Analysts: Stadium site sale part of financial boon for Red Rock
While the Oakland A’s make plans for a $1.5 billion baseball stadium, Red Rock Resorts is counting its money.
It’s unclear how much the A’s may be paying the locals casino operator for 49 acres off Tropicana Avenue and Dean Martin Drive for the Major League Baseball team’s 35,000-seat retractable roof ballpark. The site, just west of Interstate 15 and the Strip, will also include an entertainment district surrounding the stadium with restaurants, shops and other attractions.
JMP Securities gaming analyst Jordan Bender, in a research note last week following the A’s announcement, suggested the sale price was as much as $150 million. He used comparisons from recent Strip real estate transactions to come up with a value.
He noted that Houston billionaire Tilman Fertitta paid $270 million — or $44 million an acre — to acquire 6 acres “in a prime position” on the Strip last year. Meanwhile, Red Rock paid $176 million — or $1.4 million per acre — to purchase 126 acres on the southwest corner of Las Vegas Boulevard and Cactus Avenue for a future casino-resort complex.
A day after the announcement, Red Rock’s stock price got as high as $48.23, 45 cents short of its 52-week high, on the Nasdaq. Bender suggested the price increase implied the investment community viewed the land sale as valued at $300 million.
By Friday, shares closed at $47.30 but fell to $46.59 on Monday.
The land sale, while termed a binding agreement by the team, is not finalized. It hinges on Nevada legislative approval of a $500 million tax package, which would allow sales and other taxes associated with the stadium and entertainment district to pay off public bonds used for the stadium construction through transferable tax credits.
On Saturday, the Southern Nevada Building Trades and the A’s announced a Project Labor Agreement for the stadium’s construction, which they said would create 10,000 jobs starting in 2024. The stadium would open in 2027.
For now, Red Rock executives, through company spokesman Michael Britt, are keeping mum about the land sale. As a public company, Red Rock will have to disclose the sale price once the transaction is finalized. The A’s have the option to acquire an additional 8 acres of the site from Red Rock.
Red Rock is keeping as much as 50 acres of the nearly 100-acre parcel, which included the since-demolished Wild Wild West Casino and had been considered for Viva, a Strip resort-sized development in the late 2000s. The recession and the company’s subsequent bankruptcy reorganization in 2009, halted that project.
The casino operator will report its first-quarter earnings May 4 and analysts are expected to question company executives about the land sale to the A’s and any plans Red Rock has for the remaining acreage.
CBRE Equity Research gaming analyst John DeCree said Red Rock not only benefits from the sale proceeds, but also economically from the stadium development on the adjacent land.
“While Red Rock’s plans with the remaining acreage is unclear, it’s certainly a unique value creation event for the company,” DeCree told investors.
Red Rock owns more than 522 acres in Southern Nevada for future developments across the Las Vegas Valley, including a 56-acre site on Durango Drive and the 215 Beltway where the company is building the $750 million Durango Station, which will open later this year. Red Rock’s expected next development will take place on 45 acres the company owns in the Inspirada development in Henderson. Last year, Red Rock paid $55 million for a 67-acre parcel at Losee Road and the 215 Beltway for a hotel-casino.
The company has roughly 120 acres for sale, including the sites of the former Texas Station and Fiesta Rancho in North Las Vegas. A 35-acre site in Henderson that housed the since-demolished Fiesta Henderson, was sold for $33 million to the City of Henderson, which plans to use it for a youth athletic complex.
Bender said Red Rock, because of its land holdings, “has a unique advantage to control growth throughout the Las Vegas Valley, allowing management to act on any project when needed.”
He said the company’s land all have gaming entitlements, “meaning it controls any new casino being built and can take advantage of future community expansion.”
He suggested any additional land Red Rock sells would be valued at $1 million per acre.
Both Bender and DeCree had positive views on the effect another professional sports stadium would have on Strip resort operators, should the A’s venue join Allegiant Stadium and T-Mobile Arena.
“The presence of another major stadium and professional sports team in close proximity to the Strip will certainly help draw additional tourists and fill rooms, though we suspect the magnitude of impact would be less than that of the Raiders and Allegiant Stadium,” DeCree told investors. “Initial estimates indicate about 70 percent of the A’s attendance would be locals.”
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