The Knauss Plan, for now

Clorox CEO Don Knauss has been making the rounds, first on KQED yesterday, then on KNBR this morning, and finally on The Game during the lunch hour. All three are worth consuming, so if you haven’t done that yet, get through all three links, then come back and read the rest of this post. Cool?

Okay. Knauss was very consistent with his messaging, which should be no big deal for a CEO of a high profile public company. The bullet points from his pitch were these:

  • Knauss and other East Bay business interests would like to meet with Lew Wolff and perhaps MLB to discuss options in Oakland.
  • If current ownership (Wolff/Fisher) continues to believe that there is no shot in Oakland, Knauss has put together a potential ownership group with members in the East Bay and others in SoCal that could buy the team, keep it in Oakland, and build a ballpark.
  • The group has identified three sites in Oakland. The preferred sites are the two on the waterfront: Howard Terminal and Victory Court. The Coliseum complex is the third site, though it is not “preferred”.
  • Financing for the stadium would be patterned after the model the Giants used to build AT&T Park. This includes the selling of seat licenses.

During The Wheelhouse, Mychael Urban pressed Knauss for answers about plan specifics and why the group has never directly contacted Wolff. Knauss replied that in the first case, he wanted to at least until after the May owners meetings (though he didn’t say anything would be released at that point), and in the second case, he “wanted to respect the process” MLB has put forth with the commissioner’s panel and so forth.

Well then, how does one go about making it work as the Giants did in China Basin? Thankfully, some very smart economists - John M. QuigleyEugene Smolensky, and Stephen J. Agostini - have gone to the trouble of diagramming the process.  The flowchart below comes from a paper titled Stickball in San Francisco. It’s better known as the San Francisco Giants’ case study in the book Sports, Jobs, and Taxes by noted sports economists Roger Noll and Andrew Zimbalist. Ready? Here’s the secret recipe:

Step-by-step instructions on how to follow the Giants' plan. Click for a larger version.

See? Easy peasy, no sweat right? Sure, there are a few things that are different, such as the need for a ballot measure. Oakland has long claimed that it doesn’t need one. That claim originated from two theories: that either Oakland could leverage redevelopment money or the powers within the Coliseum Authority (JPA). The latter still stands technically. The former? As long as Oakland’s pledge to take care of costs to put the site together stands, and those site costs keep rising (Victory Court was at last count $250 million), the Mayor and City Council are going to have an extremely difficult time convincing the voters that they shouldn’t vote on it. Even in the Coliseum’s case, going without a vote is inherently very risky because many of the people on the JPA board are standing office holders, such as Ignacio De La Fuente and Scott Haggerty. The stench of the Mt. Davis deal still hangs thick and heavy over the Coliseum, and the Authority is having trouble refinancing existing debt at the complex. Does anyone honestly think a $2+ billion megaproject like Coliseum City won’t go to a vote? The project is calling for its own streetcar! Maybe Knauss will don a Harold Hill costume the next time he does a press conference.


View Larger Map

Then again, Knauss expressed a preference for one of the waterfront sites. We know that Victory Court is incredibly expensive and that some current landowners aren’t exactly going to roll over for a ballpark, even though they are great Oakland supporters. Maybe it’s time to revisit Howard Terminal one more time. It’s difficult to see how the Howard Terminal site would work. Matson, one of the key corporate supporters at yesterday’s press conference, consolidated operations at HT several years ago. There’s no readily available place to relocate Matson should they give up HT. I suppose it’s possible they could give up a portion, say 15 of 50 acres, in exchange for some kind of break from the Port. Then it just be a matter of dealing with the nearby power plant and prepping the site, which would require completely new pilings/foundation work (just like AT&T Park). Judging from the price tag for SF’s Piers 30 & 32, the cost would be around $80 million to start plus whatever the price is to compensate Matson. Whatever that total is, it’s probably cheaper than Victory Court. (Personally I’d pick HT just because of its proximity to Beer Revolution, but that’s just me.)

Finally, there’s the matter of seat licenses. Knauss and his partners think there’s a market there. Lew Wolff has said there isn’t a market from the beginning. Who’s right? I’ll defer to Wolff, who has access to the season and advance ticket sales rolls and has a pretty good idea of what people are willing to pay for tickets and premium offerings. The Giants’ $255 million financing package included $75 million from 15,000 charter seat licenses. That’s a $5,000 average upfront payment (available in installments, of course). Is the market really there as Knauss claims? Consider for a moment that the 49ers are selling seat licenses right now. The Raiders, if they get a new stadium built at the Coliseum, will require their own seat licenses. They may also be in the mix for whatever venue the Warriors cook up. The A’s would be entering the fray with, if using the formula the Giants used, 20% of the ballpark cost, or $100 million of seat licenses. The A’s don’t have the Giants’ 25,000-strong season ticket roll, or the reputation of having a large number of premium ticket buyers (Green Collar Baseball, anyone?). So you’d have three, possibly four teams selling seat licenses along with more expensive tickets. That’s a good way to oversaturate the East Bay, a market which has historically shown trouble maintaining solid fanbases unless the teams are ultra-successful. These financing terms don’t work unless great support can be maintained through thick and thin, or at least if some of the load can be sloughed off to corporate interests. Otherwise someone has to make up the shortfall, and as we saw from the OFMA debacle, the results can be disastrous. MLB and Selig know this, and they won’t be impressed just because someone says “we can work it out”. Selig will want to see pledges, upfront payments, real tangible proof that seat licenses can be supported and that there won’t be a shortfall that drags down the franchise. The CBA has a provision that the A’s have to come off revenue sharing by 2016, unless they’re still at the Coliseum. MLB is not going to approve a plan that creates huge risk for the team and causes them to stay on revenue sharing even with a new ballpark.

Perhaps the best predictor of how portable the Giants’ financing model is comes from a 2002 AP article which quotes former owner Peter Magowan and  Rob Tilliss, the JP Morgan consultant who put the deal together. Magowan:

“You cannot expect a private ballpark to be built in Cincinnati or Milwaukee, there’s not the economic base there. It’s not the Silicon Valley,” he says. “And we couldn’t do it today. We were very lucky in our timing we had low interest rates and a very good economy.”

Tilliss:

“It definitely is not a one-size-fits-all kind of model.”

Knauss’s argument is that economically, Oakland is closer to San Francisco or Silicon Valley than it is to Cincinnati or Milwaukee. I find that hard to believe.

138 Responses to The Knauss Plan, for now

  1. Nam Turk says:

    Finally, the race card.

  2. RC says:

    Finally, someone with a coherent argument. Looking forward to 2020… how about that Brandon Inge?!!!

  3. Sid says:

    The Giants got everything secured in a time where loans were flying everywhere for commercial businesses. Even more so than during 2001-2008 because of the technology sector in the general area booming on on smoke and not real ideas.

    The Giants are correct they could not pull of a privately financed ballpark in San Francisco in this day and age. They would be asking the citizens of San Francisco for some sort of public subsidy to get it done.

    Land in SF in this day and age costs a lot of money and to build does as well….700M price tag for the Warriors on Pier 30 says it all. If an arena would cost 700M in SF, what would ATT Park cost in this day and age?

    The Giants debt service would run so high they would turn to San Jose in a heartbeat themselves.

    That brings me to my next point, if San Francisco would have a hard building privately how in Bud Selig’s wildest dreams could he nor anyone expect the A’s to build privately in Oakland with sites that have been eliminated years ago? This plus the Giants 12 miles away having already cannibalized the sponsors and affluent fans?

    Howard Terminal was eliminated years ago as from what Wolff stated in an interview there is a sewer line below the area that cannot be moved. Victory Court, Oakland just eliminated on their own as 250M just to say hello makes no sense and they saw that…. The Coliseum even Knauss says is not preferable.

    At the end of the day, there is only once site that is ready to build that can secure financing and sponsors in the Bay Area….San Jose CA.

    Bud Selig knows this and the BRC knows this hence why they do not release their findings to the public with good reason.

    They do not want everyone to see the flaws in their system and how they have screwed the A’s over while favoring the Giants in every way.

    If Oakland had any kind of feasibility Selig and the BRC would have gone to Wolff and instructed him to try.

    But why have they not? It is because they know Oakland is not viable and they have done the research and know San Jose is the only way.

    Selig thought when he appointed the BRC that Wolff may have missed something but his worst nightmare came true….Wolff missed ZERO when it came to the East Bay.

    Now Selig is trying to get the two teams to agree when he has to himself has to do what is right but at the same what is tough and fair for baseball.

    The A’s have to get to San Jose or they are done in the Bay Area, if there was another alternative of any kind even relocation to another city Selig would do it, do not doubt it.

    Selig gets this done, how long? Who knows, if he does nothing after this year you will start to see Wolff and San Jose start doing some crazy things…

  4. RC says:

    It’s an interesting point- it would have made things a lot easier for Bud Selig if the BRC had found an viable spot in the East Bay to build a ball park. Then he could have taken the Giants side and said SJ was off limits- build where I showed you in the East Bay. And most likely, we would have heard about this location at some point. Money no object I wanted my Victory Court waterfront BP, but maybe that’s not realistic, not even as a backup plan.

  5. Bauce says:

    YeahYeah the truth card is what some hate….considering Oakland’s history we know why a lot of people truly hate the area with unrivaled passion. “Thug”, “Slum” and `ghetto” always attach to Oakland….gee I wonder why. Compared to many areas in USA that is a joke

  6. Jeffrey says:

    It must suck to that cynical and delusional all at once.

  7. Pudgie says:

    Best case scenario from where I stand:
    .
    Raiders announce tomorrow that they are going to partner with the 49ers to build the new stadium in Santa Clara.
    .
    JPA works with Athletics to convert Coliseum into baseball only venue.
    .
    As was hinted by McGowen and his buddy from JP Morgan, I don’t think there is enough money to be made anywhere in the Bay Area to pay off a stadium debt of $500 million (before interest) in the current economy.
    .
    The most pragmatic move for the franchise (and for the fans), would be to stay at the Coliseum and renovate.
    .
    So, in a weird way, I actually think Knauss is valid in suggesting that Oakland is the best place for the team to play . . . but the notion of building a privately financed stadium in Oakland is just ludicrous.

  8. RC says:

    Interesting idea. Coliseum City is a stretch, so I follow the logic. You are still playing in the shadow of AT&T in not the best baseball only destination, but if you could do it cheap, maybe it would be worth it. The problem is, from a structural standpoint, I don’t see how. It was always easier to do the opposite- turn it into a football only venue. After all, Mt. Davis is fairly new and looks like half a football stadium already. But you want to tear down Mt. Davis, and try to update the really old part of the Coliseum. I don’t even know if that is possible without some major work.

  9. TW says:

    Raiders leave and the Coliseum is renovated into a better baseball venue? That really is the first Oakland plan that has some grasp on reality. It would be interesting to see what the cost of renovating the Coliseum would be. However, it doesn’t address several issues. 1, Who pays for the 200million renovation cost (just a guess). 2, the immediate area around the coliseum is not going to help in drawing fans. 3, serious doubt would remain that a renovated Coliseum would dramatically improve the A’s attendance. 4, it does nothing to change the fact that big corporate dollars are just not there in sufficient quantity.
    +I disagree that no where in the Bay Area can a privately financed stadium work.
    +The renovated coliseum plan may not be attractive enough to become reality but at least it isn’t a foolish political hot air.

  10. Jeffrey says:

    Peter McGowan is not exactly a beacon of objectivity on the subject. It isn’t up to him to privately finance anything and it is in his interest to cast doubt that it can be done.
    .
    There is plenty of capital in the Bay Area to privately finance a stadium. The trouble is that most of it is concentrated in the South Bay and most of the folks who control it signed a letter to Bud Selig asking him to move the team.
    .
    Don Knauss and crew have taken the wrong tact from the start. Expecting MLB to be impressed with an escrow account that had $500k in it (he says $1M now, but it was widely reported as $500k 2 years ago) when that was less than 1% of the construction costs seems foolhardy.
    .
    But, it was their strategy to convince MLB that there was an ownership problem that led to a revenue problem rather than a weak market. I am still baffled that LGO and crew hasn’t done more to show that there is a better market that Lew is ignoring… Why not get the facebook group to actually matter? Why not buy tickets now? Why not host corporate events at the Coliseum and make a big show of it?
    .
    In reality, I think this “announcement” is counter productive. It signals that the business community isn’t on board with Coliseum City, at least as it relates to the A’s. This reaffirms one of Lew Wolff’s talking points “There is no site.”

  11. David says:

    @Jeffro – How much money did Cisco, or the SVLG put in escrow? Its hard to keep up with all the details.
    .
    Also, as a show of good faith – couldn’t Cisco and SVLG buy tickets, or host a corporate event right now too? They could buy a whole section of tickets and have a bunch of signs praising Lew Wolff. Here’s one for them: “Quan lied, she never tried”.

  12. Dan says:

    What we were talking about the other day appears to have come to pass. The state is coming for the San Jose ballpark land and the money that Oakland is using for the Coliseum City EIR…

    http://www.marinij.com/ci_20562249/state-controller-seeks-return-redevelopment-agency-property-assets

  13. Pudgie says:

    As an Athletics fan, I am not sure how comfortable I am with the thought of the franchise taking on the huge risks of financing a new stadium, even if it is located in San Jose.
    .
    The Giants were able to do it successfully, but there have been many more failures:
    .
    SkyDome
    Target Center
    Rose Garden
    Joe Robbie Stadium (in part due to estate taxes after Robbie’s death)
    Nationwide Arena, Columbus
    Citi Field?
    California Memorial Stadium (renovation)?

    The A’s success in San Jose in not a slam dunk, by any means, and they would be assuming all of the risk on their own.

  14. Dan says:

    Pudgie,

    Not quite sure about your failures list. Cal Memorial Stadium wasn’t funded by a franchise (or even privately) nor is it even complete so I don’t know how you could term it a failure yet. Citi Field was about 50% publicly financed so again not funded entirely by the franchise nor has it been a failure (remember Wilpon lost his money to Madoff not because of the ballpark). Skydome was also funded majority via public funding and was a technical masterpiece on opening and has remained a decent if aging stadium that hasn’t harmed its franchise in the slightest. Not sure why you’d consider Joe Robbie Stadium a failure either, as it is largely the basis for every football stadium built since it opened and is still a great venue entering it’s 25th season.

  15. pjk says:

    David: You can keep pretending Oakland is as economically viable as the South Bay. I wish it was. But reality says otherwise. Cisco has a signed deal for $120 million, more than twice what Clorox supposedly says it would pay. Who makes up the difference? A’s owners out of their personal fortunes, of course..

  16. David says:

    pjk – I am a proud Californian. I have nothing against Redding, Eureka, Sacramento, San Jose, Turlock, or San Diego. I also am proud of Silicon Valley. Sure there’s more fortune 500 companies in SJ. I wish them all – continued prosperity. I just want the A’s to remain in Oakland. The richest guy doesn’t always get the prettiest girl. When the Expos moved to Washington, why didn’t they go to SJ? There’s more to it, then just setting up shop next to the wealthiest zip codes, imo.

  17. pjk says:

    Why didn’t the Expos go to San Jose? That’s a peculiar question. Maybe because there’s already two teams in the Bay Area and DC had been clamoring to get a team back for 35 years and was willing to spend public funds on a ballpark? Oakland is unwilling to spend any funds on a ballpark and doesn’t pencil out as a place to privately finance a ballpark. In these days of tight, tight money, which banks are going to risk $500 million on such a venture in a place with a history of poor corporate and fan support? And with fierce competition 12 miles away? None….

  18. Sid says:

    Wow David, how easily you forget Cisco has already pledged 120M in naming rights while there has not been any Oakland business to pledge anything near the sort.

    These people like Knauss, Quan, and other Pro-Oakland people do not understand the issue at stake here.

    Economic viability is only a piece of the bigger problem.

    I ask, what is the bigger issue here? The answer is a viable site that can actually be built upon regardless of financing or who pays for it.

    The East Bay (not just Oakland) has zero viable sites, that was the job of the BRC to confirm what Wolff has been saying all along that zero viable sites exist in the East Bay.

    You can sit there and say Victory Court, Howard Terminal, or even the Coliseum would work but in reality if any of those sites could work the BRC would have instructed Wolff to turn around and try.

    Pro-Oakland people are the worst when it comes to realism and hard facts.

    Wolff did try in the East Bay, he tried for years even when he worked for Schott and Hoffman who sold the team because they felt a new ballpark would never occur in the East Bay and the Giants would never let them into San Jose.

    Wolff took the team on thinking he was more creative than Schott and Hoffman because of his real estate background but in the end the recession killed that creativity in Fremont and he lost 24M doing so.

    In the end San Jose is the only way, if not for the Giants the A’s would have been in the South Bay years ago…..Selig is a coward and a lawsuit will occur from San Jose if this is not resolved this year.

  19. Jeffrey says:

    Hey David, I don’t think an escrow account is really important. Oakland boosters are trying to fight the perception that there is not enough corporate support in Oakland and their tact was to create an escrow account and show that they could sell 34 luxury boxes. I think they thought that having an escrow account would show that, and it may well show that there is enough support for 34 luxury boxes. That is just a small part of a larger financing picture… There is a reason the escrow account (as per Don Knauss) was ignored. It didn’t paint the picture that LGO thought it did.
    .
    San Jose is trying to show that they are the better place for a privately financed stadium. Hell, they are trying to show that San Jose is the only place it can happen. It doesn’t help the SVLG to host events in Oakland. Especially if they are saying “build it in San Jose.”
    .
    In the end, I don’t care who is right… Just get it done. If it has to be in Oakland and with new owners, let’s do it. If it can be done in San Jose (as seems to be MLB’s current process based on Bud Selig’s recent comments) then get on with it.
    .
    In a way, the Knauss thing is good news for all of us because it means relocation out of market is even less likely. Of course, if MLB wants the A’s to move to an inferior market like San Antonio (I was just there this week and I can’t imagine that market supporting MLB over the long haul) what we want really doesn’t matter.

  20. pjk says:

    …if San Antonio or Portland, whatever, comes up with a publicly funded ballpark, which won’t happen in either San Jose or Oakland, the A’s are gone. MLB likes publicly funded balllparks.

  21. thisplanetsux says:

    I don’t know that there would be much support from MLB for the A’s leaving the Bay Area, EVEN IF a small-market like Portland or San Antonio put together a publicly financed project. I think ALL the NL West teams would instantly knee-jerk oppose it, along with many other clubs, for creating the largest one-team metro area in baseball. Even with the A’s measly 15,000 per game attendance (in a crappy old yard with a losing team that’s trying to move), that’s a lot to be gifted to a franchise that’s already doing pretty well. Will the other owners be happy to see the Giants add that much to their bottom line, in order to gain another small-market for them to worry about?

  22. Anon says:

    @ TPS/David/Eb/Columbo – given that Oakland’s “white knight” Don Knauss is now publicly endorsing a PSL plan to play for the stadium. I am curious if you agree with this strategy and for the city/county to be on the hook if it does’t work out (a la the Raiders)?!

  23. David says:

    doesn’t Wolff’s SJ “plan” involve PSL’s?

  24. Marine Layer says:

    @David – No. That fact is in the original post. I’d like to hear what support there is for PSLs in Oakland.

    @Anon – The city/county can’t be “on the hook” because they can’t raise money to build a stadium. It would be on the team owners to assume that risk.

  25. pjk says:

    So fans used to getting in the ballpark in Oakland for as little as $2 are suddenly going to fork over thousands of dollars for PSLs? Get real. PSLs can only work when there is great demand for seating. I don’t see how it can work for a team known for its vast acreage of empty seats. The Giants got away with it because, well, they’ve always had more fans than the A’s, even when they were stuck in awful Candlestick. Radio and TV ratings always bore this out, I believe…

  26. Columbo says:

    @ Anon – I’m not sure how to answer that except to say that the businessmen/women who are interested in possibly taking over this venture would look into (if they haven’t already) this very question. I may be incorrect but I’m certain that the Raiders would not be a very good comparison. I say this as an East Bay native and was there when they moved back. Al Davis burned many bridges with fans in the East Bay when he left, especially doing so shortly after winning the Super Bowl against the Eagles and, to this day, I know a great deal of people who have never forgiven him and will never support that organization again. I must add, though, that the animosity has obviously lessened since that time and more and more people have changed their stances. As to PSL’s for the A’s, again, if there are those interested in pursuing options in Oakland like JLS, I would have to assume that these wealthy folks have taken a look at the situation and may feel confident that they have enough commitments to satisfy the answer to your question. I honestly don’t know. For Knauss to go on record and say that there is a group (and I’ve heard of 2 others) that are willing to purchase the A’s and finance a ballpark in Oakland, I have to conclude that it’s either a PR stunt or these people actually believe it can be done, i.e. something was overlooked by the current ownership. What if these people have been gathering corporate support behind the scenes for the past 2 years for commitments to purchase the premium seating? My personal opinion is that, to go on record publicly and say that there are those willing to do this, I have to believe it’s one of two things: 1) It’s all a bunch of BS to delay an end to this whole mess (SF Giants conspiracy), or 2) Some wealthy people believe they can turn the franchise around without having to move out of the East Bay and have concluded this from their own due diligence. It has to be one of those 2 things in my mind. Wealthy people don’t become wealthy by making rash decisions without proper investigation. Assuming #2 is true, I find it extremely unlikely that this group of investors didn’t run the numbers over and again, along with gaining the proper support for a privately financed ballpark, and make their conclusion public via Knauss. Without discounting the appropriate questions posed by pjk and others regarding “how” this whole thing will be financed in Oakland, what I’m trying to say is that it appears someone thinks it can work out profitably, preferably in a downtown location and secondarily at the present site. Of course, if #1 is true, then it’s all BS.

  27. pjk says:

    re: As to PSL’s for the A’s, again, if there are those interested in pursuing options in Oakland like JLS, I would have to assume that these wealthy folks have taken a look at the situation and may feel confident that they have enough commitments to satisfy the answer to your question.

    ..I’ll bet it’s more a case of brainstorming than actual investigation that has led to proposing PSLs for an Oakland ballpark. A “Hail Mary” pass for stadium financing.

  28. Jeffrey says:

    I agree with TPS on relocation. Not the Giants spite part of it, but because MLB and it’s owners won’t want to have a new Milwaukee, Kansas City, Cincinnati, Tampa Bay, etc. Those are the markets that are comparable to Portland, San Antonio, Sacramento, etc. when looking at things like Median Income, Population, Media Market size…

  29. Jeffrey says:

    As far as PSL’s go… I would consider it. But I don’t know many other people that would. Though, from what I understand the 49ers are doing fine with their PSL sales (which may actually be bad for the A’s, considering some of those folks would need to be courted to buy PSL’s in an Oakland plan as well).

  30. Columbo says:

    @ pjk – And that’s where we differ. And that’s o.k., by the way. That’s the fun of debating. You believe they haven’t done their due diligence, which is a very real, and likely possibility. I’m kind of a glass-half-full kind of guy and think they might have looked into it pretty well before going public. Again, going public is the big thing for me. Why? What if Wolff called their bluff and said, “O.k., we’re selling. Go ahead and buy it today.” If what you’re saying is true (which I’m not disputing it could be), then this group would be shitting their pants, right? Assuming no due diligence was completed. “Oh, crap, we now have no choice but to buy this team and we have no idea if it will work out.” But it seems to me that someone does think it can work. Again, I could be wrong but, by going public, it kind of paints them into a corner that they now have to honor. Speaking as a non-billionaire, if I were a wealthy, potential-A’s owner, I’m not sure if I would go public with such an announcement unless I was 100% convinced this thing would work. Then again, these ultra-weathly types march to a different drum so you never know. It could be a “hail mary.”

  31. Jeffrey says:

    Columbo, I’d only point out that Don Knauss said they were going public because they have been ignored by MLB for 2.5 years and he was alarmed that there was talk of resolution at the coming owner’s meeting. That doesn’t mean they haven’t researched things, but I am pretty sure they would have to reach out to the fanbase to know what our appetite is for PSL’s in one way or another. I don’t know a soul that has been contacted by anyone representing the A’s or the City of Oakland on the topic of PSL’s.
    .
    Clearly, Knauss avoided the topic of specifics. None of us know why. It could be that there aren’t any. I am usually a glass half full kind of guy myself, but in this case I am not so sure. Considering that Knauss, in his interviews, gave the opposite of an endorsement for the current Oakland plan by mentioning that the business leaders want a downtown park.
    .
    I think most people who share my opinion that “anywhere in the Bay Area” is fine don’t doubt that Knauss and crew could find a way to make a team purchase happen. We doubt that Oakland’s political leadership can make it happen.
    .
    The one person I have ever talked with from Oakland that gave me any hope that something could happen there was Doug Boxer. Not because he is a Senator’s son, or even that he was on the Planning Commission at the time, but because he struck me as a real A’s fan that happened to be on the Planning Commission and he was realistic about what it would take to get the thing done.
    .
    I hope he isn’t disengaged at this point (I haven’t really talked with him in a long time). I hope that business leaders from LGO stepping up means a change in strategy. It’s not like Mayor Quan has inspired much confidence on any issue so far, maybe a different public face and really open dialogue is all Oakland needs to make something happen.

  32. Anon says:

    @ ML – Point taken about a Raider-esque PSL deal.

    @ David – Waiting….

    @ Columbo – I understand all those scenarios you highlighted about any potential owner researching it, but the question remains: Would you support a PSL plan yourself and all the associated risks with it? FWIW – I have faith in LW that he also has looked at this avenue since he developed financing plans for the defunct Femont ballpark village. In all honesty, what does Don K. and his “ownership group” have really to lose if they’re called out on it? If it’s impractical as most say it is, then he can always say he doesn’t have the actual ST data or whatever. It’s not like the people of Oakland will suddenly boot him out of office….

  33. Columbo says:

    @ Jeffrey & Anon – I’m with my two boys at jiu-jitsu class. I’ll respond later on.

  34. Dinosaur JR says:

    “Clearly, Wolff avoided the topic of specifics. None of us know why. It could be that there aren’t any. I am usually a glass half full kind of guy myself, but in this case I am not so sure.”

  35. Dinosaur JR says:

    works both ways. I have never seen a funding plan for any of Wolff’s ideas. Just talk and pretty pictures.

  36. Marine Layer says:

    @D Jr – All we have to go on is track record. Wolff and Fisher bought the A’s for $180 million without incurring significant debt and breezing through the vetting process. They ponied up $30 million for land in Fremont and millions more on studies in Fremont, Oakland, and probably San Jose. That gives them a track record that, while not unassailable, is also difficult to dismiss. Compare that to what various parties in Oakland have “proposed”.

    Wolff was ready to start building in San Jose at least two years ago, and in Fremont five years ago. I don’t think he gets to either point without an ongoing dialogue and activity regarding the financing part.

  37. Tw says:

    David, I think the A’s move to SJ is a great idea. However, I think your honesty is refreshing. You recognize some benefits to SJ but are a loyal City of Oakland fan and would like the A’s to remain part of that. I respect that and understand why you would think that way (even if I don’t agree with the A’s staying in Oakland).
    I wish more ‘Oakland Only’ posters could be this refreshingly honest about their position. Kudos to you….

  38. Jeffrey says:

    d jr- Wolff DID outline a plan for both Oakland and Fremont. People just choose to ignore it. In both cases he proposed purchasing land zoned for industrial use and then having the land rezoned residential. He would then have sold a portion of the land to residential developers and used the proceeds to fund a portion of construction. Additionally there would be naming rights (in Fremont’s case, no sponsor was ever publicized for Oakland), pouring rights, presales of suites and seats.
    .
    He’s sort of lucky it got derailed in both cases, because we all saw what happened to the residential real estate market. Of course, everyone who assails him now for wanting to build in San Jose called this a “land grab” instead of looking at it as an alternative to public bonds, but hey whatever.

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