Home » News » A’s plan for ballpark on the Strip targets Tropicana for demolition
A’s plan for ballpark on the Strip targets Tropicana for demolition
Updated May 12, 2023
The Oakland Athletics have revised their plans for a stadium in Las Vegas. They have agreed with Bally’s Corp. to construct a $1.5 billion, 30,000-seat ballpark.
The Athletics’ decision to switch potential sites for their Las Vegas ballpark would bring their dream of a Major League Baseball stadium with a view of the Strip closer to reality.
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Tropicana proposed location
The proposed location is the current site of the Tropicana Las Vegas. Bally’s Corp., the owner of the Tropicana, would demolish the resort to make room for the Athletics’ ballpark. The project led by the gaming company would build a new hotel-casino.
In July 2021, shortly after receiving approval from MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred to explore relocation, Athletics President Dave Kaval spoke to the Review-Journal about the appeal of constructing an MLB stadium on Las Vegas Boulevard.
This move would bring significant changes to the Strip. The outdated Tropicana, dating back to the 1950s, would be replaced by a modern sports facility.
Initially, the Major League Baseball franchise had sought $500 million in tax financing for a stadium at the former Wild Wild West site on Tropicana Avenue and Dean Martin Drive. They had recently agreed to purchase from Red Rock Resorts, the parent company of Station Casinos.
Neither the Athletics nor Bally’s Corp. commented on the site switch, and a spokesperson for Red Rock Resorts declined to comment on the development.
Bally’s Corp. also obtained the option to develop a hotel-casino on the remaining land as part of the deal.
President George Papanier did not clarify whether ongoing discussions between the Athletics and Bally’s were taking place.
Papanier stated that they perceive the Tropicana property as having untapped potential that could generate sufficient revenue to cover its costs. The outcome of the Athletics plans is yet to unfold.
The plans for the $1.5 billion, 30,000-seat stadium at the Tropicana resort site envision the baseball diamond facing northwest.
The plan is for spectators facing the outfield to enjoy a backdrop of the iconic Las Vegas Strip.
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Stadium funding proposal
The stadium development agreement is currently being drafted, with a bill anticipated to be introduced in the Legislature soon.
The specifics regarding whether a new bill will be introduced or an existing one will be amended to incorporate the terms of the Athletics’ agreement are unclear.
The proposed special tax district, intended to repay the bonds issued by Clark County for the $395 million public portion of the agreement, would only cover the stadium itself, excluding any additional property.
Consequently, only individuals attending games or other events at the stadium would be subject to the taxes utilized for bond repayment.
A portion of the $395 million would also include transferable tax credits issued by the state. As part of the financing plan for a La Vegas ballpark, bonds would be issued to secure funding, with repayment spread over a 30-year period using the tax revenue generated by the ballpark.
The Oakland Athletics would be obligated to sign a 30-year non-relocation agreement as a condition of any public financing agreement.
This funding request is lower than the $500 million initially sought by the Athletics for a ballpark at the Wild Wild West site. The team has shifted its focus from that location, which is owned by Red Rock Resorts, to the Tropicana.
However, the Athletics may encounter another obstacle in the form of the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). Due to the stadium’s proximity to McCarran International Airport, the FAA’s approval would be necessary.
Fortunately, since the stadium would not exceed the height of the existing Tropicana hotel tower, height restrictions are unlikely to pose a problem.
With a capacity of around 30,000 seats, the stadium would fill a niche in the Las Vegas entertainment landscape. It would be able to accommodate events that are too large for T-Mobile Arena (which seats 17,500 to 20,000) but not substantial enough for Allegiant Stadium’s 65,000-fan capacity.
While the Athletics’ relocation of the site came as a surprise, there are logical reasons behind the decision. Chief among them is the $105 million reduction in the public funding request and the advantageous proximity to 25,000 hotel rooms within walking distance of the intersection of Las Vegas Boulevard and Tropicana Avenue.
Pedestrian bridges already connect the neighboring properties, and the Boring Company has plans for a station at the Tropicana site.
Las Vegas continues to add sports teams to the fold. One has to wonder if this could open up avenues for another pro sports team to relocate here.
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