Las Vegas’ $5 Billion All Net Arena Dream Denied Permits

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The grand vision for Las Vegas’ $5 billion All Net Arena project has crashed into the harsh wall of reality. Conceived in 2013, this ambitious venture promised to transform a 26-acre site into a vibrant complex featuring a 22,000-seat basketball arena, a non-gaming hotel, a convention center, a movie theater, and a grocery store—an adventurous project entirely dependent on the robust funding that turned out to be a mirage.

On a decisive Tuesday, the Clark County Zoning Commission rendered a unanimous verdict, refusing to grant yet another lease on life to this embattled project by denying extension requests for its permits with a 7-0 vote.

The project’s longstanding champion, Commissioner Tick Segerblom, echoed the sentiments of worn patience and exasperation. “Time and time again, we’ve asked, ‘Just one more year, or two years, let’s get this done, we’ll get it done,” he remarked. The stark truth, as Segerblom lamented, was that despite the global chase for financial backing, the necessary funds failed to materialize. The commission’s battered hopes concluded with a motion that Segerblom regretfully submitted—a denial tinged with disappointment.

Project managers, besieged by skepticism, repeated familiar assurances of a $5 billion financial commitment during a comprehensive presentation that stretched nearly an hour. These assurances, however, crumbled without the crucial evidence of financial documentation.

The All Net Arena—a name that resonated with ambition—was intended to rise on the iconic Strip, nestled between the Sahara and Fontainebleau, on the grounds that once played host to the legendary Wet N’ Wild water park. The venture’s architect, none other than NBA and UNLV basketball star Jackie Robinson, envisioned a multi-faceted destination with two luxury hotel towers, a retractable roof on the arena, and diverse amenities that promised year-round attraction.

Yet, the development that was declared as breaking ground a decade prior remained stagnant, its only signs of life being the superficial movement of dirt, a static array of construction vehicles, and a sequence of press conferences that could not herald the start of the actual construction. Even a strategic gesture in 2017 by Robinson, placing a fleet of trucks on the site to simulate the commencement of work, failed to evolve into tangible progress.

The past years have seen a carousel of supposed financiers—Credit Suisse, the Bank of Qatar, and Korean backers, among others—each heralded as the project’s savior. Declarations of secured funding were aplenty, yet none bore fruit.

The latest twist in this saga came with the revelation of a new financier, the Wyoming-based Clearwater Perpetual Master Trust, which Robinson claimed in 2022 had extended a $5 billion BELOC line of credit.

But the sand in the hourglass was nearly spent. The Clark County Commission’s patience wore thin as their “final” extension on the land use permit expired without the advent of construction, a mandate that construction was to begin by September 6—a mandate unmet.

The All Net project’s future is now as barren as the lot it was to occupy. For Jackie Robinson to resurrect this dream, he faces the daunting prospect of starting anew, navigating the costly labyrinth of permits and approvals once more.

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