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City: Consider Cashman site as a home for new Las Vegas stadium

Sunset at the Cashman Center

Leila Navidi

A view of Las Vegas at sunset near the Cashman Center.

Updated Wednesday, July 20, 2016 | 5:37 p.m.

The city of Las Vegas has a message for stakeholders involved in football stadium discussions: Keep Cashman Center in the running as a potential project site.

To that end, the City Council today passed a motion to promote Cashman as a viable option and tout the location’s benefits to the developers, Las Vegas Sands Corp. and Majestic Realty Co.

The sticking point, as Mayor Carolyn Goodman pointed out, has been the developers’ hesitance to consider sites beyond the resort corridor.

“We keep saying, ‘Please come downtown. Just look at us,’” said Goodman, who sits on the Southern Nevada Tourism Infrastructure Committee, which is vetting stadium plans.

The owner of the Oakland Raiders has pledged he will move the NFL team to Las Vegas if the city builds a 65,000-seat stadium. Twenty-four of the 31 other NFL team owners must approve the Raiders' proposed relocation plan. The stadium also could be home to the UNLV football team.

City officials said Cashman sits conveniently near Interstate 15 and U.S. 95 and is close to nearly 25,000 public and private parking spaces downtown, making access easier than the other proposed stadium sites.

The fate of Cashman, home to the Triple-A affiliate of the New York Mets, has come under close scrutiny in recent months. The Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority owns and manages the roughly 50-acre complex, but the city has forged an agreement with the tourism agency to regain control of the property if redevelopment plans come to fruition.

The owners of the Las Vegas 51s have publicly expressed their desire to move the minor-league baseball team to Summerlin. The team's lease with Cashman doesn't expire until 2022, but it includes a clause allowing cancellation with a two-season written notice.

Meanwhile, the city has been busy acquiring land in the so-called Cultural Corridor, the stretch of Las Vegas Boulevard north of downtown that includes the Neon Museum, Old Mormon Fort, Las Vegas Natural History Museum and Cashman. The city now owns about 30 acres of land across the street from Cashman, which could benefit the proposed stadium, officials said.

"We believe that Cashman can support a project of this magnitude," said Bill Arent, the city's director of economic and urban development. "There are a lot of competitive advantages that Cashman has over the other properties."

The developers have shown nine potential stadium sites, most on or near the Las Vegas Strip, to the infrastructure committee. Of the proposed sites, Cashman falls somewhere in the middle in terms of size.

Sands and Majestic are taking into account ownership, site capacity, land costs, access and egress, parking availability, game-day atmosphere and the ability to maximize revenue as they evaluate the possibilities.

Last week, Gov. Brian Sandoval signed an executive order extending the committee’s deadline for examining stadium plans by two months. The committee now has until Sept. 30 to finalize its recommendations for public funding — another large, looming question.

Sands and Majestic are seeking $750 million in public funding to help develop the stadium, the total cost of which could range from $1.7 billion to $2.1 billion. The City Council did not weigh in on the financials of the project.

Even so, Councilman Ricki Barlow said he believes the "timing is right" to make Las Vegas a professional football town.

"Regardless of where the final destination shall be for this potential stadium, I am in support of an NFL stadium being in Las Vegas," he said. "… If in fact this does not happen, the window of opportunity will close and there will be many, many years before this opportunity presents itself back in our state."

The stadium discussion will continue at the infrastructure committee's next meeting, July 28.

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