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Wednesday, Apr 23rd

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IDM pitches new Vegas ballpark as part of larger development

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Las Vegas 51s
International Development Management, which has been behind a long-shot proposal to build a new arena on the Vegas Strip, has reloaded and is proposing a three-facility complex in downtown Las Vegas that would include a 9,000-seat ballpark capable of expansion for hosting an MLB team.

The ballpark would be part of a larger sports complex -- the Las Vegas National Sports Complex -- that would include a 50,000-seat partially enclosed football stadium, a 17,500-seat arena and the partially enclosed ballpark. It would be built in downtown near the Interstate 15 interchange on 70 acres of city-owned land and completed by October 2013.

International Development Management has gained no traction in its proposal to establish a Strip sales tax to build the Silver State Arena on the former Wet 'N Wild site. Meanwhile, Majestic Reality -- the Ed Roski firm -- has proposed a new events center on the UNLV campus, complete with football space, entertainment district, student housing and a renovated Thomas & Mack Center. Both firms are going after UNLV as a main tenant (IDM says it will lease access to the school for $1 a year for its football, baseball and basketball teams), and both are looking at a large amount of private investment. In the case of IDM, officials say they can pull off the project with no public assistance, though surely the economics of the deal calls for the UNLV participation and a future NBA or NHL franchise anchoring the arena. Timing is of the essence: the UNLV Board of Regents is set to discuss the Majestic Realty proposal on Friday and perhaps deciding on an exclusive negotiating period.

The notion of building a smaller ballpark that could be expanded for Major League Baseball is not a new one; Las Vegas 51s (Class AAA; Pacific Coast League) GM Don Logan has been pushing the notion for years, but it's hard to pull off and really only been done one time: Metropolitan Stadium was built as the home of the American Association's Minneapolis Millers and then expanded when the Twins came to town, albeit in a rather hodge-podge fashion. Despite some attendance issues faced by the 51s, the market is considered to be a good one for baseball, hobbled by Cashman Field. A local group led by Steve Stone made a bid for the Montreal Expos when the team was controlled by MLB and pitched a new covered ballpark as part of the deal.

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