Jackie Robinson Jr’s plan to build a 23,000-seat sports and entertainment arena and luxury hotel on the Las Vegas Strip has gone through numerous ups and downs in the nine years since it was proposed.
But this week the project got a bit of good news when the Clark County Commission voted 4-3 to extend approvals for the proposal.
The approval comes about a month after Robinson unveiled a new funding package for the $4.9 billion project that he expects to be able to finish by the end of 2025.
Robinson’s 27 acre dream for the north side of the Strip is expected to feature an arena with a retractable roof, two luxury hotel towers, a convention center, movie theater and more.
Robinson, a former NBA player, has updated his funding packages numerous times over the years, the Las Vegas Review-Journal reported. Robinson has previously named Credit Suisse as a lender, and in 2018 said he had a $3 billion loan agreement with the International Bank of Qatar.
Concerns About Funding
The LVRJ reports that there is plenty of skepticism about Robinson’s funding despite the Commission’s ruling.
“The applicant has come in here with funding sources that are different every single time,” Commissioner Justin Jones said, according to the paper, while adding that previously, it was “magic money from the Middle East.”
But Robinson’s team say they have made progress on the site, including having cleaned the property, submitted required traffic and drainage studies, finished on-site demolition work and started construction of temporary power facilities.
“We are working on the site, we’re developing the site, we’re ready to finish what we have started. We sincerely believe that our extensions of time to commence construction are clearly warranted,” land-use attorney with law firm Kaempfer Crowell, Chris Kaempfer told the Commission.
Robinson’s goal is to bring an NBA team to Las Vegas to occupy his arena and NBA commissioner Adam Silver has recently said that Las Vegas is among the markets that the NBA will consider the next time it expands. And there seems to be many suitors who want to own a team in Las Vegas.
Las Vegas Strip Arena Faces Deadline
Robinson’s project on 27 acres between the Sahara Las Vegas and Fontainebleau Las Vegas has had several false starts since he first revealed his plans in December 2013 to build a $1.3 billion project, originally set to open in late 2016. Despite Clark County commissioners approving the project in summer 2014 and Robinson breaking ground in the fall of that year, nothing would happen on the site for three years.
Clark County approved expansion plans in 2017, but no work continued on the site. At an October 2020 hearing, commissioners urged Robinson to “fish or cut bait” on the project, the Las Vegas Review-Journal reported, and also began setting deadlines to encourage the developer to get moving on the project. By April 2021, required project agreements were approved.
In February 2022, the Review-Journal reported that Active Capital Holdings’ Executive Trustee Arthur “AJ” Lewis confirmed the company would provide a total of $4.7 billion with the deal projected to close in early March. Robinson, the report said, wants to build the All Net Resort & Arena.