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A’s, casino owner Ruffin to chat Las Vegas Festival Grounds ballpark Tuesday

Oakland A'sLas Vegas casino owner Phil Ruffin will be in the Bay Area tomorrow to discuss a new Las Vegas Festival Grounds ballpark with management of the Oakland Athletics.

Ruffin owns several properties on the northern end of the Strip, including Circus Circus, Treasure Island Hotel and the Las Vegas Festival Grounds. His name has been associated with talks over a new A’s ballpark for many months now, but the purpose of the meeting isn’t clear. Naturally, it’s all so cloak-and-dagger with the Las Vegas Review-Journal quotes a source saying Ruffin will be in Oakland for a meeting, with the subject the potential development of a new A’s ballpark at the 37-acre Las Vegas Festival Grounds site at the southwest corner of Las Vegas Boulevard and Sahara Avenue, the northern-most part of the Strip. This would be the opposite end of the Strip from the hottest area for development, one that’s also been targeted by the A’s–and MLS, for that matter–for a new ballpark and associated development.

We’re in a quiet time in deliberations over a new Oakland ballpark as part of the $12 billion Howard Terminal development. (Boy, would we love to see some updated construction costs on a project of that scale.) The Oakland City Council is in summer recess, and talks on a lease touching on a number of contentious issues (community benefits, affordable housing, etc.) will begin come the end of summer. There is no indication Vegas is any more a contender than it was a few weeks ago.

In downtown Oakland, the A’s are proposing the downtown Howard Terminal waterfront development, featuring $12 billion in private investment, including a billion dollars for a new 35,000-capacity ballpark to replace the Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum as the team’s home. The development would also include 3,000 units of housing, as well as 1.5 million square feet of office space, 270,000 square feet of retail space, a 400-room hotel, 18 acres of parkland and an estimated $450 million in community benefits. It would represent a massive makeover of the Oakland waterfront, transforming an industrial site into a mixed-use development.

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