Remember those fancy renderings the A’s released of their proposed Las Vegas ballpark, built right on the Strip?
The A’s are now telling people to forget all about them.
A’s director of design Brad Schrock spoke to the Las Vegas Review-Journal this week and said that the team is telling the architectural groups interested in building the ballpark to ignore the initial renderings.
“We told the groups, ‘You saw renderings in the newspaper, but wad those up for now,’” Schrock said. “We are really encouraging them to think creatively about the different ways to solve the problem. It will be fun to see what we get back.”
Those renderings were produced just as the A’s were meeting with Nevada lawmakers, seeking approval for up to $380 million in taxpayer money to help build the 30,000-seat, nine-acre stadium that is expected to cost $1.5 billion total. After several special sessions, Nevada Gov. Joe Lombardo signed Senate Bill 1 into law on June 15.
In some ways, it was obvious from the beginning that the renderings were not feasible. They appeared to show the ballpark on a much larger plot of land than the nine acres the A’s have. Schrock also acknowledged that a retractable roof, which the first renderings showed, is not likely to come on a stadium built on such a small plot.
“The real interesting problem about the Tropicana site is we have a footprint that’s basically constrained within nine acres,” Schrock said. “Traditionally [with] big, retractable roofs, you move off of the footprint.”
Another thing that isn’t set in stone, apparently, is the stadium’s seating capacity. Schrock said the A’s will be flexible for “a unique seating capacity,” which could go up to 33,000 seats.
“That really puts us in a sweet spot for a lot of other events aside from just baseball,” Schrock said. “So we want to make sure the way that the seating bowl is designed has the flexibility to accommodate multiple events and that it’s a really fun place for fans to come and watch a game.”
Schrock told the Review-Journal that two groups are finalists to design the team’s stadium: a combined effort from the firms Bjarke Ingels Group, which designed the Howard Terminal renderings for the A’s in Oakland, and HTNB, which helped designed the Raiders’ Allegiant Stadium in Las Vegas; and Gensler, a global architect firm that has a history of designing sports venues and has a Las Vegas office.
Schrock said the A’s consider “creating the ballpark that has the greatest ability to feel like it’s outdoors” their top goal for the fan experience in building a new stadium. They could use moveable vertical walls that can allow outside air in, which is seen at other Southwestern stadiums like Allegiant Stadium and the Arizona Diamondbacks’ Chase Field in Phoenix.
“That’s a much more economical solution than trying to move a big piece of the roof,” Schrock said. “It also gives us the ability to create some pretty dynamic views (of the Strip) out of the outfield wall. All of those things are being studied right now.”
The Review-Journal reported that the two groups have until early November to give the A’s a 75% concept design of their stadium, with a winner chosen based on “constructability and cost.”
Early November would indicate the A’s want to have a set design ready for MLB’s relocation committee. A source told this news organization that MLB owners have a scheduled meeting in November, after the World Series, before the annual Winter Meetings in December.
The A’s have reason to rush the design process through to that point. The A’s will be cut off from MLB collective bargaining once again if they “have not entered into a binding agreement in Oakland or another city” to build a ballpark by Jan. 15, 2024.
That date is now less than seven months away. And even after getting Nevada lawmakers to approve money for the team six weeks ago, the only thing we know for certain is that home plate would face northwest, so the stadium looks out towards the Strip.
Jason Mastrodonato contributed to this report.