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A’s impressed with Summerlin, but still considering over 20 ballpark sites

Updated June 23, 2021 - 12:48 pm

The list of possible sites for a major league ballpark in the Las Vegas Valley ballooned to well over 20 during a two-day stop in Southern Nevada for the Oakland Athletics ownership group.

A’s owner John Fisher and team president Dave Kaval toured sites around the valley in their second visit to Southern Nevada. But instead of narrowing the list of potential ballpark sites, they added more, Kaval said.

“The reality is that all the sites have a lot of positive attributes, and so I really don’t think we’re really in a position to remove any from the list at this time,” Kaval told the Review-Journal on Tuesday afternoon. “We’re going to continue our due diligence and research and understanding of what the best locations are. But it’s really great that there are so many options and so many great ways to potentially make it work here in Southern Nevada.”

Kaval said they looked at areas in the southern part of the resort corridor, locations that are a couple of blocks from the Strip, as well as sites in the northern portion of the Strip and downtown. Multiple areas in Henderson are also in play as is the Cashman Field site near downtown, Kaval said.

He noted that A’s officials are walking away particularly impressed with what the Summerlin area could offer, after originally not having it at the top of their list.

“The land that they have out there and the development they have out there with the views back into the valley is pretty unbelievable,” Kaval said. “So I think that location was really spectacular and really an iconic location potentially for a ballpark. I think that was something that was a big takeaway.”

The ownership group met with The Howard Hughes Corp., which owns the majority of Summerlin and Las Vegas Ballpark, home to the A’s Triple-A affiliate.

Site eyed by Raiders

Another site that came up on this trip is a UNLV-owned parcel on Tropicana Avenue near Koval. The property was on the short list of possible stadium sites for the Raiders.

“That’s an intriguing site because it’s pretty close to the resort corridor and it would have the ability to potentially partner with the educational institution that means a lot to the community,” Kaval said.

A meeting with UNLV officials is on the agenda for the A’s next trip to Las Vegas, tentatively slated for the week of July 5, he added.

A meeting with casino owner Phil Ruffin, who owns various resorts, including Circus Circus and the adjoining Las Vegas Festival Grounds, is also planned for the A’s third go-round in Las Vegas.

“There is a site obviously at Circus Circus that is interesting,” Kaval said. “So we’re going to continue conversations with folks like (Ruffin) and others to learn more. There’s still a lot of folks to meet who have a great understanding of what it would take to have a successful team.”

A’s brass will also meet again with area elected officials, as they did on their first trip. Additionally, they’ll meet with more people who own or control land.

“You’ll see that at the next trip we take,” Kaval said. “We’re spending a lot of time here because this is a really important effort. We have this big vote in Oakland on July 20 and we’re uncertain how that will go.”

That’s when the Oakland City Council is scheduled to vote on a term sheet for a possible waterfront ballpark to replace the A’s current home, RingCentral Coliseum. Major League Baseball gave the A’s approval to explore relocation, deeming RingCentral an inadequate option for the future and citing concerns with the team’s yearslong efforts to build a new ballpark in that city.

Access to resort corridor

Kaval said the A’s officials were also intrigued by the Boring Co.’s underground transportation system and the planned Vegas Loop that would connect downtown, the Strip, Allegiant Stadium and possibly McCarran International Airport.

That transportation system, which members of the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority outlined for them, could make the resort corridor a more attractive option for the A’s.

“That provides a way to move around the Strip and downtown and different areas,” Kaval said. “Learning how that could potentially play into locations is something that we were aware of before. So that was an aha moment in terms of what that could mean and being able to move people around easier.”

The Boring system opens up access to a possible resort corridor site, providing multiple places to park and catch a ride to the stadium.

“You can have people distributed in terms of where they park,” Kaval said. “That could be an appealing aspect because wherever we go it is appealing to locals because it would be the local team.”

High-profile supporter

Downtown Las Vegas hotel owner Derek Stevens also met with A’s brass this trip and gave them a rundown of how a ballpark and team could work downtown.

“We met with Derek Stevens who showed us downtown and gave us an incredible tour, incredible hospitality,” Kaval said.

Stevens, who owns Circa and the D Las Vegas, said he hit it off with Kaval and Fisher.

“I think Vegas would be a great landing spot (for the A’s),” Stevens told the Review-Journal. “In my discussion with them I’m pretty strongly of the thought that downtown is a great location. We talked a lot about traffic, logistics and the consumer. We talked about the unique elements of tourism and Las Vegas and how it’s a bit of a different market.”

Stevens said he would support the team in any way he can to bring the A’s to the area.

“I think baseball would be a huge get for Las Vegas,” Stevens said. “You talk about 80 regular season events throughout the summer. I think it would be incredible for tourism. It would be great for jobs, it would be great for hotel occupancy in the summer. I think it would be terrific.”

Contact Mick Akers at makers@reviewjournal.com or 702-387-2920. Follow @mickakers on Twitter.

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