Escondido votes 4-1 to approve… something

If you’ve been following the Twitter feed, you’d know that tonight I’ve been following the Escondido city council’s decision on whether to move forward with its $50 million AAA ballpark plan for the Padres.

The City Council voted 5-0 on two items: to move forward with EIR work and the acquisition of some land that would be needed for the ballpark. The last item was a MOU that brought more questions than answers among the Council and public speakers. Because of these questions, the Council chose to approve the MOU 4-1, with every Council member expressing reservations in an effort to get a better deal down the road.

A better deal than what, you ask? Let’s break down this $50 million, 9,000-seat ballpark:

  • $40 million for ballpark construction
  • $5.1 million for remaining land acquisition for the ballpark alone
  • $0.4 million for demolition
  • $0.5 million for paving a parking lot
  • $6 million for additional property acquisition (relocations)
  • $5 million for infrastructure
  • $0.5 million for current expenses
  • $2.5 million for contingency costs

A little addition shows that the cost above totals $60 million, not $50 million as advertised. To help shore this up, Jeff Moorad and his partners will pony up $5 million. That leaves a gap of some $5 million, money that is not accounted for yet. The city is also getting the team to pay a lease of $200,000 annually, adjusted for inflation every 5 years. There’s a serious shortfall between that lease payment and the debt service on the $50 million, though the Council didn’t seem overly concerned, citing revenues from other sources (generally other taxes including tax increment).

There are multiple opportunities for the City to back away from the project. As is customary with big projects, staff were quick to explain that a MOU is not a binding contract, and that if the Council doesn’t approve any of the subsequent necessary steps (lease terms, development agreement), the project won’t move forward. Those decisions aren’t really due until February. While the Council made it clear they want to get a better deal, Moorad was equally clear in his statement as the last speaker of the night. Moorad was not really open to reopening the deal, and he was afraid that the ballpark may not get built due to “death by a thousand paper cuts.” We’ll see if the agreement in the end has any significant material changes. For now, it’s a serious gamble by Escondido, one that will tie up its redevelopment funds for up to 25 years.

The public speaker discussion was, other than for a nasty racial debate component, somewhat reminiscent of what I saw in Fremont. Fremont is a good analogue because like Escondido, it’s trying to make a splash as a city that’s not particularly large. The types of discussions Escondido citizens are having about the ballpark could happen nearly anywhere, and with the San Jose Giants possible moving elsewhere, it’s likely those discussions will happen somewhere else. It’s quite likely that this Escondido deal will create a sort of baseline for what the Giants (Bill Neukom and partners) will ask for elsewhere in the Bay Area.

A Triple-A ballpark is larger than the typical Single-A ballpark. Here’s a partial list of California minor league teams and stadium capacities:

  • San Jose Municipal Stadium – 4,200
  • Banner Island Ballpark (Stockton) – 5,500, $22 million cost in 2005
  • John Thurman Field (Modesto) – 4,000
  • Clear Channel Stadium (Lancaster) – 4,600, $14.5 million in 1996
  • Raley Field (Sacramento) – 11,000, $42 million in 2000
  • Chukchansi Park (Fresno) – 12,500, $46 million in 2002
  • Aces Ballpark (Reno, NV) – 9,100, $50 million in 2009

With inflation, a new Single-A park (~5,000 seats) would probably cost somewhere north of $25 million, though land cost could make that price tag vary considerably. Any city that might consider such a project would be smart to have it somewhere there is already a decent amount of public parking, along with BART, Caltrain, or even Capitol Corridor. The North Bay, which I’ve always thought would be a natural fit for a Giants minor league team, has none of those transit options. Yet I don’t consider transportation much of a deterrent, as I expect several groups to come out of the woodwork hoping to land the team if the A’s move to San Jose.

You know what it means if that happens? My work on this blog will NEVER end.

71 thoughts on “Escondido votes 4-1 to approve… something

  1. Some years ago there was talk of trying to get a Single A team to come to Concord. If the A’s DO move south, maybe that could resurface and if they do it near one of the BART stations your transpotation network is pretty much in place.

  2. @Georob–Concord Giant’s?
    Nah…San Jose Giant’s has a nicer ring to it, just like Oakland A’s does.

  3. The A’s might want to consider it if they stay in Oakland. I’ve always felt that they lost a lot of support in Contra Costa County to the Giants after ATT Park opened with the direct BART line coming from the Walnut Creek area. A minor league team out there might have helped with marketing. I mean, how many A’s season ticket holders come Stockton?

  4. How many come FROM Stockton….that is! When did the edit/delete function disappear? Now I gotta be careful :)

  5. @Georob–i never have seen an edit/delete function on here. There’s posts i wish i could edit, i screw up so bad sometimes.

  6. If you picked team names based on whether they have a nice ring to it, we’d be rooting for the San Francisco Seals and the Oakland Oaks. San Diego and Los Angeles (Angels) are lucky they got to keep their AAA names. On the other hand, the Seattle Rainiers might have been nixed by Budweiser.

  7. Glad the ex-Bevos got a new home, but not sure it was needed given they’ve got a near new stadium in Tuscon already and not sure it was a great idea for Escondido to blow 10 years of redevelopment funds in one night on a stadium that will end up costing them even more before it’s done.

  8. “You know what it means if that happens? My work on this blog will NEVER end.”
    .
    I look forward to reaping the benefits of your hard work for many years to come!

  9. Lew Wolff could kill at least half the traffic on this blog by announcing today that from now on the team will be called the “Bay Area A’s” no matter whether they play in Oakland, San Jose, or Timbuktu.
    As I’ve said before, the city name on the jersey is the most important thing to a sizeable number of people who post here. The 49′ers generate far more attention than the A’s yet their impending move to Santa Clara is far less controversial. Why? Because they’ve made it clear that the “San Francisco” name will stay.

  10. @Georob–two things—not up to LW to decide that by himself as any city who is investing in the land/infrasturucture will wan their name on the front and second..there is market value in the name itself to the owner—Bay Area anything isn’t going to promote a rush to the buy team gear—just like Golden State does nothing for most people

  11. @GoA’s–that’s why Moreno went back to the Los Angeles Angels. The Golden State name is so generic and lame. Change it to Oakland, paleez. Mayor Quan, who’s more a W’s fan than an A’s fan, will be working on Guber and Lacob on this one. SF gets all the press. Oakland gets press, but mostly negative, and that’s a shame. The city is pretty unique, but will always play 2nd fiddle to SF, and maybe even 3rd fiddle to SJ, who doesn’t get much respect either. Some people outside Cali think SJ is in Mexico or Puerto Rico.

  12. Rob,
    Big difference between SC and SJ…to the tune of nearly 1 million! Trust me, if the Niners were working with the City of SJ on a stadium, they would become the “San Jose 49ers.”
    By the way RM, didn’t LW state that the SJ Giants wouldn’t have to leave SJ when the A’s come to town? There presence is so minuscule (4k seat ballpark) that it seems it wouldn’t if they stayed in town or not.

    • @Tony D. – They would have to leave and they’d get compensated for it.

      @jk-usa – I love how in one breath you can criticize San Jose for being Nowheresville yet in the next hit them again for taking steps to erase that notion (getting a MLB team).

      Going back to the original topic, last night I looked at a bunch of map data to see where a Single-A ballpark could be built. Concord has some publicly owned land the near the BART station. A few other cities also may work. But there is one place where there is available land, near public transit, and may have an interested party who grew up in that city. That place is San Mateo, and the man in question is Bill Neukom. The end result is that Wolff/Fisher pays for Neukom’s ballpark at Bay Meadows.

  13. Meant to say “wouldn’t matter” at the end of my last post.

  14. @TonyD–San Jose 49ers? OMG, that sounds worse than the San Jose A’s!
    San Jose Giant’s and San Jose A’s co-existing? Hmm, I don’t think so. It”s one or the other, and you know which way I’m leaning.

  15. @jk–no worse than the oakland A’s sounded to A’s fans in Kansas City—

    @ML–interesting concept for the single A gints ballpark—would be great to see a post with more detail–amazing how you come up with these nuggets–

  16. Everybody knows San Jose is in Costa Rica.

  17. @GoA’s–at least KC got an expansion team, the Royals, 2 years later. I doubt that will happen with Oakland if SJ gets the A”s. 3 teams in the BA will be a tough go. If it does, Oakland should keep their name “the A’s’ like Cleveland and the Browns, and SJ can use their old name, the “Bees.”

  18. ST Hills,
    There’s a “San Jose” throughout Latin America, the Philippines, and probably Spain as well. I believe its the most common place-name in the world. Ours, of course, has the largest population.
    RM,
    Awesome idea for a Bay Meadows/”San Mateo Giants” ballpark. That would go a long way towards keeping the Peninsula solidly “Giants Country” after A’s move to SJ. Is this an “original” idea or something that you’re really hearing about? Maybe this is why the Quakes SSS will happen after 2015.

  19. Oakland is in Pittsburgh…just north of Detroit…

  20. @Nam Turk – Oh yeah! Great game by The Town against Tennessee in college hoops the other night. Wait… not that Oakland? Oh well.

  21. If I’m not mistaken, Bay Meadows was one of the sites under consideration when the Giants were looking for a new ballpark. Another site was the parcel of land across SFO.

  22. So if LW/JF agree to build the G’s a minor league park at BM’s for $50 mill, throw in another $100 mill for TR’s, Neukom may be satisfied? LW said he wouldn’t give them $200 mill, but how about $150 mill?
    All this money for Fremont land, SJ land , possible TR rights payoff, could be better used to make VC a reality.
    3 teams all south and west bay, ignoring a huge fan base in the eastbay, doesn’t make much sense.

  23. $150M? Seriously? If there is negotiations about TR’s, it will be at the behest of Bud Selig… Who can make it a dictation. It won’t be up to Bill Neukom at that point. It will be his opportunity to seal a deal that he likes before having one imposed upon him.

    • $150M? Seriously? If there is negotiations about TR’s, it will be at the behest of Bud Selig… Who can make it a dictation. It won’t be up to Bill Neukom at that point. It will be his opportunity to seal a deal that he likes before having one imposed upon him.

      Pure gospel Jeffrey!

  24. @jk-usa – Doubt it. The only upfront comp may be for the SJ Giants since there is a precedent for that. Comp for the SF Giants will probably be something far less sexy, such as making up for missed revenue targets – and that may not even be paid directly by the A’s, but rather MLB.

    • @jk-usa – Doubt it. The only upfront comp may be for the SJ Giants since there is a precedent for that. Comp for the SF Giants will probably be something far less sexy, such as making up for missed revenue targets – and that may not even be paid directly by the A’s, but rather MLB.

      I love it!

  25. I love the fact that SJ is being mentioned as a “little suburb” for which a “big city” is fighting for its sport life against. Gives it that kind of underdog feeling doesn’t it? Kinda something that has been said about a certain city starting with the letter O….oh the irony. ;) And now even the most hysterical of pro-O fans are trying to talk of an expansion team there? roflmao…..

  26. @TonyD–Pure Gospel?? Hmm, I don’t even think they’ll even be a deal with Neukom anyway cuz SJ is probably off the table. You can quote me on that one too. Not Pure Gospel, but just a strong hunch based on the O’s momentum at this point.
    @ST–the O has been the underdog in this thing for 4 years since LW said he’s done with the O. Being buddies with BS adds to that; BS saying it was a bad move the A’s coming to the O, and a dozen other things not in the O’s favor because SJ is the best place on earth for the A’s, according to many. But you know what, the O’s gonna pull off the upset of the decade. Next thing on the agenda after that glorious announcement: a new ownership group to take it off LW’s hands.

  27. I like the idea of a AAA-team close to the highway 24 CCCo. area, or in the north bay.

  28. I am a season ticket from Stockton, thank you very much. I know of at least 8 of us.

  29. Have the Giants eve considered moving their AAA team to San Jose? Seems like the least they could do since they are so insistant on T rights.

  30. @mainea’sguy: Building a AAA ballpark would be nearly as massive an undertaking as building a MLB-level ballpark.

  31. The Giants moving their AAA team to San Jose just drives home the Giants insistence that San Jose will only ever be entitled to minor league baseball. I say let the city of San Jose start preparing to sue now. MLB has strung San Jose along for long enough. Time to challenge the anti-trust exemption. What benefit has San Jose gotten from sitting around waiting and waiting?

  32. @pjk–has MLB ever been successfully sued by anyone? I read that last month Budweiser is suing MLB over some sponsorship deal.
    Okay, so you got SJ maybe suing if things don’t go their way, and then you got SF maybe suing if things don’t go their way. Oakland hasn’t threatened to sue as far as I know. My collusion theory probably doesn’t hold water, cuz LW did make some attempts to build there. Just wish his heart was in it for Oakland and look into VC with the city.

  33. Just for the record all: the city of Oakland merely stated they would begin an EIR for a “potential” 39k seat ballpark at VC…THAT’S IT! Nothing more, nothing less.
    If somehow that constitutes “momentum” vs San Jose’s recent land deals/land sales, well, then its your world I suppose.

  34. jk, Oakland City Attorney John Russo threatened to sue back when the study group was formed. I don’t think SJ has ever threatened to sue MLB, and I don’t think they actually would.

  35. @TonyD–hey, gotta start somewhere. The O was pretty much dead in the water there. Quan winning and Perata losing was huge. She called MLB as soon as she was announced the winner to continue negotiations. Perata would of high-fived LW and called BS and say never mind, we’re not interested if I’m in charge.
    @jeffrey–yep, that’s right, Russo did. We know Dennis Herrera of SF threatened through that letter to MLB.

  36. There’s a “suing topic” break out every few weeks as if it’s a herpes flare up. I’ll play along. Ok.

    .

    The City of San Jose will sue Major League Baseball if Major League Baseball chooses not to move a team to the City of San Jose.

    .

    Oh yah. Totally.

  37. jk why would Oakland keep the A’s name? They’ve no more right to it than Philadelphia did or KC did…

  38. What San Jose could use the grounds that MLB’s territorial rights effectively mean that San Jose, the nation’s 10th-largest city, can never have major league baseball, thus economically discriminating against the city. All you need is a sympathetic judge or two and bye bye to at least part of MLB’s rules.

    • What San Jose could use the grounds that MLB’s territorial rights effectively mean that San Jose, the nation’s 10th-largest city, can never have major league baseball, thus economically discriminating against the city. All you need is a sympathetic judge or two and bye bye to at least part of MLB’s rules.

      Yeah, a sympathetic judge with absolutely no understanding of the legal system. Sounds like a plan.

  39. Successfully sued matters in context, Vincent Piazza sued after the whole Giants to Tampa ordeal and got an out-of-court settlement out of it.

  40. That’s correct. TB got the Rays after being denied the Giants.

  41. Interesting pjk re: economic discrimination. Although it probably won’t come down to it, I’m sure SJ would have a good case against the anti-trust exemption because the city is effectively banned (currently) from pursuing a business (MLB) that other American cities enjoy.
    But alas, per M. Purdy, SJ should rightfully get its shot at the A’s soon enough; no lawsuit necessary.

  42. Gmanca,
    Good point about the Giants, TB and Vincent Piazza. Every time a lawsuit against MLB, or threat to anti-trust exemption, has come up, its been settled out of court or concessions made to those suing.
    But what if those suing decided to go all the way? The hell with out of court settlement? Very interesting to say the least.

  43. Not so sure, Tony D. The league meetings have concluded and there apparently was no vote on the t rights nonsense. Which means everything stays the same and the A’s either have to shoehorn in an unworkable solution in Oakland, keep failing at the Coliseum or leave the Bay Area. Meanwhile, a perfect solution awaits in San Jose but MLB forbids the A’s from considering it.

    I think we might hear about a lawsuit by San Jose probably early in the new year.

  44. What would be fun to see is a judge ruling that the Giants either play 30-40 games a year in San Jose or let go of the place. Wouldn’t that be neat? It ‘s your territory? So occupy it then and play dozens of games a season at 4,000-seat San Jose Municipal. Or, pay San Jose BigTime for loss of economic growth. If the Giants want to hold onto San Jose, then they ought to pay a very high price to do so.

  45. Pjk,
    The sale of the Texas Rangers, and approval of all owners, took place in late Summer. My point: major decisions by MLB don’t necessarily have to occur at the Winter Meetings. They can happen anytime Selig chooses.
    Briggs,
    While I don’t think there will be any lawsuits when this “BRC” study is said and done, I do believe one day the anti-trust exemption will be challenged in a court of law. And when those suing decide not to settle out of court, that will be the end of it.

  46. Tony’s right about the timing. None of this needs to happen during an official winter or midseason owner’s meetings. They have these things, conference calls? Maybe you’ve heard of them.

    As for a lawsuit from the City of San Jose – it’ll never happen. Not with their budget issues. SVLG, not that’s someone who could do it.

  47. Does anyone know if there is a proximity guideline on how near an MLB can locate their A, AA or AAA teams? I’m just trying to paint a picture on posible locations for the San Jose Giants should the A’s set up shop in SJ.

    • There is no proximity guideline. Territories held by MLB teams require permission from said teams to allow a minor league team to move in. The Staten Island and Brooklyn Penn League teams required mutual permission by the Yanks and Mets to set up camp. To this day, San Jose is exempt from T-rights except for major league teams moving in.

  48. @gmanca-thanks for references to TB….imagine if SJ got an expansion team. Then Oakland can keep there’s and the Giants stay put….now that would be fun (but totally unfeasible, i’m aware). I wonder how the LGO would react hehe….

  49. Lowell Cohn was on Radnich the other day. He says there’s no way the A’s are going to San Jose; that he’d grow to 6’5″ or be 30 again before that ever happening…lol

    Drag bar to a little past halfway (in Quicktime) when they get to A’s talk, starting with acquiring Matsui.

    [audio src="http://www.knbr.com/portals/3/podcasts/garyradnich/1214COHN.MP3" /]

  50. @jk–and LW says there is no way that he will build in Oakland—guess its Fremont or out of the area–which according to your past posts would make you feel great–

  51. @GoA’s– I won’t feel great if that happens. I’ll just stop following them. Fremont is a long shot, but who knows in this crazy mess? I think LW will sell locally. He’ll make a nice profit in his 5 years.

  52. I wouldn’t count on it….lock him out of SJ and he gains significant control over Oakland and any prospective Raiders deal…bottom line I wouldn’t expect him to be in any rush to do any favors–

  53. @GoA’s–”I wouldn’t expect him to be in any rush to do any favors–”
    Jeez, you may be right–and you think he’s despised now? This may get real ugly. If the city and MLB can get him to jump on board with VC, he can be kind of a hero in the O, like the Haas family. I’ll even give him some of my hard earned cash for tix. I’ve cut down big time on games the last few years–the least amount I’ve seen in 40 years of following them.

  54. come on jk–Oakland screws the A’s for the past 15 years always thinking of the Raiders and Warriors first and you expect him to jump thru hoops for Oakland—payback can be a bitch as they say–

  55. Bingo. While I’d be happy for the A’s to end up anywhere in the Bay Area including Oakland, if Oakland loses them I won’t feel bad for Oakland. They don’t deserve the A’s after the way they’ve disregarded them for the better part of 2 decades now.

  56. Mark Purdy, who has a DIRECT line to LW and other MLB owners, says the “BRC” is only on the San Jose track. And “Da Man” doesn’t have to wish to be a different height/age to make it happen.
    By the way all, who the hell is LC?

  57. Lowell Cohn has no direct knowledge of anything. As usual, he is just spouting his opinion.

  58. “Mark Purdy has a direct line to LW ans other MLB owners”? Says who? Mr. Purdy? Clearly, someone from MLB told Oakland that VC was the preferred Oakland location. How come Purdy didn’t break that news? He must have known, with his “direct line”. Lowell Cohn, Dave Newhouse and Monte Poole, are very good at what they do and don’t deserve the treatment from some folks around here.

    • “Mark Purdy has a direct line to LW ans other MLB owners”? Says who? Mr. Purdy? Clearly, someone from MLB told Oakland that VC was the preferred Oakland location. How come Purdy didn’t break that news? He must have known, with his “direct line”. Lowell Cohn, Dave Newhouse and Monte Poole, are very good at what they do and don’t deserve the treatment from some folks around here.

      “How come Purdy didn’t break that news?” Maybe because there wasn’t any “news” to break! And who cares if MLB “clearly” told Oakland that VC was the prefferred choice in “The O.” By the way, got proof of that David. FACT: MLB has visited SJ numerous times over the past few months, going over drawings and plans, because they like SJ. FACT: Purdy’s direct connections to MLB/Wolff; he’s not just spouting an opinion.
      Cohn, Newhouse, and Poole are just feeding you what you want to eat David; that’s it! As Jeffrey stated above, no direct knowledge of anything.

  59. Last post on this thread to rehash what we KNOW to date (i.e. facts):

    OAKLAND- announced they would commence an EIR for a potential 39K seat ballpark at Victory Court/JLS.

    SAN JOSE- Quid pro quo with AT&T, which will lead to the acquisition of the largest parcel at Diridon South. Airport West deal with Lew Wolff, which will provide him with 5 years to concentrate on Cisco Field vs. Earthquakes SSS. San Jose RDA land sale of 7 acres downtown in the amount of $31 million, which will be more than enough to cover the remaining land acquisitions at Diridon.

    Next time someone wants to talk to you about who has the “momentum,” send them to this post. C yall at the next thread!

  60. @TonyD–apparently you must be new to the bay area. LC was a long time Chronicle sports columnist, who now writes for the Santa Rosa Press-Democrat. He’s probably considered the best writer in the BA. Like David was saying, if Purdy is so much on the inside track, how come there’s no breaking news in his column on the A’s situation? Because he knows about as much as the rest, unless he’s linked up directly to Bud’s brain.

  61. Poole, Cohn and Newhouse are all fine writers. But read their columns, they are not speaking on behalf of people in the know. They are speaking on the basis of their opinion. Which is fine, but call them out on that isn’t giving them any undue “treatment.” It is calling it out. Nothing more, nothing less.

  62. @Tony D – if you want to silence the pro-Oakland crowd, it’s quite easy: ask them how they plan to finance the A’s stadium. ;) Next thread….

  63. And Lowell Cohn is so senior and revered around these parts that he has been able to step up from the San Fancisco newspaper to the almighty …Santa Rosa one !

  64. @ob–the Chron, losing millions a year for the last decade, thinned their ranks and many employees and writers took buyouts, while the rest took pay cuts.Santa Rosa’s paper, owned by NY TImes, is fairly solid compared to most, and hasn’t lost 60% of their circulation like the Chron has. Chron’s at 223k (down from 550k in the early 90′s) .The Mercury, CoCo Times and ANG papers thinned their ranks also. It’s a tough biz since the Net has gotten bigger and bigger. Glenn Dickey, also left the Chron back in 2005, has his own blog and also writes for the freebie Examiner. Dave Newhouse has been around forever, left the Trib after Media News bought them from Maynard in the early 90′s, went to the CoCo Times and is now back at the Trib. The Mercury sports is not much different than the CoCo Times and ANG papers. All owned by the same company, Media News, the consolidation has made the papers not much different outside local news and their mastheads. FYI, the Mercury News , before Media News bought them 4 years ago, for a few years had no local coverage for the A’s on the road games and just carried wired stories. They got the full coverage now by Joe Stiglich, who is the the one and only beat writer in all the dozen papers in the bay area that Media News owns. The A’s coverage in the Mercury is still usually relegated to page 5, while the G’s often get front page, even when they’re not playing and the A’s are. Yeah, I can really sense the interest and excitement of A’s baseball in SJ and the SB…lol

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