Sources: Lombardo, lawmakers on board with planned $1 billion Las Vegas baseball stadium
The Oakland A’s are closing in on a binding agreement to construct a $1 billion baseball stadium north of Allegiant Stadium with the support of Gov. Joe Lombardo and top lawmakers in a deal that will not involve new taxes, multiple sources confirmed to The Nevada Independent on Wednesday.
According to sources who spoke on the condition of anonymity, the A’s will cover the costs for the 30,000-to-35,000-seat retractable-roof stadium to house the Major League Baseball franchise on a nearly 100-acre site near Tropicana Boulevard and Interstate 15. The A's would have to purchase the land from Red Rock Resorts.
A spokeswoman for the A's confirmed the deal to the Independent Wednesday evening, saying the team is buying 49 acres of the site. The stadium, along with other aspects of the development, would have a total cost of $1.5 billion.
The plan would be to pass a bill through the Legislature to create a funding mechanism, including a special taxation district covering the stadium site, which would allow for sales tax proceeds to be reinvested in the area, along with an allocation of transferable tax credits estimated to be worth around $500 million. Clark County would also have to sign off on a new taxing district.
Sources indicated that legislative leaders and the governor were briefed on the plans for the stadium and seemed generally supportive.
“Welcoming the A’s to Las Vegas would be great news for Southern Nevada as well as our entire state,” Lombardo told the Review-Journal. “The prospect of bringing new jobs, more economic development and a historic MLB franchise to Las Vegas is exciting on many levels. As we continue to navigate this opportunity, I’m in regular communication with the A’s, Major League Baseball, legislative leadership and local and state stakeholders.”
State Senate Majority Leader Nicole Cannizzaro (D-Las Vegas), though, declined through a spokesman to say she supports the deal before a bill has been introduced.
"Senator Cannizzaro has been briefed on the outline of a proposal, and she appreciates the interest the A's have shown in Las Vegas," said Cannizzaro spokesman Greg Lademann. "However, she has not committed to supporting any deal, nor would she without seeing detailed legislative language and discussing it with her caucus."
Assembly Speaker Steve Yeager (D-Las Vegas) said in a statement to The Nevada Independent that he is excited about the prospect of Major League Baseball coming to Las Vegas and has had "preliminary" discussions with the A's about their potential relocation.
"When the time comes, we will vet the proposal, seek input from the interested parties, and make the best decision for the people of the great state of Nevada," he said
Shortly after the news broke, the mayor of Oakland issued a scathing statement posted by the San Francisco Chronicle that said in part: "Yet, it is clear to me that the A’s have no intention of staying in Oakland and have simply been using this process to try to extract a better deal out of Las Vegas. I am not interested in continuing to play that game - the fans and our residents deserve better."
The Wild Wild West site was reportedly considered as a location for what is now Allegiant Stadium, which was ultimately built a mile south for $1.9 billion.
The team has been exploring the Las Vegas Valley for a new home for much of the past two years.
A 20-acre portion of the site housed the Wild Wild West Casino, which was closed and demolished in September. The site will be combined with an adjoining 80 acres for the stadium.
In the late 2000s, Red Rock — then known as Station Casinos — announced plans to build Viva, a Strip resort-sized development on the site, though the recession halted that project.
The A’s had been considering three other sites in the resort corridor — the Las Vegas Festival Grounds at the corner of Sahara Avenue and the Las Vegas Strip, a portion of the Tropicana Las Vegas, and an empty parcel on the grounds of the Rio hotel-casino.
While on the campaign trail, Lombardo made a promise to “never” raise taxes. It’s a promise that sources said Lombardo intends to keep through the deal requiring the A’s to cover the cost of the stadium and the allocation of transferable tax credits. The proposed deal would need to be introduced as a bill and pass out of the Legislature, which is more than halfway through its 120-day session.
Public records indicate that the governor met for an “Oakland A’s Policy Discussion” and with the “Oakland A’s” on two occasions in February. In February, the Independent learned the A’s had hired 18 lobbyists for the state’s 120-day legislative session. A’s President David Kaval also is registered as a lobbyist.
An announcement is planned soon. Red Rock Resorts is scheduled to report first-quarter earnings on May 4 and company executives are expected to discuss the stadium project then.
This story was updated at 9:25 PM to clarify certain aspects of the proposal. And again at 10:20 P.M. with statements from the governor, the mayor of Oakland and the state Senate majority leader.
This story was updated at 10:30 P.M. with a comment from an A's spokeswoman.
This story was updated on Thursday, April 20, 2023 at 8:42 a.m. to include a statement from the Assembly speaker.
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