MGM, AEG set groundbreaking for new arena

After many months of speculation, MGM Resorts International and entertainment giant AEG announced Tuesday that construction crews will break ground on a new 20,000-seat arena next April.

mgm-arena3

Partners AEG and MGM Resorts International hope to open a new arena in Las Vegas in 2016. (Source: AEG/MGM Resorts Int’l)

The companies also released the first renderings of the $350 million venue, including one that shows how the arena will look to drivers passing by on Interstate 15.

You can view all of the photos in a story I posted to FOX5Vegas.com. I’m still amazed that there’s room to build an arena of that size on that space without running into the highway.

But it looks like it’s going to happen, and that’s just part of a brand new look for the space between the New York-New York and Monte Carlo resorts.

MGM has already said it will make the arena the centerpiece of a new $100 million entertainment district — a combination of retail and restaurants, along with a public park.

In many ways what is happening on the site mirrors rival Caesars Entertainment’s Linq district and High Roller observation wheel, which are currently under construction further north on the Strip.

With the days of mega-resort construction long gone, casino companies have embraced the idea of redeveloping aging properties, and they see value in expanding entertainment and shopping options instead of the casino floor.

The arena’s scheduled arrival in spring 2016 will also likely bring speculation of a professional sports franchise in Las Vegas.

A news release from MGM and AEG stated that the project is designed to “immediately” host NBA and NHL teams, although there are currently no plans to move a team from either league to southern Nevada.

Still, that won’t keep sports fans from dreaming.

As long as we’re speculating, I know I’m not the only person who sees the arena as a possible venue for a political convention, perhaps the 2016 Republican National Convention that some of Nevada’s top GOP reps are intent on bringing to Las Vegas?

A shiny new state-of-the-art (privately-funded!) arena could be just the thing to edge out the competition.

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