Update 12:50 PM – Several items have been added to the end of the post.
Last, Bloomberg’s Nadja Brandt put up a profile of Lew Wolff in which he indicates that his LA-based real estate firm, Maritz Wolff, is looking to sell up to $1.8 Billion in various luxury hotel properties by 2015. There’s one interesting takeway.
- Wolff helped keep the St. Louis Blues in town when they threatened to move in the late 80’s. He and partner Philip Maritz were part of a large business consortium that built a new arena, now known as Scottrade Center, which kept the Blues in St. Louis.
That doesn’t mean the comparisons to Wally Haas should start. But it does show that Wolff has had crucial experience in this realm that stretches way back. Coincidentally, that consortium, Clark Enterprises, ran the Blues and arena at a significant loss for several years before eventually selling the team to Bill Laurie.
Both San Jose and Oakland partisans will be fixated on a couple other takeaways. Chief among them is this easily misinterpreted quote:
“I have no emotional ties to any property,” Wolff said. “They are inanimate objects. That’s the only way we can be fair to our long-term investors who trust us to do what’s best.”
In the ongoing effort to demonize Wolff, his detractors will seize upon that as a sign that Wolff is a cold, emotionless moneygrubber. The Blues experience would seem to belie that. Wolff is neither saint nor devil. He’s laying out his vision for what he thinks is the best path forward for the A’s. Unless someone steps in to buy the team from Wolff and Fisher with a mindblowing offer, that vision is going to be seen through. Which leads me to this:
“Where it may make sense to sell is if you’re in a gateway city with a trophy hotel that doesn’t need significant capital expenditures,” he said. “Bidding for those has been crazy.”
Extend Wolff’s contrarian real estate investment philosophy to owning a team, and it would appear that Wolff intends to hold on until his vision, a new ballpark, is achieved. There’s no bigger capital investment for a sports franchise than building your own stadium. After that, who knows?
Also, it’s a bit much to think that these hotel sales will suddenly mean hundreds of millions will get plowed into a ballpark. That’s not how it works. A ballpark will be financed just like every other ballpark because no one invests cash in a stadium these days and it’s crazy not to take advantage of low interest rates.
In other news, Evan Weiner has a good overview of the history of territorial rights and franchise moves.
The SNY (Mets) and YES (Yankees) networks are under pressure to renew carriage deals with satellite providers Dish and DirecTV.
A vigil will be held tonight in LA for Bryan Stow, the Giants fan who was beaten outside Dodger Stadium after last Thursday’s Opening Day game. The Giants will dedicate their Friday opener to Stow. The reward for his assailants’ arrest has been upped to $100,000. Stow is a 42-year old Santa Cruz paramedic and father of two.
If you haven’t read it yet, read Josh Koehn’s feature for Metro from last week. It’s about San Jose’s efforts thus far, and when coupled with Robert Gammon’s 2006 Fremont-oriented piece for the East Bay Express, should bring anyone with a passing interest up-to-date.
Oakland City Attorney John Russo appears to be on his way to becoming the next Alameda City Manager.
Cuts to Caltrain service will not be as bad as once feared, though the Giants and some secondary stations are getting the brunt of it.
- Weekday service will be slashed from 88 daily trains to 76.
- Special service, such as Giants pre and postgame trains, will be cut.
- Four lightly used stations will be closed on the weekdays, several more will be closed on the weekends.
- Fares will rise 25 cents.
It could have been much worse.