Developer Chris Milam may not have been well-known in Minor League Baseball circles when it was announced he was buying the Las Vegas 51s (Class AAA; Pacific Coast League), but he has some impressive connections in the industry; meanwhile, his plan for a Vegas sports complex with a new ballpark is taking shape.
Milam, a Texas businessman, first got the baseball bug when negotiating a loan from Nolan Ryan’s bank — which, conveniently, is located down the road from the Dell Diamond, home of the Round Rock Express (Class AAA; Pacific Coast League). Milam was reportedly impressed by what the Ryans had accomplished in Round Rock and was intrigued about replicating the ballpark experience elsewhere. Also advising Milam: Merritt Paulson, the former owner of the Portland Beavers (Class AAA; Pacific Coast League), who sold the team in order to focus on MLS soccer.
With those influences, it’s not a surprise two of three components in Milam’s sports development are MLS soccer and minor-league baseball. The development is growing in size: besides the 63 acres eyed for the three sports buildings — a 36,000-seat stadium for MLS soccer, a 17,500-seat arena and a 9,000-seat ballpark — it looks like an additional 50 or so acres will be needed for parking. So far the only references to parking spots in the plans are walkways leading to unspecified parking areas. This probably isn’t a huge deal — there’s land for parking in the area — but acquiring the land might boost the $1.95-billion price tag.
One additional plus for the proposed location across from Mandalay Bay: the sports complex could be incorporated into a DesertXpress terminal, as a proposed high-speed rail like could connect VIctorville, Cal. and Vegas.
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