Like it or not, the Raiders are moving to Las Vegas. They have broken ground and are deep into the process of building the shiny new $1.8 billion, 65,000 seat mega stadium that will house the Raiders for years to come. The target goal is to have the stadium ready for the 2020 season, something that has been considered extremely ambitious compared to most large scale building construction projects.
However, this is Vegas we are talking about people! Vegas is not the ordinary, it is the extraordinary. Everything is done bigger and brighter in Vegas, including the rate of which they can finish massive construction projects. Their aptitude is of course thanks to the numerous monstrous casino projects that they have completed over the years which is something a place like Minnesota can not lay the same claim to.
So how far are they in completing the stadium in Vegas? Don Webb, CEO of StadCo, who are in charge of building the new stadium, says they are about 15 percent completed on the project already, and in even better news they have gotten that far without coming across any unexpected hurdles. It puts them right on schedule for their plan of having the stadium done in under 3 years.
That is pretty surprising out in the desert where it’s normal to have to expect the unexpected difficulties. There will be plenty more opportunities to run a muck the rest of the way, but getting through the ground breaking without issue is a bit shocking.
“We’re 15 percent through the construction, so there’s 85 percent of the potential for surprises still lingering,” Webb also said to the Journal. “But coming up out of the ground, when you haven’t had any serious, unexpected problems it is somewhat unusual. You’re excavating a million cubic yards of earth, you know there are subsurface conditions that others have experienced and hear they can be somewhat surprising, but we really didn’t have any.”
That is incredibly lucky for the Raiders and their goal of being ready for the 2020 season. To get a better persepective of how fast the Vegas stadium is being built you can look at how long it took to build US Bank Stadium in Minnesota. They broke ground December 3rd, 2013 and the stadium opened July 22nd, 2017.
That is a span of just over 3 and a half years time, the Raiders are hoping to have their stadium done for the 2020 season which would clock them in at completion in less than 3 years. Shaving an entire year off of the construction time is bold, but they don’t have to deal with the fierce winters that Minnesota had to contend with.
“I always anticipated the workforce would be plentiful, experienced and motivated,” Don Webb, CEO of StadCo who is in charge of building the new stadium, told the Las Vegas-Review Journal.“You’ve heard me talk before about why we should be able to do even more work in the same time period that was performed in Minneapolis (at U.S. Bank Stadium) because the experienced contracting pool and labor pool and civic support we have in Las Vegas, coupled with the climate, allows us to do four years’ worth of work in three years and that’s pretty much held true.”
When that season does finally get here they will need something else to work out for them as well, they will need to have a stadium with ample parking. If there is one staple among Raider Nation, it is that they love to tailgate and it is a necessary way of life for the fans of the Silver and Black.
Unfortunately, currently there still isn’t a finalized plan to make that possible in Vegas. It’s one of the biggest fears of the move for Raiders fans that are planning on remaining fans after the relocation. Though no new information is being released on the issue until the September deadline they have in their conditional use permit for having a parking plan for at least 16,250 vehicles, Webb teased that they have something in the works that will satisfy their needs.
“There’s no reason for us to discuss it publicly prior to the September deadline by which we have to demonstrate that we’ve met the conditions under our conditional use permit,” Webb said in a separate article with the Las Vegas-Review Journal. “It’s really a zoning matter. We’re confident from a marketing stadium operation perspective that we’re fine. …We’re still engaged in negotiating on some of the property rights so I’d rather not be too public about this.”
They better work out something, because it’s an absolute must that Raiders fans have an area to cook up the party before the games begin. Anybody who has been to a Raiders game both home and away know how Raider Nation gets down. Their fans come out early decked out from head to toe in Raiders outfits with their grills and their tents, ready to have a great time celebrating their team.
It won’t feel right if their own stadium is complete and they don’t have a place for the fans to gather the way they always have. They already are 15% of the way to completing the stadium and it promises to be a modern marvel worthy of the Raiders name even if it should have been built in Oakland. In order for it to fulfill that promise they need the parking spaces to do it. Let’s hope that finalizing the parking plan is not what ends up being the big surprise in the ground breaking that Don Webb and StadCo didn’t find while excavating the 63 acres they need for the stadium itself.