Questions Without Answers
With most recent poll indicating Santa Clara residents are slightly in favor of building a new stadium for the 49ers adjacent to the Great America theme park, my mind is wrought with questions.
Most of them have little to do with Santa Clara. No, I am thinking about the two teams that inhabit the Coliseum and what a stadium in Santa Clara would mean to them. In the Raiders case, the new stadium in Santa Clara could mean a few things.
It could serve as pressure on the City of Oakland to “double down” with a new stadium on the old Homebase site. It could also mean pressure from the NFL to cohabitate with the 49ers and become the Oakland Raiders of Santa Clara. This is all assuming Cedar Fair’s concerns are addressed. But really, this is all secondary in my mind.
The real questions for me have to do with the A’s, my first true love. How will a push, if one is coming, from the NFL to move the Raiders south impact the City of Oakland’s efforts for an A’s stadium? How would the 49ers unavailability to share a new stadium in Oakland impact to financial feasibility of a new Oakland stadium? Likewise, how will a Raiders push to stay in Oakland impact the A’s? Would the City be able to pull together two stadium deals at the same time considering all that is going on economically right now?
When last we checked in with the City of Oakland, there were four potential sites (the Coliseum, Howard Terminal, JLS West and Victory Court). As of now, we have no real answer to the biggest question: how much will a stadium at any of these sites cost?
But getting more in depth, here are the questions I have about Oakland’s baseball efforts in general. Answers to these questions will go a long way toward proving “viability.” I have posed these questions to people within Oakland’s City Hall and they have yet to be answered (Not that I expect answers at this point):
- Howard Terminal is a site that has been around a while, and reportedly rejected by the A’s. In the recent Brunner Report, there is mention of changes in Jack London Square have made it more plausible. What are those changes?
- Is there any concern that converting Howard Terminal into a baseball stadium will cause problems with the Port? In an ideal situation would those berths be moved somewhere else or just go away? I understand there is a long term lease for that property as well, does that create a challenge?
- Shifting a bit, of all the sites in Oakland, my personal favorite is JLS West. One of the common challenges I encounter when going to Jack London Square is transportation. I can drive and park, but on a busy day that is sometimes hard. I once read a study about the possibility of Light Rail or Street Cars connecting Uptown/Broadway, Downtown and the Waterfront. Is there any movement on this? It seems like that would be a big benefit for JLS and a stadium at the JLS West site.
- The Public Market in Jack London Square has been delayed a few times. What is the current status of that project? To your knowledge, does the developer see a nearby baseball stadium as a good thing?
- This past week I was downtown for business and I decided to take a stroll from the City Center down to JLS. The empty Barnes and Noble building really made the place feel almost deserted. Is there a plan for that retail space? Potential tenants that you know of?
- Victory Court is an intriguing possibility. On our mock up we had the stadium angled so you could see out into the Bay and Alameda, it was quite an enticing idea. The two questions I couldn’t really answer when researching the site was, what challenge does the Union Pacific ROW present for the site? And, I read in an East Bay Express article of a coffee company that estimated a move would cost around $30 Million dollars. Are these sort of expenses already known quantities for the City of Oakland? Do you have a plan for purchasing each of these parcels and moving the businesses, or is that something you get to after the MLB Panel is done with it’s work?
- Victory Court is fairly close to the Oak2ninth development site. I remember there was quite a bit of back and forth about open space in the EIR process for Oak2ninth. Is there any concern that a proposed stadium at Victory Court would run into similar questions? If so, do you see them as relatively easy to overcome?
- What is the status of Oak2ninth? I look at the renderings online and they are gorgeous, but I haven’t seen a whole lot of activity in the area just yet. Is there a timetable for completing that project?