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Oakland Raiders seal land deal for Vegas stadium

NFL American football franchise the Oakland Raiders have cleared another major hurdle for their move to Las Vegas with the acquisition of a package of land on which to build their proposed $1.9bn (€1.78bn) stadium in the city.

The Raiders have paid $77.5m for the plot of 62 acres located west of the Mandalay Bay resort. Michael Parks, first vice-president of commercial real estate firm CBRE, who brokered the deal for the Raiders, said the team chose the site due to its easy accessibility and its view of the Las Vegas Strip from what will be the north end of the stadium.

“The site selection was a very public process, and there was a lot of speculation and media reports on where the stadium would go,” Parks told the Las Vegas Review-Journal newspaper. “This site wasn’t one of those originally mentioned. The Raiders were looking for a site in close proximity to the east side of Interstate 15. Through many months of reaching out to the Raiders directly and making sure they were aware this site was available, they decided this was their preferred site.”

The Raiders’ relocation to Las Vegas was approved by NFL franchise owners in March. The Raiders are set to play at least the next two seasons in Oakland, and possibly the 2019 campaign, before kicking off in Vegas no later than the 2020 season. Thirty-one of the 32 team owners voted in favour of the move from Oakland, with the owners of the Miami Dolphins being the only ones to vote against.

Earlier in the month, Bank of America agreed to step in to fill a financial black hole that had been created in the project to develop a new stadium in the Nevada city. Bank of America will provide the funding that was set to be offered by Sheldon Adelson, chairman of the Las Vegas Sands Corporation.

Bank of America’s $650m stake in the 65,000-seat facility will be a loan and will not include an equity stake in the team or the stadium. In October, the Raiders had a $1.9bn funding package for the new stadium approved by the Nevada state legislature. The Raiders had initially planned to put $500m towards the project, with $750m to come from increases in hotel room taxes in Clark County.

Jeremy Aguero, a principal for Las Vegas-based Applied Analysis, the Las Vegas Stadium Authority’s hired staff, told the Review-Journal that there are three key tasks to complete before a groundbreaking can take place for the new stadium.

Aguero said two of the approvals involve Clark County, the completion of a High-Impact Project investigation and the signing of a county development agreement, which must be agreed by the seven-member County Commission.