Starting with the 2019 baseball season, the Las Vegas 51s will depart downtown’s aging Cashman Field for the shiny new suburban Las Vegas Ballpark.
The $150 million yet-to-be-built stadium will be an anchor of the Downtown Summerlin development at the far west end of the Las Vegas Valley. The ballpark will go up near a major mall, the Red Rock casino resort, and City National Arena, where the Golden Knights NHL team practices and the UNLV hockey team plays.
On top of being the home field for the 51s, the 10,000-seat stadium will also be used for dozens of special events annually.
The move will end a years-long effort by the Triple-A baseball team to relocate from 35-year-old Cashman Field, which suffers from an aging infrastructure and a lack of amenities typically found in today’s stadiums.
"It's unfortunate but after 35 years just the wear and tear and just natural regression of systems... it just doesn't work," Las Vegas 51s President Don Logan told KNPR's State of Nevada.
Logan said there are technologies available now to help young players improve that Cashman Field doesn't have, but the new stadium will have.
"We shouldn't have the worst stadium in the best city," Logan said.
Logan said the state of Cashman Field has hurt the franchise's efforts to keep an affiliation with a major league team. Its contract with the New York Mets expires at the end of next season and won't be renewed, but Logan expects the new ballpark to generate plenty of interest from other cities.
The team was affiliated with the San Diego Padres for 18 years and then the Los Angeles Dodgers for eight years. Logan said partnering with another West Coast team would be "ideal." Being part of an MLB team from the West Coast helps boost attendance numbers because so many people in Southern Nevada have moved here from California and other states in the West.
Logan said the new baseball stadium will be a chance to reintroduce the team to the city, which could include rebranding the whole operation, including a new name.
Las Vegas Ballpark will include 22 luxury suites, club seats, a swimming pool outside the outfield fence, and party and family-friendly zones.
Howard Hughes Corp., which developed the master-planned community of Summerlin, sees the ballpark as part of an overall effort to create a new-urbanism community with housing, shopping, restaurants, and entertainment options that are within walking distance of each other.
"We intend that it will be an energizer for the entire Summerlin community, but more than that it's easily reachable from anywhere in the valley," said Summerlin executive Tom Warden.
Warden said because of the proximity to the 215 beltway and two major roads the area will be easily accessible.
With the Golden Knights already drawing crowds and the Raiders on the horizon, some people might be concerned about the city's ability to continue to support a minor league baseball team. Logan is not one of those people.
"The reason we've been able to survive when so many others haven't is that it's affordable," he said, "And that's not going to change."
On the day the stadium was announced last month, the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority board approved paying $80 million over 20 years for ballpark naming rights and other marketing opportunities.
The LVCVA was criticized in some corners for being too generous in reaching the naming rights agreement, while the agency contends that getting out from its expensive responsibility to maintain Cashman Field made it a good deal.
Don Logan, president, Las Vegas 51s; Tom Warden, senior vice president of community and government relations, Howard Hughes Corp.
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