- Associated Press - Wednesday, May 14, 2014

LAS VEGAS (AP) - A company that has been trying for years to bring an arena to downtown Las Vegas announced plans to try to attract Major League Soccer to a city that currently has no professional teams of its own.

Developers with Baltimore-based Cordish Companies said Wednesday that they were partnering on a stadium proposal with Findlay Sports and Entertainment, an entity affiliated with the Henderson-based Findlay Automotive, which has car dealerships in four states.

“We fell in love with the concept,” said Mayor Carolyn Goodman, who had long supported the idea of an enclosed downtown arena and a possible basketball team but says a soccer franchise would be more affordable for fans. “If we had a soccer stadium, almost everyone could come and enjoy the sport.”

A proposed, 24,000-seat arena would be located in the Symphony Park district, near the Smith Center for the Performing Arts.

Cordish and Findlay would secure a commitment from a team before construction would begin, according to the proposed terms. Cordish and Findlay would buy the franchise, while the City of Las Vegas would own the stadium and lease it to the companies.

The announcement comes two weeks after MGM Resorts and AEG Entertainment broke ground on a $375 million, privately funded arena on the Las Vegas Strip. No deals with professional sports teams have been announced, although company officials said the venue will make the city a strong candidate for a franchise.

Cordish has been drafting plans for years for a downtown arena, but its proposal to use public financing that could include a tax on downtown businesses has drawn criticism from neighbors. The company, which has an exclusive agreement with the city, had been told it needed to finish feasibility studies by the end of the month or the two parties would part ways.

The city is expected to take up the matter at a meeting May 21, and it may decide to extend the partnership under new terms. If the agreement is approved, both sides would have until Sept. 1 to create a financing and development plan and until Dec. 1 to finalize the deal for the stadium.



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