Category Archives: Fremont
File this one in the out-of-the-box department. A new pro football league calling itself the USFL wants to launch in 2014. Like the original USFL, the new league plans to play its games in the spring. Unlike the 80′s version of the USFL, the new league has set it sights a bit lower and broader. The new USFL expects to launch with eight teams in markets such as Southern California and Alabama.
The kicker to the league’s business plan is that the USFL has inked a deal with an unnamed national developer to build “villages” containing a 20,000-seat stadium for each franchise and ancillary commercial development to go with it. If successful, the business model would turn minor league sports inside-out. Building a stadium has been hard enough in the past, let alone building stuff to go beside it. While it’s doubtful that the additional development can be built and filled quickly enough to help defray the stadium cost in every case, there’s a chance that there could be one or two shining examples. In the South or Texas, where regulations are lax and zoning in some cases doesn’t exist, this can be fairly simple. In California, where CEQA looms large over everything, it might not be such an easy task.
Going with a 20,000-seat stadium plan for each franchise and a single-entity operations model makes the new USFL similar to the launch of MLS in 1996. MLS took numerous years of billionaire owners like Phil Anschutz pumping in money to keep the league afloat, though that was with soccer, not football. Even with the more familiar sport, Americans generally haven’t taken well to lesser-talent football, finding that the NFL and NCAA FBS serves most of America extremely well. Only the Arena Football League has survived long enough to fill that minor league niche, though it experienced its own financial problems during the recession.
The potentially problematic thing about the 20,000-seat plan is that MLS has already filled numerous markets with that size of stadium, driving up competition for decreasing numbers of 20,000-strong outdoor events. In the USFL’s press release it has indicated interest in Ohio. Columbus could be a spot but it has a stadium for the Columbus Crew MLS team. Cleveland, Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky, or Dayton may be better choices. Dallas and Houston also have those stadia, while San Antonio doesn’t. Alabama, Oklahoma, and Virginia seem to be ripe for this kind of thing, though the Virginia Beach UFL team hasn’t exactly made people sit up and notice.
If the UFL folds, the USFL would be poised to pick up the pieces and establish relationships. At the very least there will be some number of temporary stadia at which to play, though minor league football isn’t exactly the sexiest proposition. They’ll also be poised to become a feeder league for the NFL, a concept that generally failed to date (UFL, NFL Europe). The AFL has had a shaky record performing in this mode, and it plans to launch its own league in China in late 2014.
No element of the USFL’s plan is more mysterious than the partnership with the unnamed developer. It’ll be fascinating to see how aggressive each market’s deployment is, and whether each team is able to succeed quickly with its development goals. If it works, we may see many medium and smaller markets use this as an example on how to build the next generation of venues. If not, USFL2 will be relegated to the dustbin of history.
The days are starting to get longer, and we’re five weeks from pitchers and catchers reporting. Huzzah.
- The Alameda County Board of Supervisors is scheduled to meet in closed session today to talk about the Raiders’ lease. I wonder if they’ll also take up Lew Wolff’s recent request for an extension. [East Bay Citizen/Steven Tavares]
Alameda County Board of Supervisors to meet in closed session Tuesday with @raiders over Coliseum lease.
— East Bay Citizen (@eastbaycitizen) January 8, 2013
- The Coliseum Authority hasn’t yet published its annual financials. In the past two years, that document has been available the first week of the year. Perhaps that will come out later today as well. The next open meeting is scheduled for 1/25.
- The City of Oakland lost $3 million in previously used redevelopment funds to the state. That may cause a series of layoffs or other cuts. [SF Gate/Matthai Kuruvila]
- Lew Wolff had a no-news interview in this week’s Silicon Valley Business Journal. (Note: “San Jose” has been dropped from publication title) [SV Business Journal/Greg Baumann]
- Wolff’s real estate investment company Maritz Wolff sold another hotel last month. This time it was the Ritz Carlton in the St. Louis suburb of Clayton, MO. Price was not disclosed. In case you weren’t aware, Phil “Flip” Maritz, Wolff’s longtime partner, has a minority stake in the A’s. [St. Louis Post-Dispatch/Tim Bryant]
- Dodgers ownership is said to be split on whether to partner up with Fox or Time Warner on a new RSN deal that could be worth upwards of $6 billion. [LA Times/Steve Dilbeck]
- The Mets completed $450 million of desperately needed debt refinancing and got an infusion of $160 million that is expected to be used on day-to-day operations. The team now has $700 million in debt against the Mets’ network SNY alone. More analysis of the Mets’ financial picture here. [NY Times/Richard Sandomir | Capital New York/Howard Medgal]
- Out of the fiscal cliff bill news was an item that aroused anger: $78 million in tax breaks for NASCAR racetracks. The crux of the deal is that track owners can accelerate writing off their investments in seven years as opposed to fifteen. [NY Times/Mary Pilon]
- Virginia Beach Mayor Will Sessoms’ deadline seemed to come and go without an arena deal. He is expected to make a statement later today. Update 8:00 AM – Sessoms has declared the project dead for now as the city will not go to the state General Assembly to request $150 million in arena funding. [WAVY-10/Mila Mimica, Virginian-Pilot, Aaron Applegate]
- San Diego power players including Steve Cushman are turning their attention to either a new or revamped Qualcomm Stadium at the current Mission Valley site. The new vision looks a lot like the Coliseum City plan, but with a large residential component. I think they could accomplish quite a bit at Qualcomm just by demolishing and rebuilding only the lower deck. [San Diego Union Tribune]
- Talks are heating up to bring the Washington Redskins back to the District from the Maryland suburbs. There’s supposedly no public money to draw from as the District is running up against its own debt ceiling. That doesn’t mean someone couldn’t hatch his own Coliseum City plan at RFK. An idea being discussed is the sale of the Brutalist headquarters of the FBI, moving the Bureau out to the FedEx Field site, then taking the proceeds of land sales and development proceeds to build the new stadium at RFK. One of the people leading the charge: Marion Barry, who is on the DC City Council. [Washington Post/Tim Craig]
- The Merc Editorial Board laments the true victims of the dysfunctional relationship between the NHL and its players, the businesses and workers near HP Pavilion. [SJ Mercury News]
More as it comes.
Congrats to Billy Beane, who won the MLB Executive of the Year award at this week’s GM meetings. Out of 57 total votes, Beane garner 31. Second was the Nationals’ Mike Rizzo with 13. I figure Beane would gladly trade the award for the Earthquakes advancing to the next round of the MLS Cup, but that’s neither here nor there.
- Alameda County’s Measure B1 continues to miss passage by the thinnest of margins. Through Wednesday, the measure had 65.63% approval, just 12,000 votes short of passage. Roughly 140,000 absentee votes remain to be counted, which could allow the Yes votes to get over the hump. For that to happen, Yes votes would have to outnumber No votes by a 70-30 clip. The final vote tally should be ready before Thanksgiving. At stake is $40 million in transit funding that could help fund Coliseum City. [Oakland Tribune/Denis Cuff, Kristin J. Bender, Angela Woodall] Update 9:30 PM – Measure B1 has lost ground as an additional 24,000 ballots were counted today, with 65.38% voting Yes. The measure needs roughly 71% Yes among the remaining ~115,000 votes to get the supermajority.
- As expected, Rebecca Kaplan kept her Oakland City Council At Large seat, defeating Ignacio De La Fuente 61-39 via Oakland’s instant runoff (ranked choice) voting process. That should keep one of Coliseum City’s biggest supporters out front and center, along with Larry Reid, who was also re-elected. [SF Gate/Matthai Kuruvila]
- If Fremont were to re-emerge as an A’s stadium option, it’s important to know that the new mayor is expected to be Bill Harrison, who leads Steve Cho and Anu Natarajan at the moment. Harrison has a plurality of the vote at 35.28%, nearly 2,000 votes more than Cho. Apparently there is no runoff mechanism in Fremont. In addition, Vinnie Bacon, a known stadium opponent, won a City Council seat on Tuesday. [Fremont Argus/Chris De Benedetti]
- El Paso voters approved a hike in the hotel tax to help fund a $50 million stadium, which will be the future home a relocated Padres AAA affiliate. [El Paso Times/Cindy Ramirez]
- Reno’s City Council approved a restructuring of the financing for their AAA stadium. The new deal will use a combination of a general fund payment and revenues generated from the stadium. [Reno Gazette Journal/Brian Duggan]
- San Diego elected a new mayor, Democrat Bob Filner. Filner has promised to be a tough negotiator with the Chargers in the latter’s pursuit of a new stadium. Already, some within the region are painting this as bad for the future of the team in San Diego. [NBC Sports/Mike Florio]
- Bakersfield’s Cal League team, the Blaze, announced last week that they will build a replacement for antiquated Sam Lynn Ballpark in the south part of town on undeveloped land. The 3,500-seat stadium will have ancillary retail development on a total of 340 acres. Thankfully the ballpark will be oriented northeast, which will keep the sun out of batters’ eyes. When the new park opens, the oldest stadium in the Cal League will be San Jose Municipal Stadium. [Bakersfield Now/Staff]
- Negotiations on TV rights for the college football playoff have begun, with ESPN initially offering nearly $500 million per year. [CBS Sports/Dennis Dodd]
More as it comes.
A boatload of news has been piling up.
- Matier and Ross “reveal” that the real party behind the Stand for San Jose lawsuit is, in fact, the San Francisco Giants. Glad to know that Larry Baer and company are so concerned with traffic in downtown San Jose. (SFGate)
- The San Jose Earthquakes have gotten their development permit, so they are one step closer to breaking ground. (SBNation/Quake, Rattle and Roll)
- VTA approved $772 million for the BART-to-Silicon Valley project. This funding is contingent on federal matching funds, for which a decision is due in February. Incentives in the bidding could allow the first phase, which ends at the Berryessa/Flea Market site in North San Jose, to be opened as much as 18 months ahead of schedule in 2016. Berryessa is three miles from Diridon and there is no light rail transfer from there, so unless there is a special bus or existing routes are realigned, the best bet may be to transfer to light rail at the Great Mall. A post dedicated to this subject is due in the future. (Gary Richards, Merc)
- Santa Clara’s City Council approved $850 million in loans for its Stadium Authority to take out for the 49ers stadium. The money won’t actually be raised unless the NFL chips in with its $150 million share.
- The Merc’s Tim Kawakami tweets that the 49ers “might land a naming-rights deal with a green technology company…” Okay.
- Now that Tesla is gearing up for production at the old NUMMI plant and Union Pacific decided not to use land there for a big train/intermodal yard, Fremont is looking deep into ways to redevelop the land, the same way Oakland is looking at the Coliseum area. The 850 acres in question could be developed in a mixed use manner with up to 3,000 homes. Unlike Oakland, Fremont’s tendency to think small may keep things rather humble in nature, though that could change if some sort of anchor element were part of the planning. Like, oh, a stadium. (Matt Artz, Argus. Note: Good luck to Matt on his switch to the never boring Oakland city beat.)
- MLB may be getting ready to seize control of the Mets because the team is losing money like crazy. Let’s see, maybe a little after the Dodgers are sold in April/May? (John Harper, NY Daily News)
- Ever wonder where money from concerts and non-game events goes? This article tries to figure it out. (Tom Lyden, FOX 9 Twin Cities)
- Marlins ballpark news: There may be a scandal about shotty welds and falsified inspections on the retractable roof (Andres Viglucci, Miami Herald); See pictures inside and outside the stadium (Joe Capozzi, Palm Beach Post; Juan Gonzalez, Stadium Page); the Marlins are getting rid of their sideshow dance troupes of skinny girls and fat guys (Juan C. Rodriguez, Sun Sentinel)
- Robert Bobb is back in DC after two years as the Detroit Public Schools financial czar. What’s he doing? Consulting, of course.
- Qualcomm is changing the name of Qualcomm Stadium to “Snapdragon Stadium” for 11 days to give a marketing boost for its mobile chipset. (Terry Lefton, Sports Business Journal)
- The NFL announced extensions of its TV deals through 2022. Changes include an expanded Thursday night package on NFL Network and NBC getting rights to the Thanksgiving night game. Combined value of all TV deals is $4.3 billion a year, enough to take care of every team’s annual payroll without ever selling a ticket. (NFL Communications, Variety)
That’s it for now.
The Los Angeles City Council unanimously approved a MOU (memorandum of understanding) between the City and AEG, allowing the NFL stadium project to move forward.
Approval of the stadium plan would kick off nine months of intensive negotiations with AEG, which has promised to pay for the new stadium and two parking garages on its own dime. And it would allow city planners to press ahead with preparation of an environmental impact report on the project, which would assess such issues as traffic, noise and glare in nearby neighborhoods.
Like the Bay Area stadia, Farmers Field in L.A. is slated for a 2015 opening. To get there, the process work like the EIR and actual physical preparation steps such as demolition will have to be significantly accelerated. It’s hard to see how an EIR can be completed in nine months, but the project seems to have enough power brokers behind it that it might actually happen.
The key is for two NFL teams to call the stadium home. Since it looks like none of the Midwestern or Eastern teams (Minnesota, Buffalo, Jacksonville, St. Louis) are expected to have new digs anytime soon and San Diego is still up in the air, they are the likely relocation targets. However, as much as I get the idea of having two teams to pay off the facility’s debt service, I have to wonder if having two teams in LA will only serve to depress demand for the NFL product there. For the sake of argument, let’s say the Rams and Jaguars are the two teams. The Rams at least have a historic fanbase they can tap into. The Jags don’t, plus they haven’t been around that long, period. The Rams may sell out, but what would bring fans out to see the Jags? I could see lots of TV blackouts in the #2 market, which would neutralize whatever good economic impact came from bringing the NFL back to Los Angeles. One team is probably the best solution, and even then it’s no sure thing.
Now for the “fun” part.
Last night I described the fate of redevelopment in a California where the concept no longer works within the budget framework. Today it’s time to discuss all of the great/terrible fates that await our favorite local sports franchises should RDA funding sources dry up.
49ers Bond Rush
It all starts not with the Oakland Athletics, but rather the San Francisco 49ers. The linchpin to the Santa Clara stadium plan is $114 million in public funds, $42 million of it from the RDA (the 49ers would provide a partial advance). This money would have to be raised before any RDA dissolution or cutbacks take place, so the deadline would presumably be sometime in the next 4-5 months. This means that Santa Clara would have to go to the bond market three times for the stadium project:
- $42 million from the RDA
- $35 million from the newly assembled Mello-Roos district (hotel taxes)
- $330 million from the Stadium Authority
If the RDA doesn’t get the bonds by the deadline, there’s no chance that the hotels will even tax themselves for their piece, let alone fund a RDA shortfall. The agreement between Santa Clara and the Niners would have to be reopened so that an alternate funding source could be inserted, and that source couldn’t be tied to the general fund in any way. The Stadium Authority couldn’t get started because there’d be no certainty of the project getting off the ground until the funding package worked itself out.
$40 million doesn’t seem like a big deal as it’s less then 5% of the project cost. It’s still a lot of money to raise and a big enough gap to throw a wrench into the works. There’s a chance that both parties could figure out a way to bridge the gap but it’s not going to happen immediately, and unless it’s the team pledging to cover it completely, any contractual details will require renewed scrutiny.
Should the team find the sledding too rough, there’s always a Plan B. They can run to Oakland, where the Coliseum Authority and the Raiders will be waiting with open arms.
The Coliseum Authority has bonding authority and capacity through its joint powers, the City of Oakland and Alameda County. There’s that nagging problem of ongoing debt burdening both parties through 2026, which can be looked at one of two ways: Should the JPA endeavor to get a new two-team NFL stadium built in the hopes that helps cover the debt or cut its losses and keep paying the debt even though the Raiders could be long gone before it’s retired? (Not that amassing more debt is favorable as the current bonds were downgraded to BBB last month.)
The problem Oakland and the JPA has going forward is the fact that the new Raiders stadium plan had integrated redevelopment along Hegenberger, including a new conference center, hotel and retail. With the well run dry, none of that stuff could get built unless some new taxation/indebtedness occurred, or unless the stadium project’s funding coved it. So what you’d be left with is in all likelihood an updated version of the stadium and arena complex, surrounded by parking. Sounds familiar, eh?
On the other hand, if Santa Clara is able to get the funding ball rolling, it’ll prompt the Raiders to move more quickly in order to leave Oakland. Al Davis isn’t going to live forever, and Roger Goodell is a take-no-prisoners negotiator who has been clamoring for the two teams to share a stadium. Whatever the location, expect an agreement between the host city and the two teams sooner rather than later. Otherwise it might be too late for both.
Which Way Warriors
We’ve discussed the Warriors and the Lacob-Guber group’s interest in San Francisco. The Port of SF owns land to the south of AT&T Park that could be well suited for an arena. This is important as the money’s already spent, no new funds required. In order for a new arena to be built, it would have to be privately financed and it would make the most fiscal sense if two teams shared the arena, not just one. This model has worked well in Chicago and Dallas, where both cities’ representative hoops and hockey teams created partnerships to build their venues. The Giants being the developer has only limited impact since they couldn’t materially impact which touring acts or other events came to town. Two teams means two major winter sports teams, not just the W’s and a minor league franchise.
Can it be done? The Giants/Warriors would have to attract the Sharks or a second NHL team, neither of which seems likely. SVSE would probably entertain the offer as a way to extract lease concessions from San Jose, but it wouldn’t move beyond that. It’s much like trying to get the W’s to move south permanently – it’s technically doable but highly unlikely. Lacob-Guber could also use the SF arena as a stalking horse for improvements to the Arena.
Again, any new arena in SF is only possible if it is privately financed. The good news? There will be so little big project construction in the future (save for public facilities) that the labor could be relatively cheap.
It was nice knowing you Cowtown
Unlike some of the whispering about MLB contracting two teams, there actually has been talk about contracting the Kings. And it will only get louder as the current season draws to a close later this summer. The woes of the Kings and the Maloofs have been chronicled here and elsewhere for some time now, and there doesn’t seem to be a light at the end of the tunnel for them. Mayor Kevin Johnson is playing this like he has to walk the ball up the floor and dump it into the post every possession instead of being able to do anything dynamic like this. Being a mayor is a tough job. I want to see the Kings stay in Sac, but it’s hard to see long term with every proposal linked to some kind of redevelopment. The NBA probably won’t buy them as it did the Hornets, which leaves the Kings in some sort of limbo for years to come.
The landbanking strategy San Jose has used for years has never been more wise than right now, as it works to cobble together the remaining land at Diridon. As I understand it, the money is basically untouchable at this point and SJRA can do whatever it wants as long it takes care of its housing set-asides (25%). If SJ and the A’s are given the green light, the vote this summer or fall won’t be about ballparks vs. schools since the money will already be spent. The debate will be about baseball vs. other housing or commercial developers in a time of a glut of both housing and office space. And yes, the decision could drag on for another several months or even a year.
Oakland mayor Jean Quan has been publicly silent on what the death of RDAs could mean for the Victory Court project, and that’s not a good sign. When the mayors went up to the Capitol last week, the most quotable guy there was Chuck Reed, not Quan. There should be a greater sense of urgency there if Oakland’s various supporters want the donut hole strategy to come to fruition, but it’s not happening publicly, perhaps by design. Should the EIR be delivered at the beginning of April, there will be ample opportunity to go over every detail of the document, and it’s that thoroughness baked into the CEQA process that could eventually kill MLB in Oakland. The way I see it, Bud Selig is looking for a politically expedient opportunity to declare support for San Jose, and that could come in the form of a 400-page EIR that brings up more questions than answers. Why? Because Lew Wolff has to have been in his ear constantly about this redevelopment business, and opportunities are running out fast. Maybe the day of reckoning wont occur immediately, it might occur well along in the process as it did in Fremont. Either way the clock is ticking as it is for AT&T in that commercial for the Verizon iPhone.
Of course, if Let’s Go Oakland had declared Victory Court as its site in December 2009 instead of 2010, Oakland might not be in such a bad position. Oakland’s only saving grace now is something out of its control: the continued difficulty with T-rights negotiations. That’s like basing your retirement plan on an upcoming shared inheritance – will you get a good enough piece, or will it mostly go to the more favored child/mistress/charity? It’s not a real investment strategy.
In what will probably end up a footnote in this neverending saga, Cisco completed acquisition of the bulk of the Pacific Commons site (the Trib’s George Avalos reporting). 103 acres were purchased from Catellus (ProLogis) in December 2009, followed by another 41 acres last month. Judging from the sizes of the acquired parcels, they do not include the area slated for a movie theater and Target.
Cisco could build a new campus in Fremont, but it’s not likely to happen anytime soon. Instead, it seems more likely that they may end up selling or leasing the property to some up-and-coming tech company, though being in Fremont tends to limit the kinds of firms that might locate or relocate there. Cisco also bought land near the Dublin-Pleasanton BART station with the intent to expand there. They ended up selling that property to the quasi-public State Compensation Insurance Fund. SCIF is relocating from San Francisco to Pleasanton and Vacaville, citing high costs at the mid-Market headquarters.
The stretch marks and scars of boom and bust cycles are everywhere throughout Silicon Valley. Aerospace and defense contractors were replaced by PC hardware manufacturers who were themselves replaced by Web companies. Farmland and orchards gave way to giant campuses for Cisco and eBay. Facebook may be moving into Sun’s former headquarters in Menlo Park. Such is the pace of innovation.
Speaking of transformations, the Argus’ Matt Artz has been trying to figure out what will happen with Union Pacific buying all of that old NUMMI land. He dug up some information on an railyard expansion project UP did in Lathrop, which would grow the yard from 134 to 277 acres over 10 years. The Lathrop yard, which runs 24/7 and was moved there to get out of an urbanized locale in Stockton, has a whopping 83 jobs on site. I’m sure the folks at the Taco Bravo on Auto Mall and Grimmer are ecstatic about having one job for every two acres come into their part of town. And as active as Fremont Citizens Network was in fighting the Warm Springs ballpark, they seem to be completely ignoring UP’s railyard plan.
San Jose note from erw, who attended the long session tonight (but he spoke at least twice!):
Both the Diridon Station Area Good Neigbor Committee’s Framework for Implementation and the Planning Dept.’s Diridon Station Area Plan passed unanimously. Council was very careful to not do anything to affect the parking for Pavilion/SVSE. Next steps: GNC to reconvene when big developments come up (HSR, Baseball) and an EIR for the Station Area Plan (expected complete by March 2011).
I should also add that an EIR study session may occur sometime in April. The Diridon Station Master Plan’s goal is to address near-term (10 years) development and construction in the area. In doing this, planners have made the following assumptions:
- Construction of Ballpark
- Development of the Core Area
- Development of the former San Jose Water Co. site (Adobe)
- Construction of BART Box [cut and cover]
The Master Plan EIR (separate from the already certified Ballpark EIR) will contain an alternative to the ballpark which has 2.4-5.3 million square feet of new commercial space.
If you were wondering what was going to happen after plans for a ballpark village in Fremont died, you now have your answer: a new development called “The Block.” As the next phase of Pacific Commons, The Block will contain a 100,000+ square foot anchor retailer and a 16 screen multiplex, along with additional retail stores. You may remember back when the ballpark village was being planned, there was talk of a “lifestyle center” that would’ve been home to numerous high-end stores. Now it’s pretty much the same-old, same-old stuff. That’s not to say that Fremont couldn’t use a new movie theater – there isn’t a first run theater currently within city limits. But another Target? And wasn’t that already in the works elsewhere in the immediate area? Fremont’s citizens decided a couple years ago that they don’t want to think big, and this is further proof of that. Oh well.
This Thanksgiving, we should all be thankful that, despite the often misplaced or ill-timed effort, many people have been trying to keep the A’s in the Bay Area. To illustrate this, I’ve put together a map showing pretty much all of the sites that have been considered for a ballpark over the last 15 years. Below the map is a brief history and the fate of each site.
- # – Victory Court. Emerged as the preferred ballpark location by the City of Oakland after the unveiling of four sites by Let’s Go Oakland in December 2009. EIR process has begun, initial comment period open. Public hearing on December 1 to elicit public comments.
- * – Diridon (South). Preferred San Jose site picked after two year deliberation process. EIR completed in 2009, a 3+ year process.
HOK East Bay study sites:
- A – Howard Terminal. Waterfront site immediately west of Jack London Square. Eventually was leased by Matson to consolidate shipping operations.
- B – Oak to Ninth. Waterfront site east of Jack London Square. Has development plans for 3100 homes, parkland, and commercial uses.
- C – Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum. Home of the current stadium, has had interest from different parties for a ballpark elsewhere within the complex. Both the Raiders and A’s have leases through 2013. The Coliseum Authority is working with the Raiders on a football-specific successor to the Coliseum immediately to the south of the existing stadium.
- D – Laney College. Plans envisioned replacing the college’s athletic fields with a ballpark. Peralta Community College District was not interested in such a use.
- E – Uptown. The preferred site from the study due to its downtown location and access to mass transit and parking infrastructure. Any chance of a ballpark was derailed when the A’s showed little interest and the site’s chief proponent was fired and a developer-friendly housing scheme was heavily promoted. An apartment complex is now on site.
- F – Pleasanton. One of two southern Alameda County sites included in the study. Was undeveloped back then, is still undeveloped now.
- G – Fremont. The other southern Alameda County choice, the site was north of the NUMMI (now Tesla Motors) site. The area would be reconsidered several years later for another shot at a ballpark, but NIMBY resistance helped kill it.
San Jose study sites:
- I – FMC/Airport West. Old military vehicle plant was briefly considered thanks to central location within Santa Clara Valley. Was eliminated in favor of a more urban locale. Became the site of the future San Jose Earthquakes stadium.
- II – Reed & Graham. An asphalt plant next to I-280. Eliminated early on due to infrastructure issues. Plant still in operation.
- III – Del Monte Cannery. A single-owner site that was ready for redevelopment, just north of Reed & Graham. A developer showed interest in building condos on the site, which is eventually what happened.
- IV – Berryessa Flea Market. Located on San Jose’s east side, its major advantages were its size, a single owner, and its location near a future BART station. Like the Del Monte Cannery, the site has plans for future residential development. Such work has not yet started and may not commence for several years.
A’s ownership promoted sites:
- 1 – Coliseum South. Site pitched by Lew Wolff shortly after he was hired by Schott/Hofmann. Ownership agreed to pay 50% towards a study on the site, which included the HomeBase and Malibu lots. The Coliseum Authority balked. In 2010, the Authority bought the land with an eye towards a Raiders stadium and ancillary development plan.
- 2 – Santa Clara. North of Great America, the site was also considered for a Santa Clara ballpark plan over a decade prior. In order to prevent a ballpark from being built, the City added a street through the property that gets very little vehicular use.
- 3 – Coliseum North (High/66th). A broad redevelopment plan that would have bought 100 acres of industrial zoned land and changed the zoning to residential/commercial, with a ballpark as the centerpiece. Existing landowners balked at moving and Wolff/Fisher were not willing to pay much more than a nominal amount for the land, leading to the plan’s demise.
- 4 – Pacific Commons. Took the Coliseum North redevelopment concept and moved it to Fremont, on Cisco/Catellus-owned light industrial (yet undeveloped) land. Plan died as the broader economy went into the tank in 2007.
- 5 – Warm Springs. Rebirth of the original Fremont plan would’ve had the ballpark decoupled from the residential and commercial components. Area residents decried the location’s proximity to local homes and the lack of road infrastructure. The plan came and went quickly, which made the team look further south.
Have a good Thanksgiving, everyone.
I stand corrected. Warm Springs is a no go, according to Lew Wolff, because of a lack of a residential component as envisioned in the Pacific Commons plan.
“The entire activity in Fremont was based on the ability to sell residential entitlements,” he said.
And Wolff doesn’t anticipate the market supporting the magnitude of housing envisioned in the ballpark village plan. “I think we missed our opportunity,” he said. “We have to be in an existing downtown.”
Oh well. Now that we’ve heard ownership’s perspective, the circle is complete. (Thanks Matt Artz/Argus)