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Next up in A’s ballpark planning process: Tropicana site prep

Before a new Oakland A’s ballpark can begin the construction process, the proposed site must be readied and clear. That’s why Tropicana site prep is such an important detail, but it doesn’t sound like there’s anything close to a solid schedule in place.

There’s no solid schedule yet because there’s no solid plan. Yes, the A’s move to Las Vegas came at the end of a very rushed process that really didn’t address a lot of the practical details about building a $1.5-billion retractable-roof facility, and let’s face it: the A’s didn’t inspire a lot of confidence with some of their claims, including an wildly inaccurate prediction that the whole thing would occupy nine acres. (We noted the impossibility of this feat when the new ballpark was announced.)

But it’s a little distressing that the A’s and their partners can’t even come up with a construction schedule with the broadest strokes possible. To wit: how to handle site prep. Normally on a project of this size you’d want to clear out as much space on the 34-acres site as possible for site prep: new roads will need to be built, surely some utilities will need to be rerouted, and there will need to be space for construction machinery.

In this case, however, Soo Kim, chairman of Bally’s Corp. (which owns the land and will share the final development site with the A’s), is talking about leaving some portions of the Tropicana open while construction begins on the rest of the site. If you’ve not been, the Trop is a pretty major presence at the sound end of the Strip, featuring a 21-floor towers, a total of 1,467 rooms, a 50,000-square-foot gaming floor, and 72,000 square feet of of convention/exhibit space. (Alas, no more colorful birds.) In an ideal room, the whole thing would come down at once: the tower would be imploded, filmed for future use in a disaster movie of some sort.

No, says Kim, parts of Trop could remain open during construction:

With the timeline still to be determined, Kim said he also isn’t sure how the demolition of the Tropicana would be carried out.

Kim has previously stated that the Tropicana could be torn down in segments, allowing for initial ballpark work to begin, while still having some portion of the resort open.

We expect the MLB relocation committee to examine the construction process closely and perhaps put a few strings on approval, including a more fleshed-out construction timeline, budget and likely a requirement to bring in a construction manager sooner than later. The current plan is for design to run through 2024, with completion ideally set for the 2028 MLB season.

Rendering courtesy Oakland A’s.

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