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A’s, Oakland miss key ballpark deadline; talks continue in Vegas

Updated October 4, 2022 - 8:33 pm

A key deadline to keep hope alive for Oakland officials and the Athletics to reach agreement on a new Bay Area ballpark by year’s end has come and gone.

That could be good news for Southern Nevada as the A’s are still discussing potential ballpark sites in Las Vegas should the Oakland plan fail and the team pursues relocation.

Oakland City Administrator Ed Reiskin said last month that the city and the A’s needed to finalize a development agreement for a proposed $12 billion Howard Terminal project — including a $1 billion waterfront ballpark — by last week. Without that, he said a binding vote this year by the Oakland City Council would be all but out of the question.

Reiskin cited a tight timeline of other necessary reviews that would have followed between this month and early December as the reason for the deadline.

Now that Reiskin’s deadline has passed, it appears the project will creep into 2023. The team has a lease agreement to play at the aging RingCentral Coliseum through 2024 and has set a goal of having a new stadium project in motion by then.

When reached for comment, city of Oakland spokesman Justin Berton said: “Negotiations on the proposed development are active and positive,” but did not address if the missed deadline meant a binding vote on the project this year was in jeopardy.

Not having a deal done this year is significant since Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf is restricted from serving after this year because of term limits and the November election could bring other changes to the city council. That means negotiations on the project would have to all but start over with a new administration.

Both the A’s and MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred have noted the urgency for the team to figure out its future ballpark plans. Manfred gave the A’s the OK to explore relocation in 2021 due to the condition the Coliseum is in.

In late June, A’s President Dave Kaval said that if the ballpark efforts in Oakland were pushed into 2023 that it could “doom our efforts in Oakland.”

The A’s declined to comment Monday on the missed deadline and Manfred said he didn’t have anything to say about the matter “right now.”

In Las Vegas, the A’s are in negotiations on a pair of potential sites where they could relocate and build a $1 billion ballpark if Oakland doesn’t pan out.

The team is in discussion with casino magnate Phil Ruffin on the 38-acre Las Vegas Festival Grounds site on the north Strip. The two sides have met multiple times in Oakland and Las Vegas to discuss the site’s potential for a MLB stadium, according to sources.

Clark County Commissioner Tick Segerblom last month called the talks between Ruffin and the A’s “very high level,” and said a ballpark project is “doable” on the site.

Talks are also being had with Bally’s Corp., which owns the Tropicana. Bally’s saw its $148 million acquisition of the Tropicana’s non-land assets from Gaming and Leisure Properties Inc. finalized last week. Bally’s will lease the land the hotel-casino sits on from Gaming and Leisure Properties for $10.5 million annually.

Bally’s Chairman Soohyung Kim told the Review-Journal this year that the company would “almost certainly” look to redevelop the 35-acre site. One of those possibilities is demolishing the Tropicana and building an MLB ballpark on the south Strip.

Contact Mick Akers at makers@reviewjournal.com or 702-387-2920. Follow @mickakers on Twitter.

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