HENDERSON, Nev. (KLAS) — Henderson’s city council approved a proposed hockey arena for minor league hockey Tuesday afternoon. Opponents of the arena hoped to delay the vote and get the issue to go before the voters in the November ballot.
The council voted 4 – 1 to approve the $80 million project that will be partially funded by the Vegas Golden Knights.
The project agreement with SK Arena, LLC (SK Arena), an affiliate of the Vegas Golden Knights is to advance the design and construction of an indoor event venue to replace the Henderson Pavilion.
The reimagination of the Henderson Pavilion into a year-round venue establishes a home for Henderson’s American Hockey League (AHL) team, the Henderson Symphony Orchestra that has been a cultural cornerstone of the community for 30 years, and dozens of educational, cultural, and sporting events including graduations, festivals, concerts and more.
Clark County Commissioners also heard a presentation on the County budget for the fiscal year 2021 at the meeting scheduled for today, county financial managers predicted a $289 million loss in revenue due to COVID-19. The budget was approved.
Project costs of $80 million, with up to an additional $4 million for contingencies, will be shared equally by the City of Henderson and SK Arena through a public-private partnership. The City will continue to own the land and the building, while SK Arena will lease the facility for $150,000 per year for the 20-year duration of the agreement with the option for two five-year extensions.
SK Arena will operate and maintain the facility and oversee its programming, bringing a variety of first-class sporting, musical and cultural events to the community, including 34 AHL hockey games for Henderson’s hometown team.
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The city of Henderson wants to build the 6,000-seat ice arena on the site of the Henderson Pavilion.
The Golden Knights are putting up $40 million for the project and the other $40 million would come from Henderson taxpayers.
“Today is an incredibly proud day for the Vegas Golden Knights organization and our recently acquired American Hockey League franchise,” said Kerry Bubolz, President, Vegas Golden Knights.
“The new event center will be where residents can enjoy all the excitement of AHL hockey in addition to concerts, festivals and 37 community benefit event dates throughout the calendar year.”
Opponents argued the arena should go before voters since taxpayer money is involved. Opponents have also raised concerns about the arena being so close to residential neighborhoods. Opponents say the public did not have a appropriate chance to weigh in on the project due to COVID-19 restrictions.
“You could relocate that arena out in west Henderson by the Raiders facility closer to the M Resort with minimal impact to the community or the infrastructure,” said John Dalrymple, Henderson Coalition for Responsible Government.
According to Rob Herr, Assistant City Manager, Chief Infrastructure Officer, City of Henderson, the next step is to select a design and architectural firm as well as a general contractor. The selection of a design-build team is expected to be made this summer.
Construction on the venue and surrounding improvement is expected to begin in fall 2020 with completion before the end of 2021.
Results of a survey conducted in March and April by Discovery Nevada, an independent market research firm and a partnership of Applied Analysis and Discovery Research Group, found that:
- 71 percent of Henderson residents believe the project, as proposed, would be good for Henderson
- 71 percent thought a minor league hockey team would be good for the City
- 69 percent of respondents either “strongly support” or “somewhat support” the redevelopment of the Henderson Pavilion into an enclosed, 6,000-seat entertainment venue
According to Richard Derrick, City Manager and CEO, City of Henderson, the proposed Henderson Event Center is similar in size to the existing Pavilion and will not impede access to other nearby community amenities, including the Paseo Verde Library, the Henderson Multigenerational Center and the nearby West Henderson Police Station.
“The City is committed to a design that is compatible with the area that includes more onsite parking, expedited traffic improvements in the area, outdoor enhancements, and the addition of onsite amenities for community benefit,” said Derrick.