Last week, the Larry H Miller Group announced that it would be relocating its Salt Lake Bees baseball team to Daybreak, where it owns 1300 acres of undeveloped real estate. By having the stadium at the heart of its development, they said, they will be able to attract families and strengthen the community. What is interesting about this move is that the new stadium will be privately funded by the Larry H Miller Group and will not rely on any public funding.
This funding decision is in comparison to the $125MM Vivint Arena upgrade in 2016 (also owned by the Larry H Miller group) where 82% was funded by Larry H Miller Sports & Entertainment, leaving the remaining 18% to be funded by the public through a Tax Increment Reimbursement. It is also in contrast to the original construction of the then-Delta Center in 1991, where the Larry H Miller Group paid for 73% of the costs and the remaining 27% was funded through a public bond.
In Las Vegas, the construction of the $1.9BN Allegiant Stadium for the NFL Las Vegas Raiders cost Clark County and Metro Las Vegas $750MM. While the intention was for Hotel Room Taxes to cover the debt payments, during the COVID pandemic, Hotel Room Tax revenues decreased, and Clark County had to use $11.5MM from its reserve fund to cover the costs. This means that at least a portion of the Allegiant Stadium was funded by Clark County taxpayers who have no have no personal claim to or benefit from it.
The Larry H Miller Group’s decision to fund their stadium entirely privately is a relief for taxpayers in Salt Lake County. It means that they will not bear the burden of paying for or forgoing property taxes for this private entity, but that they can enjoy the benefits the park’s relocation will bring.