Discussions of a new Las Vegas MLS stadium at the Cashman Field site are moving forward, as the city has approved a resolution for a 180-day negotiating period.
As was revealed last week, a new effort is taking shape for an MLS stadium as part of a potential expansion bid in Las Vegas. Plans call for Las Vegas Lights FC owner Brett Lashbrook to sell control of the Lights to a new investment group led by billionaire hedge-fund manager Seth Klarman of the Boston-based Baupost Group, while the city and the new owners embark on a new Las Vegas MLS stadium plan.
Should the plans move forward, the new stadium would be built at the 62-acre Cashman Field site in downtown Las Vegas. The 25,000-seat stadium would anchor a surrounding mixed-use development, currently billed as the Las Vegas Epicenter Sports and Innovation District.
Planning took a step forward on Wednesday, when the Las Vegas City Council approved a resolution to enter a 180-day negotiating period with Renaissance Companies Inc. The project is not all final, as a funding plan still needs to come together, but Wednesday’s vote was nonetheless a step forward for the effort. More from the Las Vegas Sun:
The proposed soccer stadium, which would seat 25,000 fans, would have a retractable field that could host other events. It would be privately owned, but it has not been determined how much public money would be involved, if any.
The exclusive negotiating agreement calls for Renaissance to present a detailed financing plan for the council to review and approve.
The agreement also requires team ownership to work with the city to make an application to MLS for an expansion team. Lights owner and founder Brett Lashbrook said he has an agreement in place to sell the team at the close of the negotiating period.
“This is like watching your child grow up and exceed all expectations,” Lashbrook said. “This is so much bigger than just soccer.”
There is still much to be resolved regarding the proposal, but it has a few elements that could be intriguing to MLS officials. A concept that calls for a new soccer-specific stadium to anchor a larger urban redevelopment plan fits a lot of MLS’s facility preferences, and the Lights have been a success under Lashbrook at Cashman Field since beginning USL Championship play last year.
As it relates to Las Vegas, a few questions will have to be answered over time, including whether MLS fits into a rapidly growing sports market. When Las Vegas previously made a run at MLS back in 2014, there were no major-league-level sports in the city: the Vegas Golden Knights did not exist as an NHL expansion team, and Mark Davis had not begun planning a new NFL stadium for the Raiders. Also opening since then: the $150-million Las Vegas Ballpark in suburban Summerlin. In addition, this might not be the only effort that surfaces for a Las Vegas MLS club, as Golden Knights owner Bill Foley has reportedly been exploring the idea of an expansion bid that calls for sharing the upcoming Las Vegas Stadium with the Raiders and UNLV football.
RELATED STORIES: City, Lights to Explore New Las Vegas MLS Stadium