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Betting on Las Vegas, A New Perspective

Tim Leiweke said the new proposed NBA arena will not ask for public funding.

Courtesy of Las Vegas Global Economic Alliance

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On Thursday, the Las Vegas Global Economic Alliance (LVGEA), one of the eight designated Regional Development Authorities in Nevada by the Governor's Office of Economic Development, hosted its 2023 Perspective event at the M Resort. Over 850 people attended this annual event to learn about the upcoming economic development initiatives that will impact Southern Nevada and where do we stand in the current economy. Tina Quigley, President & CEO of LVGEA, set the stage of the program, noting it is time for the community views itself through a new perspective.

Yes, we have water.

Oftentimes, we see headlines such as “Las Vegas is running out of water" on press. But in fact, Las Vegas has the most secure long term water plan in the southwest region. The Southern Nevada Water Authority (SNWA) publishes a 50-year water conservation and management plan annually to ensure our community can achieve sustainable growth.

Nevada uses 1.8% of the total water allocation from the Colorado River. Forty percent of the water used in Southern Nevada gets recycled back to Lake Mead. Sixty percent of the water used cannot be recycled, and these wasted water is being used in outdoor use (landscaping, golf courses, etc.), septic systems, and evaporative cooling.

We reduced our water consumption per capita by 47% between 2002 and 2020, even though our population increased by 780,000 residents during that time. Las Vegas is a global leader in water conservation. To learn more about Southern Nevada's water infrastructure, please visit LVGEA's website HERE and SNWA's website HERE.

Credit: Las Vegas Global Economic Alliance

Our CTE (Career Technical Education) and Charter Schools Are Growing

In Nevada, magnet and charter schools are part of the public school system. The greater Las Vegas area has around 42 magnet schools and CTAs and 70 public charter schools. Magnet and charter schools are growing in Southern Nevada.

The Nevada legislature passed the largest education budget in state history. The $12 billion K-12 education budget represents a $2 billion increase compared to the last education budget. The bill aims to increase per pupil funding to $13,368 by 2025 in Nevada. The 2023 national average is $15,047 per pupil.

According to the Nevada State Education Association, "Nevada has experienced a supercharged growth in charter schools, and an accompanying growth in the charter school and charter authority budget. In FY19, 43,845 students were enrolled in charter schools. The projected enrollment for next fiscal year is 64,336. This is an increase of over 20K students or 46% in just 5 years. Since the passage of the charter school growth management program in 2021, charter schools have grown more than 20%."

Las Vegas is a Leading City in Sustainability and Resilience

Pilar Harris, senior director of CSR and government relations for Las Vegas Grand Prix, gave insight on the sustainability measures the organization is implementing for the race in November. From mechanical cooling towers, up-cycled concrete during paddock construction, testing new generator technologies, and working with local organizations to reduce food waste, F1 is committed to mitigate environmental impacts as it moves into the local Vegas market for the coming years.

“When we think about sustainability, for us it’s about resilience,” Harris said. “The question is not just how do we create an incredible live event, but how do we build a business that can last as our world and climate continue to change? I like to describe F1 as a space program on wheels. We spend a lot of time, energy, and capital investing in the kinds of innovative technology that ultimately make their way into our everyday lives.”

New Proposed NBA Arena Will Not Ask for Public Funding

Tim Leiweke, chairman & CEO of Oak View Group, provided more information on the proposed $10 billion resort and arena project on Las Vegas Boulevard and Warm Spring Rd., across the street from the South Premium Outlet Mall. This privately funded development project will not ask for public funding.

Leiweke showed a video of the company’s development of Climate Pledge Arena in Seattle, the world’s first certified zero carbon arena, as an example of how his company can foster a sustainable built environment in Las Vegas with advanced technological innovation.

Right: Tina Quigley; Left: Tim Leiweke (Photo credit: Vegas Business Digest)

“Sustainability is critical to us,” Leiweke said. “In Seattle, we decided to build the first carbon neutral arena ever built. We also created a new program called GOAL, that is essentially an operational version of LEED. Hundreds of live entertainment venues are all being judged on an annual basis. What did we do to operate our stadiums, arenas, and theaters sustainably this year, how was it better than last year, and here are our grades to prove we’re committed to the planet, we are committed to sustainability, and we are committed to our grandkids.”

Sports and Entertainment: F1, Super Bowl, and A's

During the state's 35th Special Session, Nevada's state assembly and senate passed SB1 to provide $380 million in public funding for the A's to build a $1.5 billion baseball stadium on the Las Vegas Strip. Governor Joe Lombardo signed the bill into law yesterday.

A rendering of the A's proposed ballpark (Courtesy Oakland A's)

Nevada Assembly Speaker Steve Yeager published the following on his Twitter, "After favorable amendments in both the Senate & the Assembly, 38 of 63 legislators voted for it. And the Governor signed it. While I can't speak for anyone else, I voted yes because I believe the investment is worth the risk to further solidify Nevada's economic future."

The Formula 1 Las Vegas Grand Prix has officially announced its race dates November 16-18, 2023. The 14-turn Las Vegas race circuit is 3.8 miles (6.12km), the second longest street track in F1, behind the Jeddah Corniche Circuit, and the third longest overall. Top speeds expected to hit around 212mph (342km/h). The race will run 50-laps. In May 2022, Liberty Media, owner of F1, entered an agreement to acquire 39 acres site east of the Las Vegas Strip for $240 million to build its office complex. The project is under construction an excepted to open on time for the grand prix in November.

Super Bowl LVIII will take place at the Allegiant Stadium in Las Vegas on February 11, 2024. This marks the first time Las Vegas and the state of Nevada will welcome the Super Bowl.

Looking Forward - Betting on Las Vegas

Nevada leads the nation in employment growth at 4.1%. By 2030, Southern Nevada is estimated to have 2.7 million people in population. About 135 new residents move to Southern Nevada per day.

According to moveBuddha’s By Area Migration report, Las Vegas was the #2 destination for those departing the Bay Area in 2022. The other top destinations were: Austin, TX (#1),  Reno, NV (#3), Miami, FL (#4), and Orlando, FL (#5).

F1’s Las Vegas Grand Prix in November is estimated to create $1.3 billion in total economic impact in Southern Nevada. The Super Bowl in February 2024 is estimated to create $1.1 billion in gross and $800 million in net economic impact in Southern Nevada. The A’s baseball stadium is estimated to create $2.1 billion in economic output during construction phrase of the project and 8,010 in employment (both full-time and part-time employees) in its annual operation for the first 30 years.

At the end, I would like to express my gratitude to what Tim Leiweke said about betting on Las Vegas. Our city is built by entrepreneurs, dreamers, and visionaries. From a small casino town in the 1950s to the hospitality and entertainment capital of the world today, our city keeps evolving, adapting, and reinventing itself.

I consider 1966 (opening of Caesars Palace) to 2008 (opening of Encore) the last era that the Las Vegas Strip had real, bold entrepreneurs before corporations and spreadsheets took over.

It is always refreshing to hear from an entrepreneur who has the vision to push Las Vegas to the next level. Whether or not his Las Vegas project come to fruition, I think everybody at the event on Thursday learned something from his speech.

"You need to build an arena that is on the cutting edge of premium suits, hospitality, merchandise, and experience. We have to build something that is extraordinary. But when you build something that is extraordinary if you knew 50 million people from around the world want to come and recognize it as the greatest arena ever built… that’s what James Dolan is doing with the Sphere. It’s going to be phenomenal for the residencies and the films that he is going to make. That’s the kind of bet - big, bold - private entrepreneurs make on a place like Las Vegas. And that’s the bet we are going to make," Leiweke said.