Mortenson, McCarthy to Build $1.5B Las Vegas Ballpark

The joint venture of Mortenson Construction and McCarthy Building Cos. has been named construction manager for a planned $1.5-billion ballpark on the Las Vegas Strip for the Major League Baseball Athletics team, which is relocating from Oakland, Calif.

Pending approval by the Las Vegas Stadium Authority, the firms “will be responsible for overseeing all construction-related activities,” according to a statement issued by the team, also known as the A’s. Those tasks include “preconstruction estimating, scheduling and logistics planning, bidding, coordination and management of the project’s labor and community engagement,” the statement added.

Mortenson and McCarthy previously built nearby Allegiant Stadium for the National Football League Raiders team, which also relocated from Oakland. The team statement praised the contractors for delivering the $2-billion stadium within the budget and on schedule in July 2020 after 31 months of construction.

“We’re thrilled to partner with them on this important phase of the project,” said David Kaval, Athletics team president.

“We’re thrilled to partner with them on this important phase of the project.”
—David Kaval, Team President, Athletics

Earlier this year, the Nevada Legislature approved a $380-million public financing package for a 30,000-seat ballpark on a 9-acre parcel currently part of the Tropicana resort complex. The state will provide $180 million in transferable tax credits, while Clark County will issue $125 million in general obligation bonds and provide $25 million to construct surrounding infrastructure.

No timeline for the project has been announced. The team’s relocation to Las Vegas, which must also be approved by Major League Baseball’s other team owners, is expected to take place after the 2024 season when the team’s current lease to play at the Oakland Coliseum expires.

Preliminary renderings by architect Schrock KC Architecture, Kansas City, Mo., released by the team in May depict a partly retractable roof with views of the Strip beyond the outfield. The back of the ballpark would face nearby Harry Reid International Airport. The venue also will accommodate concerts and other events.

Built in 1965, the multipurpose Oakland Coliseum has been home to the Athletics for 55 seasons and also twice hosted the Raiders before that team departed for Las Vegas. Efforts to secure a new ballpark in Oakland and other Bay Area sites spanned more than two decades and three ownership groups.

Progress on a proposed new facility in Oakland’s Howard Terminal area, announced in 2018, proved too slow for the Athletics and Major League Baseball, which in 2021 allowed the team to explore a move outside the region.

— By Jim Parsons


DOE Makes Concessions To New Mexico in WIPP Nuclear Site Permit

The nation’s only geological repository for transuranic nuclear waste, located in southeastern New Mexico, can continue operating under a new agreement by the state, the U.S. Energy Dept. and a Bechtel unit that is facility contractor.

Critics of DOE’s draft document to renew the permit for the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant (WIPP) had requested a public hearing to air concerns related to DOE’s plans for the massive underground storage site. But managers for DOE, the state environmental agency and Bechtel unit Salado Isolation in Mining Contractors LLC were able to negotiate modifications that all parties, including stakeholders, agree to, officials announced. The Bechtel unit, called SIMCO, in February replaced Nuclear Waste Partnership LLC as the entity responsible for managing WIPP operations.

The agreement, which now cancels a permit hearing, directed the modified permit to be released by the state at an Aug. 15 public meeting. The final permit will be issued in October and take effect in November, state officials said.

Mark Bollinger, manager of DOE’s Carlsbad, N.M., WIPP field office, said in a statement that the agency “looks forward to continued dialogue and cooperation between New Mexico, DOE and all stakeholders.”

Under the agreement, DOE must provide greater regulatory oversight of the site and follow state safeguards in authorizing disposal of nuclear waste in two newly constructed WIPP storage areas.

Located about 26 miles from Carlsbad, the WIPP facility was built in the 1980s for disposal of defense-generated transuranic waste. The repository is carved out of a 2,000-ft-thick salt bed formed 250 million years ago. Waste is disposed about 2,150 ft below the surface in panels mined from the salt bed. A panel consists of seven rooms, each divided by a 100-ft beam of salt. An underground fire in 2014 halted operations at the facility until January 2017.

Critics of the project have contended the DOE has not taken significant steps to identify and site another geological repository for waste storage and is instead expanding the New Mexico facility, presenting a potential risk to local communities. DOE counters that it is authorized under federal law to dispose of 6.2 million cu ft of waste, and that the amount of waste to be stored at the repository has not changed.

Don Hancock, director of the nuclear waste program for watch-dog group Southwest Research and Information Center and a long-time activist, said that while neither government officials nor opponents gained everything desired in reaching the settlement, his organization’s top concerns were addressed. He told ENR that chief among those concerns, for many community groups and the state, was ensuring that DOE be more transparent about steps it is taking to identify another U.S. repository site outside of New Mexico.

DOE balked at being required to provide an annual public update as a condition of maintaining its operations permit, Hancock said. Language was added during negotiations to give the state environmental agency enforcement authority if conditions are not met. “That was important to us,” Hancock said.

The modified permit also enables the state to revoke the permit and begin the reissuance process should Congress increase WIPP’s storage capacity or expand the types of waste it can accept.

A facilitator participated in negotiations, as did Megan McClean, the state environmental agency’s acting WIPP program manager. “The process worked given a strong mediator, the participation of the [state agency] secretary and the willingness of all parties to understand the interests of others rather than sticking to hardline positions,” she said in a statement.

— By Pam McFarland


Ryan Cos. Is Developer, Designer, Builder for MOB in Scottsdale, Ariz.

Contractor Ryan Cos. announced in July it has broken ground on One Scottsdale Medical, a multi-tenant medical office building in Scottsdale, Ariz.

The contractor also is the project’s developer and designer. The building will be part of the One Scottsdale mixed-use development, which includes 2.86 million sq ft of commercial space, 2,000 residential units and 400 hotel rooms.

Noting the continued population growth in the area, Jaime Northam, Ryan’s vice president of health care development, said, “The project’s accessibility and proximity to the additional amenities of One Scottsdale will greatly benefit community members and health care providers.”

Exalt Health, a provider of post-acute care rehabilitation services, will occupy 50,000 sq ft of space, while City of Hope, a cancer research and treatment organization, will occupy 30,000 sq ft.