of landing a tenant for the arena, Haney said.

Milam — who’s previously proposed several stadium and arena proposals in the Las Vegas area that didn’t get off the ground — has plenty of work to do to make the Henderson arena project happen.

The arena is competing with several other proposed arenas around the valley, including arenas that would be built at UNLV and in downtown Las Vegas.

Milam also needs to convince policymakers that the Las Vegas area needs and can support another arena, given that it already has five indoor arenas and several are capable of hosting the types of sports (basketball and hockey) and entertainment events his arena would host.

The existing arenas are the Thomas & Mack Center, the MGM Grand Garden Arena, the Mandalay Bay Events Center, the Orleans Arena and the South Point Arena & Equestrian Center.

The problem with the Las Vegas arenas, critics say, is they’re too small or outdated to host an NBA team, and Las Vegas is even in danger of losing the National Finals Rodeo.

But with professional sports teams wary of locating in the U.S. casino capital and sports wagering prevalent in Las Vegas, some critics wonder if Las Vegas can ever land a major league professional team.

Another issue for Milam is that for years he’s been fighting lawsuits alleging wrongdoing on his part in a failed plan to develop condominiums west of the Hard Rock hotel-casino in Las Vegas.

One of those suits, which resulted in a $1.1 million judgment against Milam, is on appeal to the Nevada Supreme Court, and Haney on Friday said Milam is confident of having the judgment reversed.

In the lawsuit at issue, Clark County District Court Judge Mark Denton signed an order with particularly harsh language about Milam, finding he was involved in fraud and breach of fiduciary duty.

The order says he “misappropriated” $1.1 million contributed by investors to the condominium project and made false representations that the $1.1 million was his personal equity contribution to the project.

Milam, in the meantime, has yet to acquire the BLM land.

A BLM spokeswoman said Friday that the agency has been reviewing a city of Henderson proposal for a land sale for the arena.

If the BLM decides to proceed with the proposal, it would first need to decide how to structure the transaction and then open the proposal up for public comment. The public comment process alone could take 30-60 days, and there’s no set date for that process to begin, BLM spokeswoman Hillerie Patton said.



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  1. Seems to be a lot of "if's" on this project.

    Until we see building permits and the cash in hand I would not get to excited about it ever being built.

  2. Comment removed by moderator. Repeat.

  3. I agree a lot of IF'S but when a project like this starts that is common. If the NBA is trying to come up with an excuse to not put a team here because of gambling they are speaking out of both sides of their mouth Toronto ONT CA has a large casino and so does New Orleans. There are about 5 other states which will have legalized gambling with in the next 2 years so the gambling thing should be a moot point. This also applies to any other pro sport teams. Las Vegas needs some pro sports teams it will only enhance the total experience of visiting Las Vegas and the locals will have a good sense of being to relate to their team. The $$$ revenue will boost the economy of LV. Example New Your Giants generate $38 million a year for New York City. OH! I forgot Atlantic city is only 2 hours away from Met Life stadium. So keep your fingers crossed and lets hope all goes well.

  4. I don't think Milam is able to deliver. A person who had a used Mercedes reposessed in the last 10 years is not a city father and connected mover and shaker who can get things done, IMO.

    As a concept, however, Las Vegas needs a big league arena in order to get a big league team. And a big league team legimatizes a city and opens eyes to the potential of a city at the highest levels. Our nation is sports crazed and a city with a big league team is mentioned continually in sports media, which is consumed at a higher level than any other in America. And sports media mentions are never a judgement on the city, only on the team's performance. Las Vegas would stop being "Sin City", or all of the other negative stereotypes used to describe the valley.

    The existing arenas in Las Vegas are not good enough for the financial needs of an NBA team (Maybe NHL, but that is not a positive). This has been explained countless times, so I won't get into that. Also, other cities are looking to take the NFR, just as Las Vegas took it from Oklahoma City in 1985. The NFR was happy in OKC, but they were bought with the promise of more money to the PRCA. Just as Dallas, Houston, or Kansas City have the ability to do if they want to make the financial commitment. The PRCA has no loyalty that is not dollar driven and they hear all the snark about low class, no tipping cowboys.

    Just as you have to pay to play, you have to pay to keep playing.

  5. How much more will communist China "own" or hold title to in this country?

    They already have all of the USA major manufacturing, the casinos, the US debt, solar plants, US land, etc. -- not to mention lobbyists, congressmen, and Corporate HEADS in their back pockets (can you say Wynn, Adleson)

    Talk about a way to conquer a country without firing a shot.

    Too bad the militant USA republican hawks weren't so, Bush, Cheney, Rove, Could have saved a lot of American young lives.

    Americans look like dumbf**** compared to the Chinese.

  6. Just from a City Planning Perspective to build an Arena in the Middle of nowhere is a disaster that does nothing to maximize economic impact. Arenas, Stadiums, Entertainment Districts, etc. should be clustered near downtown to allow for the shared usage of Parking Facilities, walking environs where patron's are encouraged to come early and stay late to maximize economic impact. To have these facilities along Fixed Mass Transit Lines is another advantage. While the initial outlay is more expensive the Long Term returns are far more promising. Tax Dollars, outside of any economic development zone and exempting permanent residences, should never be used to subsidize Corporate Welfare. Las Vegas has two Viable options one is they build this type of complex - Downtown, with a Light Rail connection to the Monorail at the Sahara OR at UNLV with a Light Rail connection on Tropicana that connects the Monorail, UNLV and the Airport. It's also time to stop all road construction, as LA has proven you cannot build enough highways ever, It's time to design a comprehensive Light Rail system for Las Vegas.

  7. I am neutral about this project with one exception: that no tax dollars be used to finance it in any way. To me, an interesting aspect is the way the federal government gets in the way of private enterprise in the USA since the megalomanic took office. We saw it with the Boeing fiasco in SC; with the Keystone pipeline; and now with the BLM taking an "we'll get to it when we get to it" attitude about this business venture. In a time of dire need for job creation it seems the megalomanic and his fellow travelers are doing everything in their power to keep American's from gainful employment. Is it a ploy to keep them dependent on handouts by governmental bureaucratic drones? After all, that way the "progressives" can control the masses by threatening to take away their "goodies" if they don't play ball. As Yakov Smirnoff put it: "What a country!"

  8. Big arena we do need. Big league sports team we Do Not Need.

    We make more money from sports team activities than we would if we had a dedicated team.

    we need a larger arena to hold larger events. Concerts, rodeos and other $$ making festivities.