Bill introduced late Friday for A’s Las Vegas Strip ballpark
LAS VEGAS, Nev. (FOX5) - Lawmakers introduced a bill late Friday night to finance the proposed Las Vegas Strip ballpark for the Oakland Athletics, as the team also finally provided the public with renderings and new details on the design.
The bill, called the Southern Nevada Tourism Innovation Act, could have a hearing sometime over the weekend, elected leaders said Friday. Lawmakers have until June 5 to pass legislation.
State Senator Scott Hammond notes the bill does not dictate a specific site for the ballpark, but a deal is progressing towards the Tropicana Hotel location.
Treasurer Zach Conine explained new details that are seen in the bill language: $180 million from Nevada in tax credits (sources at the table had previously told FOX5 that the financing would come from bonds). The Stadium Authority would provide a maximum of $36 million in tax credits each fiscal year, until it reaches $180 million.
The treasurer would provide a credit enhancement on bonds issued to finance construction, the legislation said.
Conine and his office reviewed the latest bill draft, but held off disclosing opinions or his assessment until the bill is presented.
“We are the state’s chief investment officer. As the treasurer, I have the fiduciary responsibility to make sure the state cuts the best deal out of any deal. I hope we will see a bill introduction in the near future, and a hearing shortly after that-- at which point all questions will be answered. There’s a lot of cooks in this kitchen,” Conine said.
A Clark County official told FOX5, $120 million in Clark County GO bonds would be allocated as part of the deal, as well as $25 million in county funding for infrastructure and public services.
The bill puts the Clark County Stadium Authority as the governing body. Language mandates 15 percent of the subcontracts for the project must be with small local businesses.
The bill also mandates that the Stadium Authority handles the sale, license or transfer of personal seat licenses, stadium builder’s licenses or other matters all to generate revenues for construction.
The legislation requires the Clark County Commission to “create a resort corridor homelessness prevention and assistance fund, to provide assistance to people who are at risk of becoming homeless or are currently experiencing homelessness by supporting certain programs,” the language read. A stadium community oversight committee would oversee the aid.
Wednesday, Nevada Gov. Lombardo announced that a tentative agreement had been met between his office, Nevada lawmakers and the Oakland Athletics organization to bring forward a bill for consideration. FOX5 asked Lombardo’s office follow-up questions on public input, potential impact on property taxes, and confidence in a team with low attendance and record losses.
Up to four years of reserves would be accumulated to back debt payments, according to Lombardo’s office. “This is a conservative approach, and the likelihood that the County general obligation would be required is remote,” said Communications Director Elizabeth Ray.
“The sports and entertainment improvement district (i.e., the tax district) will require a combined coverage ratio of not less than 2.0x. This mean that two times the amount of the principal an interest payable on the bonds will need to exist for every one dollar pledged to the repayment of the bonds,” Ray said.
A high-up county source who first alerted FOX5 over potential property tax ramifications said the county is “comfortable” that the current agreement could avoid a worst-case scenario: if a debt service reserve is depleted, the county must either dip into general funds or raise property taxes. The source disagreed with the Governor’s Office’s assessment that the possibility is “remote.”
County officials will be monitoring the bill language to make sure risks don’t rise for taxpayers with any changes or modifications, the source said.
Friday, the Oakland A’s also provided new details of their ballpark proposal: a seating options, a partially retractable roof and a fan capacity of 30,000, according to the team’s release. The orientation of the playing surface will allow for the outfield to open to the corner of Tropicana and Las Vegas Boulevard.
Baseball experts caution that the renderings do not appear to be drawn to scale, and may depict a larger size than what a 30,000-seat stadium could encompass.
According to the chairman of Bally’s, the ballpark will sit in the southeast corner of the lot on 9 acres. There are 26 acres left on the site. Bally’s intends to build a new hotel with an homage to sports to compliment the ballpark, Chairman Soo Kim said.
“The design pays homage to the rich history of the Athletics as well as the unique spirit of Las Vegas,” the team said in a release, adding that the “state-of-the-art” venue will be utilized to host events, concerts and community gatherings.
“From the minute we stepped onto the Tropicana site nearly two years ago, it was immediately obvious what a fantastic fit it would be for a new A’s ballpark in Las Vegas,” said A’s director of design and owner of Schrock KC Architecture, Brad Schrock. “The natural orientation of the ballpark creates not only some of the best views and connection to the Las Vegas skyline from the seating bowl but also opens up the ballpark to the corner in a way that creates opportunities for an amazing energetic public space with open and expansive views into the ballpark.”
“We are excited to share our vision for the A’s potential new home. As our first conceptual design, we will continue to refine the look and feel of the ballpark over the next year. We hope our project goes beyond a traditional ballpark and serves as a catalyst for community development and engagement,” A’s President Dave Kaval said.
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