LAS VEGAS (AP) — Developers said Wednesday they're starting construction on a privately-funded $1.4 billion retractable-roof sports arena and resort backed by a former UNLV and National Basketball Association player at a former waterpark site on the Las Vegas Strip.
Although they await final approvals from several agencies, businessman and former NBA player Jackie Robinson joined project designers at the 27-acre site to say the planned 22,000-seat All Net Resort & Arena will be built.
It will open in early 2017, and it won't include a casino, they said.
The multipurpose arena with a retractable roof will be surrounded by a 44-story resort hotel and a pedestrian plaza featuring nightlife, retail and dining spots, Cuningham Group Architecture Inc. official Brett Ewing said.
Robinson has said he's talked with NBA officials about drawing a professional basketball franchise to Las Vegas, and the arena could also host open-air concerts, motor sports, fights and shows.
The Clark County Commission approved a zoning change in August, but it called for a plan to deal with possible traffic snarls at the congested Las Vegas Boulevard and Sahara Avenue crossroads.
A project official said this week that a traffic study has been conducted, and county staff members are recommending final approval.
Authorizations also are being sought from the Federal Aviation Administration and military officials for authorization to build a skyscraper not far from McCarran International Airport and Nellis Air Force Base.
The arena announcement comes almost six months after MGM Resorts International and sports entertainment giant AEG broke ground on a 20,000-seat arena visible from Interstate 15 near the New York-New York and Monte Carlo casinos.
That project is expected to cost $375 million, including a tree-lined entertainment and restaurant district dubbed "The Park" leading from the Las Vegas Strip.
Three other casinos have large arenas around town, including MGM Resorts' Mandalay Bay Events Center, which seats 12,000, the MGM Grand Garden Arena, which holds 17,000, and the Orleans Arena, which seats about 9,500.
The Thomas & Mack Center on the campus of the University of Nevada, Las Vegas hosts events such as the NCAA basketball tournament and National Finals Rodeo. It has a capacity of about 19,500 spectators.