Lease negotiations for Cashman Field held bigger stakes than just an assured home for the Las Vegas 51s (Class AAA; Pacific Coast League): they also may have committed the city to a new ballpark down the line.
Representatives of Howard Hughes Corp. and Steven Mack -- the potential buyers of the 51s from Derek Stevens -- say they wanted a lease extension on Cashman Field to provide some stability for the team. PCL President Branch Rickey said that if the lease extension wasn't granted, the team would be sold to other owners who would move the franchise.
It was an impressive power play, and most of the members of the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority (LVCVA) were willing to go along negotiating an extension. But a bigger prize was in the balance: a potential new ballpark.
Here's the deal. The team's lease commits the LVCVA to providing a ballpark to the 51s -- if not Cashman Field, then another facility. But the 57-acre Cashman Field site has been targeted for redevelopment, and Hughes Corp. has been a player in those redevelopment efforts. In fact, one potential new-ballpark site floating around out there is next to a Hughes development, Shops at Summerlin.
So, let's look at a likely scenario. The Cashman Field site is redeveloped, though we'd expect a couple of years (at least) to pass before any work begins. The 51s say, hey, our lease contains a provision for a ballpark. The authority needs to put together a ballpark plan, and what better place than in the affluent Summerlin area? There's your game plan for a new 51s facility.
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