The Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority will turn Cashman Center over to the city of Las Vegas earlier than anticipated to focus its efforts and resources on the $1.4 billion Las Vegas Convention Center expansion project.
The LVCVA board on Tuesday unanimously approved a revised property transfer agreement that will turn the exhibit halls and theater at the center over to the city on June 1 and the building will be mothballed by Dec. 31.
The LVCVA will continue to operate the stadium and parking lots surrounding it through the duration of a lease agreement with the Las Vegas 51s minor league baseball team through Dec. 31, 2022, at the latest. The 51s, which are considering moving the team to a new stadium near Downtown Summerlin, would have to give the LVCVA two seasons’ notice of a move.
The city’s early takeover of Cashman signals a last-ditch effort by the city to convince the Oakland Raiders to consider Cashman as a site for an NFL stadium if the team is permitted to relocate the franchise to Southern Nevada. A relocation vote is expected when team owners meet in Phoenix March 26-29.
Las Vegas Mayor Carolyn Goodman, a member of the LVCVA board, has led the bid to convince the Raiders to consider a downtown home.
While Goodman said Raiders president Marc Badain listened to the city’s pitch months ago, there’s been no indication the team is considering the Cashman site. The Raiders already have an option to buy four parcels totaling 64 acres between Russell Road and Hacienda Avenue and between Polaris Avenue and Dean Martin Drive, just west of Interstate 15 near Mandalay Bay.
CITING CASHMAN’S APPEAL
Goodman said the appeal of the 50 acres at Cashman is that it has seven access points, including four nearby freeway interchanges off I-15 and U.S. Highway 95 that will be improved with the completion of Project Neon. The improvement of highway and road infrastructure near whatever site the Raiders would choose has been raised as an issue with the Regional Transportation Commission of Southern Nevada concerned about highway infrastructure delays resulting from existing projects getting pushed back to accommodate traffic resulting from the construction of a 65,000-seat stadium.
Goodman said once the Raiders see the potential costs of transportation infrastructure at other sites, the downtown site becomes “a no-brainer.”
Are a sports stadium, a cultural center and a medical district a compatible mix?
“It all marries together because I think the people who look at it as a redevelopment area can take advantage of tax credit programs and other incentives we can throw in,” she said.
The LVCVA won’t see much financial benefit from the transfer initially since it will still handle the stadium and parking lots and collect parking revenue from them. But when the exhibit halls and stadium are closed at the end of the year, it should see some savings, according to a financial analysis.
At one point, the LVCVA estimated that Cashman was a $5 million-a-year expense it was bearing. For the 2019 fiscal year, officials say the annual savings would be determined based on operating expenditure reductions and resource allocations to the Convention Center, estimated at more than $2 million annually.
Contact Richard N. Velotta at email@example.com or 702-477-3893. Follow @RickVelotta on Twitter.
Some Cashman history
While convincing the Raiders that a downtown stadium is a viable option appears to be a longshot, the transfer of Cashman was approved without a hitch.
In August 2008, the LVCVA and the city first discussed turning the facility — LVCVA-operated assets on city land — back to the city, which was considering better use options. A memorandum of understanding providing the framework for the city to market and redevelop the property was extended in May to May 2018.
But the new agreement conveys the property more than a year earlier. Las Vegas Mayor Carolyn Goodman said the city views the area as the center of a cultural corridor and a connecting point to the city’s downtown medical district as well as North Las Vegas.
“We see potential for the area as mixed-use redevelopment,” Goodman said.