Monday, May 15, 2023 | 11:12 a.m.
Bally’s Corp. announced today it has reached a binding agreement with the Oakland Athletics and the land owner of the Tropicana to build a baseball stadium on the Strip casino property.
The agreement marks a reversal from another ballpark deal announced last month.
Bally’s announced the deal in conjunction with the A’s and real estate investment firm Gaming & Leisure Properties Inc. It assigns about nine acres of a 35-acre site at Las Vegas Boulevard and Tropicana Avenue to the A’s or a related stadium authority.
The proposed ballpark, which would seat about 30,000 people, is pending passage of state legislation for public financing and other related agreements, Bally’s said in a news release.
Bally’s would retain the ability to assign the rights to all aspects of the development and has received “material interest from development partners,” according to the release.
“We are honored to have been selected to partner with the Oakland Athletics on this monumental step in helping to bring Major League Baseball to the great city of Las Vegas, and to be a part of the once in a generation opportunity of having a professional baseball team located within a short walk of the Las Vegas Strip,” Bally’s President George Papanier said in a statement.
“The Tropicana has been a landmark of Las Vegas for generations, and this development will enhance this iconic site for generations to come,” he said.
“We are committed to ensuring that the development and ballpark built in its place will become a new landmark, paying homage to the iconic history and global appeal of Las Vegas and its nearly 50 million visitors a year,” Papanier said.
The team, which would relocate from Oakland, Calif., estimates the new ballpark would welcome more than 2.5 million people annually. The stadium would provide significant flexibility to develop the site in a phased approach, the news release said.
Gaming & Leisure Properties has agreed to fund up to $175 million toward certain “shared improvements” within the future development in exchange for a commensurate rent increase, the release said.
“We have enjoyed getting to know the Oakland Athletics’ leadership through our dialogue over the past couple years,” said Peter Carlino, the firm’s chairman and CEO.
“We’re pleased to help facilitate their exciting vision for a new ballpark through our contribution of nine acres of the Tropicana site and look forward to the prominent place that the overall project will occupy in the Las Vegas skyline,” he said.
Bally’s acquired the building and operations of the Tropicana from Gaming & Leisure Properties in September as part of a $148 million deal.
Bally’s entered into a five-year ground lease with the firm, with the ability to extend up to 99 years upon achieving “key investment milestones,” according to the news release.
Bally’s said it intends to continue to to run the Tropicana for the foreseeable future as it evaluates options for a broader redevelopment of the remainder of the site that would be adjacent to the ballpark.
In the release, A’s President Dave Kaval said: “We are excited about the potential to bring Major League Baseball to this iconic location. We are thrilled to work alongside Bally’s and GLPI, and look forward to finalizing plans to bring the Athletics to Southern Nevada.”
A team spokeswoman declined to comment further.
On Wednesday, a source said the team would seek about $395 million in public funding from state lawmakers to finalize the deal.
Last month, the team announced it had entered a binding deal with Red Rock Resorts Inc. to acquire the former site of the Wild Wild West casino at Tropicana Avenue and Dean Martin Drive, near Interstate 15.
With that deal, the A’s said they would have needed roughly $500 million in taxpayer funds to build a $1.5 billion domed stadium with a retractable roof and develop a surrounding entertainment district.
Under the deal announced today, the A’s would no longer need to pay property taxes on the site, reducing the amount of public funding needed.
The plan also entails asking for transferable tax credits, while a third stream of public funding would come in the form of tax incentives for property redevelopment.
A source said the makeup of the public-private partnership would be similar to the one the team has publicly discussed.
Last month, a consultant working with the A’s said the team was exploring a tri-faceted funding plan to make the stadium site a special tax district.
Tax revenues generated in and around the stadium would be reinvested back into the project. That would include money from property, sales, live entertainment and modified business taxes.
Major League Baseball has imposed a January deadline for the A’s to submit a formal application to relocate to Las Vegas from Oakland, where the team has played since 1968, Kaval said previously.