The Oakland Athletics ownership, state officials and Clark County commissioners have reached a tentative deal on new A’s ballpark public funding plan at a lower dollar figure than originally pitched by the team. UPDATED!
The terms of the deal are largely along the lines proposed by the state and Clark County in recent days. The A’s had pitched a $1.5-billion, retractable roof ballpark at the current Tropicana resort site on the Las Vegas Strip. The team and Bally’s announced a “binding agreement” to tear down the historic resort and replace it with a $1.5-billion, retractable roof ballpark with a capacity of 30,000, with a public ask of $395 million via Clark County bonding and state tax credits. After state and Clark County officials reviewed the request, they came back with a smaller offer, per the Nevada Independent:
As the deal stands now, sources with knowledge of the discussions indicated the state will contribute $180 million in transferable tax credits, of which 50 percent would be refundable — meaning the franchise or another entity that purchases the credits from the team can trade any excess credits for cash from the state.
Clark County would issue $120 million in bonds (an amount that could change depending on interest rates), a 30-year property tax exemption and a $25 million credit allocated toward infrastructure costs associated with the development agreement.
A source close to the negotiations estimated that the 30-year property tax exemption could be equivalent to almost $55 million over that time period, potentially bringing the total public financing package up to $380 million.
Clark County had balked at a higher figure for the bonding, with commissioners concerned they would have to dip into general revenue funds to cover any bonding shortfalls. However, with the lower figure and a new schedule, a fund set up to back the bonds will be accruing funds for two years before construction begins.
The deal was announced this morning in a press release from Nevada Gov. Joe Lombardo: “This agreement follows months of negotiations between the state, the county, and the A’s, and I believe it gives us a tremendous opportunity to continue building on the professional sports infrastructure of southern Nevada. Las Vegas is clearly a sports town, and Major League Baseball should be a part of it.”
If the team moves, it will become the first MLB to play in four markets; the Athletics began life in Philadelphia before moving to Kansas City and then Oakland. The Las Vegas MSA is a midsized U.S. MSA (#29) at 2,322,985, slightly larger than Cincinnati, but other rankings, such as Nielsen numbers, have it at the #40 U.S. sports market based on households.
The deal is still tentative, with plenty of steps needed to be reached before design starts and shovels hit the ground. Legislation encompassing the new terms still needs to be introduced to the Nevada Legislature, which adjourns on June 5. The Nevada Legislature meets only every two years, so the June 5 figure looms, though a special session could be called if the June 5 deadline is missed. If approved by the Legislature, a bonding bill needs to be approved by Clark County. MLB’s Relocation Committee will need to sign off on the deal before the end of the year. And at some point the Federal Aviation Administration will need to weigh in on the plans given the ballpark’s proximity to Harry Reid International Airport. But given that a tower already exists at the Tropicana site, approval is expected.
If all this happens, a groundbreaking could happen in 2024 and a ballpark opening in 2027.
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