It’s an important night tomorrow night, as the revised ballpark EIR will have its certification hearing. Should the document be certified, the City Council will take up when it expects to have the ballpark issue on the ballot. Of course, the closest date is the November election, so there’s no real drama there. I have heard that ballot language is already being tested.
The Merc’s Tracy Seipel covers some of the uncertainty regarding the final shape of the project. Key to this is the location of a new parking structure. Of the two new parking options, the one with the most traction is a garage on the main arena lot, adjacent to HP Pavilion. It’s not the most optimal site distance-wise from the ballpark site, but it is the site that creates the least upheaval thanks to it being city-owned land, not privately-owned land. Some area residents have also preferred this site because it would mean no garages in the area between the ballpark and the arena. I’m not sure that this is feasible long term, but it’s worth considering if only from an aesthetic standpoint. There has been some hubbub about the Sharks not liking a “no parking” option, which makes sense. They have an agreement with the city to have a certain number of spaces available for events, and a ballpark would encroach upon that.
The issue here is not whether a garage will be built, it’s a matter of where and by whom. While the ballpark is a big part of the Greater Downtown area, it’s only a part of a broader development plan. Depending on the final configuration and footprint of a ballpark, there may actually be room for some parking right next to it. A garage there could be financed any number of ways and would probably require its own EIR since it would change the project, but that’s a bridge to cross if it is ever reached.
Simply put, a garage next to the arena makes the most sense. It satisfies the Sharks/SVSE, some transit advocates, area residents, city requirements, and perhaps even the A’s (though they don’t have a voice). The thing is that A’s and Sharks ownership is tight, so it wouldn’t be beyond the Sharks to act as a proxy for a party that doesn’t officially have a voice yet, such as the A’s.
There will be a liveblog on Wednesday.