Now that a deal has been finalized to sell the Las Vegas 51s to a group that intends to move the team to a new stadium in Summerlin, the clock is ticking on its lease at Cashman Field.
But the deadline is far away, and Cashman officials say it's business as usual.
“We’re still selling the meeting rooms and the convention hall and utilizing the theater," said Rossi Ralenkotter, president and CEO of the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority. "And the 51s will continue to play in the stadium.”
The LVCVA and the old and new owners of the 51s signed a lease extension for Cashman in October. The owners of the 51s will pay $308,700 a year through 2022 to use the field.
The new team owner, Summerlin Las Vegas Baseball Club — a joint venture between the Howard Hughes Corp. and Play Ball Owners Group partners Steve Mack, Bart Wear and Chris Kaempfer — can opt out of the Cashman lease by notifying the LVCVA a season in advance.
If all goes as planned, the earliest the team could move to Summerlin would be for the 2015 season. The new owners plan to build what they say will be the best Triple-A stadium in the country.
Now, officials have to start considering what will happen to Cashman Center.
The LVCVA decided in 2008 that it wanted out of managing Cashman and signed a memorandum of understanding with the city of Las Vegas to bring a new use to the property.
The LVCVA owns and operates Cashman with the stipulation that the facility be used to enhance tourism and house the minor league baseball team. The land would revert back to the city if that use changed.
The LVCVA and the city have solicited proposals for a new use for Cashman. Options “include, but (should) not be limited to, professional baseball stadium and facilities, an urban medical center, a mixed-use urban village, cultural facilities (museum/arts, etc.) or an educational or university campus,” according to the agreement.
A new operator would be required to continue to provide Cashman for the 51s or build a new facility for the team.
Ralenkotter said the sale will prompt the LVCVA to renew talks about Cashman with the city. The LVCVA is under no obligation to build or contribute to the construction of a new stadium.
The Summerlin Las Vegas Baseball Club said it plans to meet with Clark County, the city of Las Vegas and the LVCVA for financial support.
Mack said the $60 million stadium, which will seat between 8,000 and 9,000 people, will be the centerpiece of a retail village adjacent to a shopping mall that will include 140 stores and 17 restaurants. The land, to be donated by the Howard Hughes Corp. and valued at $40 million, falls within Clark County borders, a few feet from the Las Vegas boundary.
The new team owners said in addition to housing the 51s, the stadium will be used for a college baseball tournament. They also hope to expand the number of appearances by major league teams during spring training.