‘A’s’ settle for Tropicana Las Vegas site


Switch of site for the Oakland A’s in Las Vegas Image: Coliseum GSVA

The Major League Baseball (MLB) team Oakland Athletics have shifted their Las Vegas stadium plans, entering an agreement with the entertainment company Bally’s Corporation to build a $1.5 billion, 30,000-seat ballpark where the Tropicana Las Vegas in Las Vegas (US) now sits.

‘LAS VEGAS REVIEW-JOURNAL’ stated that the plan would bring yet more dramatic transformation to the Strip: The Tropicana, a relic of the 1950s, would be demolished to make way for a partially retractable roof stadium on nine of the site’s 35 acres, a person with knowledge of the arrangement informed.

The Oakland Athletics are an American professional baseball team based in Oakland, California, US. The Athletics compete in Major League Baseball (MLB) as a member club of the American League West division. The team plays its home games at the Oakland Coliseum.

The 63,000-capacity Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum is a stadium in Oakland, California, US. It is part of the Oakland–Alameda County Coliseum Complex, with the adjacent Oakland Arena, near Interstate 880. The Coliseum is the home ballpark of the Oakland Athletics of Major League Baseball (MLB).

The Tropicana Las Vegas is a casino hotel on the Las Vegas Strip in Paradise, Nevada, US. It is owned and operated by Bally’s Corporation, on land leased from the Gaming and Leisure Properties. It offers 1,467 rooms, a 50,000-square-foot (4,600 m2) gaming floor and 72,000 sq ft (6,700 m2) of convention and exhibit space.

The Bally’s Corporation is a gaming, betting and interactive entertainment company headquartered in Providence, Rhode Island (US). It owns and operates 15 casinos across 10 States, a horse track in Colorado and online sports betting operations in 14 States.

The ‘A’s new venue plans included creating a mixed-use development with up to 3,000 residential units, up to 1.5 million square feet of offices and up to 270,000 square feet of retail uses. The proposed development at the Port of Oakland’s Howard Terminal included plans for a $12 billion mixed-use project built around a $1 billion, 30,000-seat waterfront ballpark.

However, with a lot of feet-dragging on the Oakland plan, the team has decided to move to Las Vegas. The team has a lease agreement to play at the aging Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum through 2024.

‘LAS VEGAS REVIEW-JOURNAL’ further stated that in moving the ballpark site East, where it would be surrounded by megaresorts, the ‘A’s’ are reducing the amount of public funding they want from the Nevada Legislature to $395 million. The Major League Baseball franchise was seeking $500 million in tax financing for a stadium on the former Wild Wild West site, at Tropicana Avenue and Dean Martin Drive, land the team last month had agreed to buy from the Station Casinos parent company Red Rock Resorts.

Station Casinos, LLC is an American hotel and casino company based in the Las Vegas suburb of Summerlin South, Nevada, and founded by Frank Fertitta Jr. Station Casinos, along with Affinity Gaming, Boyd Gaming and Golden Entertainment, dominate the locals casino market in Las Vegas.

The Red Rock Resort is a hotel and casino in Summerlin South, Nevada, located in the Las Vegas Valley. It is owned and operated by Station Casinos.

The deal includes Bally’s Corporation having an option to construct a hotel-casino on the remaining acreage, the source indicated.

The Bally’s Corporation company President George Papanier didn’t make it clear if talks between the ‘A’s’ and Bally have remained ongoing.

Put in Papanier, “The ‘A’s’ story is going to play itself out. The way we view the property (Tropicana) is we feel we have low hanging fruit that we can execute and that’s going to allow this property to pay for itself.”

Papanier did mention that they were still interested in potential redevelopment on the site – including adding long-term development partners – when the right deal presented itself, which apparently occurred later that day – “We sit on a 35-acre site and we view it as one of the busiest four corners of the Las Vegas Strip. So, there’s a lot of interest in potential outside investment. We’re a disciplined company and again, we have a long-term view on this investment. We’re going to be patient about looking for the right project, with the appropriate terms.”

The ‘A’s’ were down to three sites for a potential Las Vegas ballpark: The Tropicana, the Las Vegas Festival Grounds site and the Rio. Then, last month, ‘A’s’ President Dave Kaval announced the organization had entered a binding agreement for the Wild Wild West site.

Tentative plans still call for the ‘A’s’ to break ground on a Southern Nevada ballpark next year and open play there in 2027, according to the source. That opening date could be pushed to 2028 because of the need to demolish the Tropicana.

The Tropicana is located at its namesake street and Las Vegas Boulevard, where 90,000 vehicles pass daily, according to Bally’s Corporation. There are over 25,000 hotel rooms within walking distance of the property.

The details of the stadium funding legislation are still being worked out for the Tropicana site, but they are expected to be similar to the plans that were being worked on for the Wild Wild West site, the source indicated.

The public funding the ‘A’s’ were seeking for the Wild Wild West site would have been generated by a special tax district around the planned ballpark, economist Jeremy Aguero of Applied Analysis, who is working with the ‘A’s’ on the funding plan, said last month.

The tax district would be created only if the ‘A’s’ ended up constructing a stadium at that site. The site would generate taxes including sales, property, live entertainment, and modified business levies.

Bonds would be issued to help finance a Las Vegas ballpark, then paid back over a period of 30 years by the taxes generated at the ballpark. Tied to that, the ‘A’s’ would be required to sign a 30-year non-relocation agreement as part of any public financing deal.

The ‘A’s’ would need a favorable vote by the Democrat-controlled Legislature, then get the signature of the Republican Governor of Nevada, Joe Lombardo. With 28 days left in this year’s session, time is running out.

Spokeswoman Elizabeth Ray said recently that Lombardo was in the process of working on a package for the ‘A’s’.

Lombardo’s statement via Ray recently stated, “It is our preference to see this happen before the Legislature adjourns. But we will consider different options if that are not possible.”

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