Daily Archives: June 19, 2012
I got to the session just as public comments were ending. YES!!!
Council has their questions, though they seem to be on the verge of approving the deal with few reservations. Observations:
- One of the key issues is financing. The $10 million shortfall in funding would be covered by the sale of commercial paper (with either HUD approval or from city reserves) and a Parks Trust Fund loan of up to $8 million, or both.
- The loan or other funding would be paid back by a projected $500,000 in annual revenue from renting out the fields. The Quakes would be paid at least $333,000 every year to manage the stadium.
- It should be noted that the land that the Quakes stadium and the new soccer fields would sit on would remain City-owned in the end. The Quakes paid a $2 million option at the end of 2010 for the land, and would pay another $5 million. Under the previous agreement, the land would be deeded back to the City.
- The picture from the previous post had shown three soccer fields. There will be four, and they would be artificial turf.
- The Earthquakes would partner in the facility.
- The Quakes would move their youth development soccer academy from Danville to the facility.
- Team would also give away $78,000 in Quakes tickets annually to the community.
- Councilman Don Rocha would prefer one of the fields be grass, citing his 8-year-old daughter’s tearing of her ACL on an artificial turf field elsewhere in the county. Staff indicates that if a single grass field were instituted they’d have to do a new revenue pro-forma and re-bid the project, temporary delaying the project. The facility’s business model is based on rapid turnover, which is impossible with grass fields. Note: the Quakes second team isn’t allowed to use the Quakes’ training field.
- Councilman Xavier Campos would like some anti-gang nonprofits to have access to the fields, perhaps via a new scholarship program being put together by the City and the Quakes. Mayor Chuck Reed counters that the facility will be revenue driven, which could make an equal-access facility impossible. (*tension*)
- Hunter Storm, the Quakes, and the City have had an ongoing dialogue regarding the development.
- Each of the districts would provide $100,000 towards the construction of the facility.
Update 4:16 PM - Item approved unanimously, with an amendment regarding the availability of an extra suite for low-income or underprivileged residents also approved. Interestingly, Mayor Reed “rallied” staff to get both the stadium and public fields built by 2014, not 2013.
One other Cisco Field-related item – The City Council/Diridon Development Authority unanimously approved a resolution which allows for an extension of the Property Based Improvement District, defined as essentially Cisco Field, HP Pavilion, everything in-between, and properties north to Julian Street. In addition, properties within the district would be assessed $4,000 per year. Previously, a vote was taken among property owners. 91.4% were in favor.
Well, there goes a potential backup plan.
San Jose is getting ready to restructure the land deal (also see rendering) at the Airport West (FMC) property. In February, the City approved the Earthquakes Stadium project, which is to be located on the southern end of the property. Originally, the Wolff-Fisher group planned to build offices and perhaps a hotel on the remainder of the land. Now that remainder will be developed by South Bay developer Hunter Storm, with the section closest to the train tracks set aside for new soccer fields adjacent to the Earthquakes training pitch.
That last part is especially new, because that land was initially destined to be part of a BART maintenance facility. With BART for now terminating at Berryessa while full funding for the rest of the Silicon Valley extension is to be determined, the land would sit idle if not for this change. Plans currently call for an expansion of the Hayward BART maintenance facility to accommodate the extension, and there may be an option along the extension line for another yard if called for.
The controversial part is that in executing this land deal, the total proceeds to the City will go down $10 million. While the City has an equivalent surplus, in the previous agreement Wolff wasn’t expected to complete the land purchase until 2015. In the new proposal, Hunter Storm would pay for its share of the land by the end of the month. Revenues from the Quakes Stadium and the soccer fields would begin in 2013.
As for the Earthquakes Stadium itself, the article mentions that it’s under FAA review/audit. Apparently this is because the FAA wants to check out light spillage from the stadium light design to ensure that it doesn’t create any difficulties for air traffic. Problems don’t seem likely, but this is a bureaucratic government organization we’re talking about. Already the FAA has determined that both the 49ers stadium and Cisco Field would require temporary flight restrictions due to the way they are sited within the SJC flight path. The FAA review is the only issue remaining that delays stadium construction.
I’ll be at the City Council session later today to cover this issue.
Just across the wire – City Council voted 8-3 to approve $85,000 in improvements to Municipal Stadium. Noted is the fact that the City Council can reopen discussions later over how the Giants’ subsidies are spent – especially if they’re used to fund a lawsuit against the City. Later is probably 2013, when the lease is due for renegotiation. Will there still be a lawsuit in play at that point? We’ll see over the next year or so. One thing to keep in mind – as long as the uncertainty regarding the lease and lawsuit hang over the club, it would be hard for ownership to sell the franchise to new San Jose-based interests. Outside San Jose, that’s a different story. The City Council was careful to say that there’s room for both teams within city limits, a posture that has really only come to the forefront in the last couple of years.