Las Vegas became a true major league city in 2017, when the National Hockey League expansion team Golden Knights, who play at the T-Mobile Arena on The Strip, made the city their home.
Sin City became an even bigger major league city in 2020 when the National Football League’s Oakland Raiders relocated from the Bay Area to play at Allegiant Stadium not far from The Strip.
More recently, Major League Soccer has been talking with billionaire businessman Wes Edens about bringing an expansion soccer team to the city.
But in even bigger sports news, a Major League Baseball team is seriously looking at signing a deal to build a new stadium on The Strip at a property currently occupied by the Tropicana Las Vegas at Las Vegas Boulevard and Tropicana Avenue.
Those ongoing negotiations to bring MLB’s Oakland A’s to Las Vegas, however, hit a bump in the road on May 2, with the team signaling it might now have what it needs to stay in Oakland.
Major Sports Team Gets Favorable Recommendation
The A’s stalled plans to build a $12 billion mixed-use development that includes a $1 billion new ballpark on the 56-acre Howard Terminal site near Jack London Square in Oakland found new life on May 2.
That’s when the regional agency San Francisco Bay Conservation and Development Agency’s staff recommended that a port priority use designation on the site be removed.
The designation’s removal is necessary to allow the mixed-use project to be built on the site, according to a report in the Las Vegas Review Journal.
“This is great news for #Oakland and our entire region. Onward!” tweeted Oakland Mayor Libby Schaff on May 2.
“Massive deal. Bay Conservation and Development Commission (BCDC) staff recommends allowing @Athletics waterfront ballpark to move forward,” tweeted Dave Kaval, Oakland A’s president.
The staff recommendation will be considered at a public hearing June 2, which would be followed by a June 30 vote by BCDC that could formally remove the port use designation and allow the A’s to continue their pursuit of a Bay Area ballpark.
If BCDC does not vote in favor of removing the designation, the project would be pretty much dead, and the A’s will likely focus all of their efforts on moving to Las Vegas.
Several Approvals Needed
In addition to obtaining that approval, the A’s still need to get the Oakland City Council to sign off on of a development agreement for the project.
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The city approved a version of the agreement in July 2021 that was at odds with the A’s plans.
The parties are continuing to negotiate the deal in an attempt to resolve issues with community benefits, infrastructure and affordable housing.
A state committee, the Seaport Planning Advisory Committee, voted 5-4 on March 16 recommending against eliminating maritime use for the Howard Terminal, but BCDC rejected that recommendation.
Kaval said at the time that was a major setback in getting necessary approvals for the ballpark, the San Francisco Chronicle reported.
Carlino said in the company’s April 29 earnings call that Chief Development Officer Steve Ladany, Chief Investment Officer Matthew Demchyk, and he had met with Bally’s and A’s representatives recently about a deal.
The property is currently committed to Bally’s under a previous agreement, Carlino said.
“There’s absolutely no certainty about where that may go,” Carlino said in the earnings call. “If we can facilitate something exciting, you bet we will. So there I must say stay tuned, we’ll let you know.”
The A’s originally seemed to be using Las Vegas as leverage against the City of Oakland to get it to move faster on Howard Terminal project.
Then, when the Oakland proposal appeared to stall, talks regarding potential Las Vegas projects got more serious.
Now the pendulum is swinging in the other direction, in a situation that is far from over.