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Architect helps A’s envision what a Las Vegas ballpark could offer

Oakland Athletics’ President Dave Kaval has repeatedly said the availability of land in Southern Nevada is one of the area’s biggest strengths for luring the team here.

That point was made again this week as Kaval, team owner John Fisher and architect Brad Schrock were part of the team’s fourth trip to the Las Vegas Valley. The visit wrapped up Thursday, and team officials are again leaving with the excitement of the possibilities still in play.

“Spent a lot of time visiting sites and understanding the layout of the stadium … and the different ways that we could orient the ballpark,” Kaval told the Review-Journal on Thursday afternoon. “That’s (a) real important piece of information as we continue to make progress on the venue location.”

Kaval and crew toured sites mainly around the Resort Corridor and Summerlin on this trip, getting a new feel for the sites with Schrock along for the first time.

A plot of land owned by Howard Hughes Corp. and located near Downtown Summerlin stood out to Kaval as Schrock’s vision brought the area to life.

“The site in Summerlin with a view of the entire valley is just incredible in terms of a vista,” Kaval said. “Pretty amazing.”

Kaval said the Summerlin land is also appealing because there is a lot of acreage to work with. He has said a mixed-use type of project similar to what the A’s propose to build in Oakland would be appealing in Las Vegas if a stadium isn’t built in the Resort Corridor.

Resort Corridor sites

Sites in and around the Resort Corridor remain of interest to the team, including the well-publicized Las Vegas Festival Grounds site on Las Vegas Boulevard and Sahara Avenue.

“Especially the ones in the north where you can turn the stadium and look down and see the entire Strip, that’s pretty compelling,” Kaval said. “We like the notion of some of the venues where people will get out of their car, or walking from a resort and they walk up and see in the stadium. When you can see into the stadium, it’s pretty incredible. It almost draws you in.

“Creating that type of environment and experience is something that we’re looking to create.”

Other sites, including a few west of Interstate 15 near Allegiant Stadium, in downtown and a UNLV-owned parcel of land on Tropicana Avenue near McCarran International Airport, also fit into what the team has in mind.

“I think there are a lot of ways to create positive views, that I think become iconic,” Kaval said. “Then the building itself becomes part of the skyline as well. We were happy to make such positive progress with Brad (Schrock) over the last couple of days.”

Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority CEO Steve Hill said the tourism agency has met with the A’s brass a few times during their visits, mainly providing information on the area or helping introduce team officials to area executives when needed.

Hill said there are plenty of areas in the Las Vegas Valley that a stadium could work in, which the LVCVA has helped relay to the A’s.

“We’ve got a bunch of locations that would be great,” Hill said. “I know they’re looking at quite a few of them.”

Whittling down the list

A feasibility study the A’s commissioned Legends Hospitality to conduct will help whittle down the list of possible sites. The team also is enlisting a local expert — Chris Kaempfer, a local land-use lawyer — to help break down the parcels and their possible uses.

“He has a lot of experience in this area and has been here for a long time,” Kaval said. “He’s helping us think through things like the airport… and making sure we’re making decisions that make sense. Having that local expertise is important.”

With the A’s keeping a keen eye on the Summerlin area since their first visit, the results of the survey and studies will be key to whether that remains a favorite or is crossed off the list.

“The question there is can you really draw the tourists from the resort hotels or not and how important that is,” Kaval said. “(That is something) which I don’t have an answer for. But if it’s something that is predominantly locals, then that is a great location.”

The team made the trip to Southern Nevada just a day after the Oakland City Council voted on a proposed $12 billion mixed-use project that would include a $1 billion ballpark at the Port of Oakland’s Howard Terminal.

But instead of voting on the A’s plan, the council approved an amended version of its own counterproposal, one the A’s don’t agree with.

The A’s are still reviewing the amended offer, but it remains to be seen whether a compromise can be reached, Kaval said.

To that point, the A’s will continue their efforts in Southern Nevada with plans to return to the area in two weeks.

“We have a series of additional meetings with stakeholders and resort operators that we’re going to continue to move forward with, because there’s been a lot of great conversations and there are a lot of people who are excited about the possibility of a Major League Baseball team here,” Kaval said. “We want to continue to move that process forward.”

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