I remember going to my first major league baseball game. I was ten-years-old when I went to see the New York Mets at Shea Stadium. That ballpark was located in the middle of nowhere, surrounded by auto salvage yards in the borough of Queens. It seems like stadiums of that time were located on whatever excess piece of land was available.
In the earlier part of the 20th Century (pre-World War II) ball fields were located in the heart of major cities within walking distance or an easy commute for most fans. In the 1960s a host of cookie-cutter stadiums were built far away from the fans that then travelled by car and went home right after the game. Things came full circle with the next generation of ballparks. I remember going to Camden Yards in Baltimore shortly after it opened marveling at the Inner Harbor area with restaurants, bars and shops that made going to the game a fun experience rather than a traffic nightmare. I have since been to a number of the newer stadiums such as Coors Field in Denver, Jacobs Field (now Progressive), Bank One Ballpark (now Chase) and PETCO Park (amazingly still PETCO). The formula seems to be the same, dining, bars, and entertainment surrounding the ballpark. It would seem to be a good real estate investment opportunity.
In The Path of Progress
Many real estate investors seek short-term profits from flipping, rehabbing, and foreclosures, while others seek the cash flow from tenant occupied properties. But there are some investors or speculators who are seeking to create long-term wealth and are willing to take the associated risks and wait patiently for their investment to pay off. If they have the necessary investment capital or the ability to pull the funds together, investing near stadium sites has the potential to be very lucrative.
This type of investing may be similar to land banking where an investor acquires parcels of strategically located land and waits for progress to catch up. To be sure, that is not a short-term strategy. The economic struggles of many major metropolitan areas would seem to dampen the likelihood of new stadiums. However, that may be the wrong way to look at it. Stadium projects take a long time to materialize from initial proposals, to construction, to opening day. The economy will not stay down forever.
New Stadium in Las Vegas?
The need for a new arena in Las Vegas is not really disputed. The Thomas & Mack arena for basketball and Sam Boyd Stadium for football are aging facilities that have eclipsed their useful life. Retaining current events and attracting future ones requires a state-of-the art venue. The question is how does it get paid for? In the last several years a number of proposals have hit the drawing board with little chance of happening. Every one of the plans required some sort of public funding or special tax district to go forward. With the State of Nevada facing a financial crisis, as are many states, there is little appetite for financing a stadium project. Something changed last week.
A 40,000 seat domed stadium was proposed for the University of Nevada, Las Vegas (UNLV)to accommodate basketball, college football, concerts, and other events (article). It would be surrounded by restaurants and retail shops and replicate the stadium experience found in many urban areas. The key element being that no public money is required from any municipality, or even UNLV. It would be built on existing land on the UNLV campus and funded by a private developer in a joint venture with UNLV. It appears to a win-win for all involved and has a very good chance of coming to fruition. A patient real estate investor may do very well by investing in the new stadium area.
Patience, persistence and perspiration make an unbeatable combination for success. – Napoleon Hill
Photo Credit: Cliff