Baseball franchise’s lease put on hold pending information from new owners
The Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority has delayed a vote to extend the lease of the city’s minor-league baseball franchise at Cashman Field, saying it needs more information from the prospective new owners of the team.
Summerlin Las Vegas Baseball Club LLC, a joint venture of the Howard Hughes Corp. and businessman Steven Mack, plans to buy Stars Las Vegas LLC, the owner of the Las Vegas 51s, the city’s AAA baseball team affiliated with the Toronto Blue Jays.
Summerlin is seeking a 10-year lease agreement that would allow the team to play at Cashman Field through the 2022 season.
But two LVCVA board members, Las Vegas Mayor Carolyn Goodman and Councilman Steve Ross, want additional information about the transaction and Summerlin’s plans.
The city of Las Vegas owns the 57-acre Cashman Center campus, and the LVCVA owns and operates the stadium, theater and convention facilities on the land.
The team has two years left on the current lease and can exercise a four-year extension option. The team rents the stadium from the LVCVA for $308,700 a year, with the amount increasing annually based on the consumer price index.
City officials are interested in learning more about Summerlin’s plans because they’ve called for proposals to upgrade Cashman Center. The lease agreement with the baseball team would require the development of a new facility if the Cashman upgrade includes elimination of the existing stadium.
The issue is further clouded by the city’s ongoing plans to develop a downtown arena, presumably an indoor facility for basketball. Baltimore-based Cordish Cos. is in a public-private partnership with the city and has built indoor and outdoor venues.
Christopher Kaempfer, an attorney representing Summerlin, said the lease extension is a critical part in the company’s efforts to purchase the team. The 2012 baseball season is over, but the new owners need to establish an affiliation with a major league team and to work out details with the Pacific Coast League.
There have been published reports that Las Vegas is considering negotiating a player development contract with the New York Mets if the Blue Jays sign an agreement with the Buffalo Bison, the Mets’ current minor league partner.
Goodman and Ross initially wanted to delay action on the lease extension for 60 days, but Kaempfer said Summerlin wanted to get an answer sooner.