Larry Ellison vs. SF Giants

As Gavin Newsom begins his switch from a real job to a ceremonial one, he has a few matters left to which he has to attend. A key development issue, according to Matier and Ross, is San Francisco’s America’s Cup bid. As the winner of the last Cup, Larry Ellison gets to decide where the next one is held, and the only US bid comes from SF. A couple different proposals have come in, both of which would exchange the development rights for select piers for the cost to rebuild them, a cost that the City can’t take on at the moment. A similar kind of development project is already underway in the relocation of the Exploratorium, which will move east from the Palace of Fine Arts to Piers 15 and 17.

Initially, the project’s location was going to be Piers 48 and 50, which are adjacent to AT&T Park’s main parking lots. This shifted to Piers 30 and 32, just south of the Bay Bridge, where Red’s Java House is located. Ellison has nixed the 30-32 idea, perhaps because he doesn’t want to work right next to/underneath a bridge.

The Giants are objecting to 48-50 because construction work there could be disruptive to the Giants’ plans for those parking lots, to which they have development rights. It’s highly likely that some of that land may have to be used as a staging area for construction equipment and the like.

It gets more interesting when you consider that Oracle has been a charter sponsor of the Giants, with its name on the ballpark’s suite level since the beginning.

So who’s going to win out? Surely the Giants can delay their plans for a couple of years while the waterfront beautification project happens. After all, the two key uses that the Giants have identified, a 5,000-seat concert hall or a NBA arena, aren’t exactly going to materialize for quite some time. The region isn’t begging for a 5,000-seat venue. The Bill Graham Civic Auditorium (7,000) is old but serviceable, the Warfield and the Fillmore cover sub-3,000 crowds quite nicely. On the other side of the bay Another Planet has cornered the market on mid-sized venues, as it has the Greek Theatre in Berkeley (5-8,000) and Oakland’s Fox Theatre (2,800). In the South Bay, San Jose State’s Event Center holds exactly 5,000. As for an arena, well, that would be easier to deal with if Larry Ellison owned the Warriors, you think? Even then, the W’s lease runs at least through 2017, with the team owners being liable for the remaining debt service if they don’t sign extensions that would keep the team until 2027. If the Giants decide on a concert hall, their dreams of a SF arena will vanish. If they decide to wait for an NBA team, they’ll be waiting quite a long time.

This round should go to Larry Ellison. A project like this comes around very rarely. If the Cup is staged locally, Ellison will be a very busy guy, probably too busy to entertain Oakland partisans’ dreams for him to wrest the A’s from Wolff/Fisher and build a ballpark in Oakland. Seriously, can anyone out there point to a single quote that can back up Ellison’s interest in the A’s?

11 thoughts on “Larry Ellison vs. SF Giants

  1. I have a tough time seeing how any investment group can get behind an idea of a 5k seat venue in Mission Bay. The Giants must have a consulting group (or something of that naure) guiding them since they’re not primarily in the real estate business. Like the article above covers, the SF and Oakland have plenty of small to medium-sized venues already.

    Just from my surface-level understanding, there’s the convention market and concert-going market– both of which are covered by venues that evoke a certain ‘status’ such as Moscone or ‘hipness’ like The Warfield, Fillmore or Great American Music Hall.

    It’s interesting that the right guy the Giants could put to work on this venure is Lew Wolff.

  2. I heard on KLIV the other day that a proposed arena for the W’s at Mission Bay would cost $1.2 billion. R.M. or anyone, is that true? If so, how could an arena cost so much? Second, if it is true, it aint happening!

  3. Hopefully this means the Warriors stay in Oakland, since they do draw well and have a fine venue there.

    Also, I vaguely remember an SFGate article some months back (maybe a year) about the Giants developing condos on that site. Funny how they never get ripped as real estate people…

  4. Ellison’s next public expression of interest in buying the A’s will be his very first. (Hey ML – Can you guess where I am logging in from now?)

  5. Tony, that is for the entire development. It isn’t just an arena/concert venue.

  6. Thanks for clarifying Jeffrey.

  7. Thinking long-term, I was hoping Ellison would take 30-32. It’s the biggest available pier by far and needs a lot of work. I’m not sure how this would work at 48 and 50. I believe those come with the Giants’ winning proposal to develop seawall lot 337. So, would the America’s Cup still be responsible for structural and infrastructure improvements? If so, the Giants get a free ride and should jump at the offer. If not, will the city ask Larry to fix some other piers in lieu? From what I’ve read, just getting the various available piers in condition for use is a major stumbling block for the port to sell development rights to any of them. When structural repairs get factored in, very few uses pencil out (and fit within coastal development rules) so the demand from developers is low. If the port can find a way to get them ready to build with someone else’s money, suddenly there will be huge demand and the city will get a premium price. That would be a tangible, long-term benefit of hosting the America’s Cup.

  8. I wish Ellison would buy the A’s and explore the 980 decking ballpark. That would be the bomb. Looks like he doesn’t despise Oakland like Wolff does. He put his money on the Oracle Arena, and Oracle Park on top of 980 works for me.

  9. @jk–wtf–you just finished a post where you said Newhouse didn’t know what he was talking about and VC was the spot and Quan who likes VC would save Oakland from all evil….but hey—Jeffrey must have conviinced you that VC isn’t economically viable for Oakland so now your onto 980–thats progress I guess

  10. It’s been stated a thousand times that Ellison wanted to buy the Sonics and move them to San Jose. Why the hell would he oppose doing the same with the A’s?

  11. @NamTurk–LE keeps getting shutout from buying a team. Not sure he’s in to MLB like NBA, but he can be the man if he pulls a save the A’s in Oakland.
    I would like to apologize to you for calling you an Oakland hater. I don’t think you are after seeing some more of your posts. Sorry. 🙂
    I was just curious about where you read that Oakland was classified as a suburb with the US Census. I worked part-time for the Census the last two years and was trained at the Oakland Federal building. We canvassed (record addresses) in 2009 and enumerated (held interviews on who lives there, ages, ethnicity, etc) in 2010 at living quarters from east Oakland to Fremont. Interesting experience and good money at $22/hr. The stories I can tell you guys.

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