Las Vegas Raiders Stadium Targets Bali Hai Golf Club for 14,000-Space Parking Lot, But Impediments Abound

Posted on: January 4, 2018, 06:00h. 

Last updated on: January 4, 2018, 04:17h.

The new Las Vegas Raiders stadium, being built on 62 acres of land west of the Strip between Hacienda Avenue and Russell Road, has been fully cleared for construction, but the $1.9 billion project still needs to satisfy a 14,000-space parking lot requirement.

Raiders stadium parking Bali Hai
The future home of the Raiders stadium is seen in the upper mid-left of picture. Its main tailgating hub could become what is today the Bali Hai Golf Club. (Image: Google Maps)

Clark County signed off on the stadium with the understanding that the Raiders would buy or lease nearby acreage to serve as a parking and tailgating center when the team begins playing in Sin City in 2020. Bali Hai, a 155-acre golf course east of the I-15 Las Vegas Freeway just south of Russell Road, has emerged as the preferred location.

Unusual Complications

But a host of issues complicate its acquisition. ” [While] it would be an ideal site, it’s a lot more complicated than some people understand,” Clark County Commissioner Steve Sisolak told the Las Vegas Sun this week.

One serious hurdle lies in the fact that convicted sports gambler Billy Walters controls the course and its lease. Walters, who was found guilty of insider trading last year and is currently serving five years in a Pensacola, Florida federal prison, must abstain from being involved in Bali Hai’s negotiations.

Tangled Web

The more complicated hurdle in the Raiders stadium buying Bali Hai and paving the golf course isn’t necessarily Billy Walters, but a pending lawsuit brought by the federal government. Last August, Clark County received a letter from the US Department of Justice, demanding $75.5 million in underpaid past and future rent.

The land Bali Hai sits on is actually owned by Clark County, which acquired it from the US Bureau of Land Management (BLM) in 1998. Under the BLM terms, Clark County is to share a certain percentage of the revenue generated on the property with the federal government.

In 2000, Clark County reached a 99-year lease agreement with Walters to develop the vacant land into a golf course. But the now-convicted felon claimed for years that the course never turned a profit. He therefore paid no rent to Clark County, which in turn shared no revenue with the BLM.

In 2011, Clark County and Walters reached a new arrangement that required a $100,000 annual lease payment for the 155 acres. The BLM received $85,000 each of the past six years, while the County took just $15,000 per year.

In its letter, the DOJ said the fair market value of the acreage far exceeds the $100,000 deal Walters had been paying. The government says it should have received $12.5 million to date, and wants to be compensated for the course of the 99-year lease, which it determined to be $75.5 million.

The 62 acres the Raiders stadium will sit on was purchased last May for $77.5 million.