Texas-based developer Chris Milam announced his planned purchase of the Las Vegas 51s baseball team and, in the process, has ignited a fire once again over plans to build new arena facilities in Las Vegas, thus changing the landscape when it comes to our lack of professional sports.
The acquisition of the Triple-A franchise cost more than $20 million, according to an unnamed source used by the Las Vegas Review Journal. The paper reports this is just the first step in Milam’s plan to build three state-of-the-art facilities on the west side of I-15, opposite Mandalay Bay.
The $1.95 billion project has been dubbed the Las Vegas National Sports Center.
Within a 63 acre parcel of land, the proposed three building spread would include a 9,000-seat ballpark for the 51s, a 17,500-seat arena for a possible NBA franchise, and a 36,000-seat stadium for a Major League Soccer team.
51s executive director Don Logan helped broker the sale of the ball team, and reportedly said Milam wouldn’t be making the purchase if he didn’t think the arena plan would become a reality.
Of course, in a gambling town such as ours, businessmen have put forth multiple, sometimes larger plans which have fallen by the wayside in a bone yard of forgotten dreams. It is quite possible that this, the latest in a series of arena proposals over the years, is another gamble that, in the end, will not pay off.
Even in an economic downturn, with scores of locals out of work, and our worst-in-the-nation housing market, its nice to see that developers and fat-cats can still toss money around as if playing a giant game of ‘Monopoly’, while simultaneously pulling on the heart strings of sports fans, once again, all over the valley.