Cashman Field is a valued commodity, potentially home to the next professional sports franchise in Las Vegas, but one developer is appealing to city officials for a project to shoot movies and television instead.
“That industry needs to take root in Las Vegas,” Michael Lentine, owner of EarthArtist Studios in South Carolina, told the Las Vegas City Council this week. “We need to develop Cashman Field into the most technologically advanced motion picture studio in the world.”
In a letter submitted to the council, Lentine said the Las Vegas Studio-Campus would be a partnership between private, public and academic sectors to “transform the economic and cultural life of Las Vegas.” The first phase would cost $363 million to construct, he said.
But the proposal comes at a time when city officials are inching toward cementing a development deal with the Renaissance Cos. on a new soccer stadium for city-owned Cashman Field just north of downtown in hopes of luring a Major League Soccer expansion franchise.
Mayor Carolyn Goodman told the Review-Journal on Thursday that she first heard about the studio proposal when Jack Woodcock, a long-time real estate broker in the Las Vegas Valley, introduced Lentine to briefly present to the Council on Wednesday.
“We are going to talk to him and see but, as you know, right now we’re in deep dialogue with Renaissance Cos.,” Goodman said.
A development agreement with Renaissance is expected to come before the council on Feb. 19, and the city and that company are in exclusive negotiations to redevelop at least 62 acres of Cashman Field to include not only the stadium but residential properties and retail outlets as well.
Lentine requested that the city also give “fair and equal consideration” to his proposal. He could not be reached Thursday to speak further about it.
He pitched the studio-campus as ideal to attract companies desperate for production capacity, such as Apple, Disney and Netflix. He said he also submitted an economic impact analysis to city officials that estimated the project would result in a $1 billion annual benefit to the city and create up to 10,000 high-paying jobs.
“This is Las Vegas,” he said. “If you’re the capital of entertainment, we’ll show you what you’re going to get and we’ll build it in 30 months.”
But Goodman said she had not yet received specifics of the plan.
Lentine did, however, offer details into his background: He crafted and promoted the passage of legislation to induce the motion picture industry to locate in South Carolina, according to the letter he provided the city. The bill resulted in a $9 billion industry sector in that state and was emulated across the U.S., he said.
Meanwhile, the council on Wednesday approved paying law firm GreenbergTraurig LLP up to $150,000 to represent the city in drafting legal agreements and transaction documents related to multiple agreements on the stadium project.
City lawmakers agreed to pay the firm up to $50,000 in October, meaning that legal fees for the project could soon reach $200,000.