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City of Las Vegas to pitch Cashman Center as ideal stadium site

Expect the city of Las Vegas to employ a full-court press as early as Thursday to convince the Southern Nevada Tourism Infrastructure Committee that Cashman Center — the downtown complex that is the current home of the Las Vegas 51s minor-league baseball team — is the best place for a 65,000-seat domed football stadium.

The 11-member committee meets at UNLV’s Stan Fulton Building at 8 a.m. Thursday. Finding a suitable location for a stadium is at the top of the board’s agenda.

It will be the group’s first meeting since Gov. Brian Sandoval agreed to extend the life of the committee. Thursday’s meeting was supposed to be the panel’s last gathering. But committee Chairman Steve Hill convinced Sandoval that the panel needs more time to consider stadium options. Earlier this month Sandoval amended the executive order that created the committee, allowing it to meet through September.

Stadium developers Las Vegas Sands Corp., Majestic Realty and the Oakland Raiders asked for more time to review nine potential stadium sites at the committee’s July 11 meeting.

The developers have proposed a public-private partnership that asks the committee to recommend the use of up to $750 million in room-tax revenue to help finance bonding for the stadium. The facility would be home to UNLV’s football team as well as the Raiders, who would seek permission from the NFL to relocate to Las Vegas if stadium financing is approved by the Nevada Legislature.

One of the proposed stadium sites is Cashman Center, a complex owned by the city and managed by the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority. It houses a 98,000-square-foot exhibit hall, 12 meeting rooms, a 1,992-seat theater and the 9,334-seat Cashman Field.

The stadium has been the home of the Las Vegas 51s and its predecessors, the Las Vegas Stars, since 1983. The 51s’ owners have proposed a new baseball stadium in the western Las Vegas Valley, adjacent to Downtown Summerlin.

Earlier this month, the Las Vegas City Council directed City Manager Betsy Fretwell to push Cashman as an ideal football stadium site.

“I think the big plus on Cashman is that the city has ultimate control of the dirt,” Councilman Steve Ross said. “In addition to the 55 acres of the center, we control 25 more acres of the surrounding area, so we’re talking 75 to 80 acres that we already have.”

Ross noted that there are some 25,000 parking spaces in downtown Las Vegas to accommodate vehicles and, with some help from the Nevada Department of Transportation, the state could develop easier access to the site from both U.S. Highway 95 and Interstate 15.

Cashman Center has been criticized as a potential stadium site because of its distance from the Strip and UNLV, but Ross noted that a light-rail trolley system has been proposed for Maryland Parkway. The transit line would move riders north from McCarran International Airport past UNLV to downtown Las Vegas and the Cashman site.

The Review-Journal is owned by the family of Las Vegas Sands Corp. Chairman and CEO Sheldon Adelson.

Contact Richard N. Velotta at rvelotta@reviewjournal.com or 702-477-3893. Find him on Twitter: @RickVelotta

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