A’s revisit other Vegas stadium sites as legislative process lags
Three weeks after confirming they had a “binding agreement” on a 49-acre site west of the Strip for a $1.5 billion baseball stadium, the Oakland A’s have reached out to owners of Southern Nevada sites the team previously considered as a potential backup plan should the team fail to secure legislative support for a $500 million tax package, property representatives told The Nevada Independent.
Sources connected to the A’s and close to the negotiations said Monday that the A’s are still focused on acquiring the former Wild West Casino site bordered by Tropicana Avenue and Dean Martin Drive from Red Rock Resorts for an undisclosed price for the 35,000-seat retractable roof stadium and a surrounding entertainment district.
However, they also confirmed the A’s reached back out to ownership of the Rio Hotel & Casino, which offered the team 22 acres of the resort’s 90-acre site, for just $1. The A’s had rejected the deal that could have greatly reduced some of the costs associated with the land acquisition because the team was concerned about traffic access.
With no concrete proposal and touch-and-go negotiations ongoing, sources spoke to The Nevada Independent on the condition of anonymity. An A’s spokeswoman declined to comment on the record.
The team is looking to state lawmakers for a $500 million package involving tax credits and the creation of a special taxation district to help fund stadium construction. However, proposed legislation has yet to be filed with state lawmakers in Carson City. Assembly Speaker Steve Yeager (D-Las Vegas) told The Nevada Independent last week the team was running out of time to get legislative approval for the tax package.
Senate Majority Leader Nicole Cannizzaro (D-Las Vegas) echoed that sentiment in a Thursday interview with The Nevada Independent.
“We haven't gotten anything concrete yet of exactly what it is that they're looking for, or what they would like us to take a look at,” Cannizzaro said. “So it's tough to have conversations about what exactly we may or may not do, and time here is finite.”
“We only have a few more weeks left, so if there's going to be a deal, it's got to come very soon,” she added.
On Monday, sources indicated bill language would likely be available by the end of this week, but plans are fluid and no emergency bill draft request has yet been filed. The discussion around the bill’s latest iteration was centered on creating an “incentive program” where tax dollars created by the stadium and its surrounding amenities would be directed into a fund to pay off $500 million in public bonds that would be issued by Clark County.
The team also has returned its attention to the 34-acre Tropicana Las Vegas, which was revealed as an early target for the team last year. The site at the corner of the Strip and Tropicana Boulevard houses the aging 1,500-room Rat Pack-era casino-hotel.
The land is owned by real estate investment trust Gaming and Leisure Properties and the operations of the Tropicana are managed through a lease agreement by Bally’s Corp., which is looking to remodel the Tropicana. Company executives have said it wasn’t a focus until 2024.
A real estate source said the Tropicana would present a potentially complicated process because agreements would need to be reached with GLPI and Bally’s. Representatives for the companies could not be reached on Monday.
One location that is off the table is the 37-acre Las Vegas Festival Grounds at the corner of the Strip and Sahara Avenue. Billionaire Phil Ruffin, who owns the site as well as the adjacent Circus Circus Hotel and Casino, said in an email to the Independent Monday that he broke off discussions with the A’s “because there were too many issues I couldn’t agree to.”
Ruffin said the location “brings in big revenue” for the various events, such as concerts and large gatherings.
“The value they needed for the stadium was way too low,” Ruffin said. “It just made a bad business decision for me.”
Reporter Jacob Solis contributed to this story.
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