SJ City Council to consider land deal on Tuesday

Update 10:25 PM – Not surprisingly, the Merc’s editorial board has come out in favor of the land deal.

Procedurally, the approval of the land deal to complete the Diridon ballpark site should be a slam dunk, considering the SJDDA (which approved it in the first place) and the City Council are effectively one and the same. Still, since tomorrow’s City Council session will be a public affair, there should be a mix of voices pushing to persuade/dissuade the Council. In particular, I wonder if any/many of the Occupy San Jose protesters will attend, since they will be in close proximity. Far be it for me to expect fireworks at a San Jose City Council session, but I’ll be attending anyway. The session will be at 1:30 PM at Council Chambers.

City has also posted the agenda for the session and an all-important memo containing the details (PDF) of the deal. Some of the finer points:

  • The issue at hand is the approval of an option agreement (end of memo), in which terms are laid out for the A’s to purchase the land. That’s not the end of it, because a formal purchase agreement will have to be drawn up within 90 days of execution of the option agreement.
  • Quoting from the memo directly here: “The Redevelopment Agency paid approximately $25,160,000 for acquisition and relocation costs for the entire ballpark site.” That’s a bit misleading, because the land being sold does not include the parcels that are yet to be purchased to complete the ballpark site.
  • Colliers International estimated that the entire value of the site is $38,250,000 if for its “highest and best uses”. Appraised solely for a ballpark use, the land is worth only $19,100,000. Back when Diridon was first discussed in 2005, the market value of the entire Diridon site was probably close to $70 million. If they had purchased the PG&E substation and the land fronting Los Gatos Creek, the cost would’ve soared over $100 million easily.
  • Purchase price of the site for AIG (yes, that’s the “Athletics Investment Group” if you haven’t been watching local broadcast disclaimers) is $6.975,227, or 36.5% of the appraised value, and does not include the already public land within the site (Montgomery and Otterson Streets).
  • AIG’s option to purchase the site is for two years ($50,000), with the possibility of an additional year ($25,000).

This is the only item on the afternoon session agenda, which should allow for a lengthy discussion and comment period. Baseball San Jose put out a letter on its blog providing talking points on the deal.

47 thoughts on “SJ City Council to consider land deal on Tuesday

  1. Baseball San Jose = a total astroturf group fronted by partners of Lew Wolff.

  2. Let’s hope SJ approves this and gets this deal done. Otherwise, it’s most likely that the A’s will be gone from the Bay Area. It would be so much easier if Oakland had a workable plan (site, EIR, financing, naming rights, etc) but unfortunately, that’s not the case. San Jose is our best chance now to keep our team.

  3. the Baseball San Jose letter says “the fair market value for the parcels being optioned for a ballpark development is approximately $6.9 million,” Is the appraised value too high?

  4. Oh my God! I went to the Baseball San Jose site and it is a joke! Not once, as I browsed the entries did it have Oakland and A’s next to each other. This line also cracked me up, “We believe that Billy Beane can, and will, win that last game of the season—in San Jose.” I need a shower after browsing that site.

  5. @Dinosaur Jr. – I could just as easily say that LGO is an astroturf group for Oakland developers like Phil “Outland” Tagami.

    @pjk – No, BBSJ has the citation wrong.

    @eb – I can’t vouch for how BBSJ runs its blog. It’s not good.

  6. Even though this should be a slam-dunk no-brainer deal for San Jose, which would bring in piles of money to the downtown for decades, I fear we’re going to hear “We should spend this money to hire more cops!” Short-term thinking over long-term vision. Like when Lincoln’s secretary of state was skewered for buying Alaska. Nobody would argue that call today but at the time it was viewed by some as foolish.. Oh well, we can count on the building trades people and a host of others getting behind the ballpark. $450 mill of new construction in downtown San Jose…..

  7. @ djr – I guess then that VC is just a political front for Jean Quan then? 😡
    I keep scratching my head how SJ keeps on moving into higher gear proceeding with land acquisitions and sales, while Oakland is still stuck in neutral. More baffling is how the pro Oakland crowd is complacent with this and vents it out on others as opposed to their own inept government.

  8. Are these comment sections all about partisan mud-slinging now?

  9. Instead of cracking the whip at Oakland’s failed politicians, Oakland-only folks just continue bashing San Jose.

  10. @pjk I’m not bashing SJ at all. But when you read that blog, the amount of political maneuvering is really striking. I understand their agenda, but you can’t put “Oakland” and “A’s” together just once in your updates? Really? It’s not like they haven’t been associated for the past 40 years. Anyway, sorry ML, not trying to derail the thread.

  11. What do you expect from an organization called Baseball San Jose?

  12. @pjk I’d never been on the site, so I didn’t have any expectations. I guess it’s like going to Fox news for a n honest framing of Democratic policy. I get it. I was just taken back for a minute.

  13. You guys have made me curious.

  14. @eb – If I go to LGO site, should i receive updates on VC EIR, dialogues with JQ, and a plan that doesn’t include public financing? Food for thought….

  15. @Anon Of course. I would love to see that. It’s certainly frustrating seeing a lack of transparency from those in the know. However, you don’t think it’s a just a tad silly Baseball SJ seemingly makes an effort to not type “Oakland A’s” anywhere on their blog updates? I mean, it’s nothing major, but I thought it was comical.

  16. You’re making a big deal about nothing.

  17. @LoneStranger I’ve made one post, then I’ve responded to those who posted towards me. I even said, “it’s nothing major.” Thanks for following along.

  18. @ eb – I don’t think its necessarily silly, because maybe BSJ was trying to be politically correct and no instigate a SJ vs. Oakland debate. Of course, my views are somewhat biased in this respect. Thanks for answering truthfully….

  19. btw – IMHO, I think there is a PQP going on between the Sharks Coleman site and the Diridon purchase. LW seemed to have overpaid for Coleman, while Diridon seemed to have been sold at a deep discount.

  20. @eb – Don’t get your panties in a twist. Maybe I should have said ‘You’re thinking too hard about it.’ Like Anon said, perhaps they don’t want to instigate a debate, or perhaps they just want people to realize that the city isn’t the same as the team, and vice versa.
    .
    I checked LGO’s site, and it looks like their big news is that you can sign up to get an email about their Opening Day 2011 tailgate.
    .
    And… holy crap….wait for it….. Not once on Let’s Go Oakland’s site did I see the words “Oakland” and “A’s” together. It must mean something! Or, it’s just silly to read into those kinds of things.
    .
    @ML- Regarding the Diridon land discussion, is the session going to be broadcast online?

  21. Would this also be a nice consolation prize for Wolff if the ballpark does not happen? Or is the discount and the construction of a ballpark linked?

  22. @LS You’re post is full of ironic win.

  23. @Mark N.- as I recall the land must be developed into a ballpark in order to execute the option–

  24. Oakland A’s are mentioned on the Baseball SJ site.

  25. err…I meant the Quakes Coleman site…not the Sharks….grrr (back to work)….

  26. @R.M. and pjk,
    After reading the city pdf, it appears that the parcels Wolff may purchase (roughly 4+ acres) have a “fair reuse value” of $6.9 million. So if Wolff purchases the parcels at the same price, is it still considered a “discount”?

  27. @LS – It should be broadcast here.

    @Tony D. – Yes it is. The term “fair reuse value” is not based on anything.

    @Anon – Wolff got a $40+ million discount for Airport West.

  28. Wolff got a big discount on Airport West and nobody even knows about it. But if he gets the same for baseball, which will provide 100X more benefits to the city, there is going to be plenty of protesting.

  29. @pjk,
    RDA, city of SJ also gave big subsidies to Brocade and Adobe, and you didn’t hear squat from people like Better Sense SJ. But alas, there won’t be “plenty” of protesting, just whining and bitching from the same old NIMBY suspects. The citizens of SJ are smarter than that. Besides, there’s living proof in HP Pavilion. Who in their right mind is going to say The Tank has caused police layoffs or libraries to close?

  30. …I asked one of these anti-ballpark folks in San Jose: Did you oppose the arena and do think the arena is a failure? Answer? He refused to answer either question.

  31. @ ML – thanks. I thought he overpaid at 84+ million, as that area hasn’t been developed for a while since the FMC days.
    @ pjk / tony – i think most of the BSJ guys are sj city government union backers. I lol’d when one claimed that the shark tank success was an anomaly!

  32. from the editorial: San Jose has actual land for a ballpark! Unlike some other cities we know …

    …what other cities would that be? Any in particular!?

  33. Editorial notes that using the land for other uses (offices) means it sits there empty for years. I can vouch for that. I see billboards down the street from me for future office complexes. Those billboards have been up there for many, many years. Office vacancies in San Jose are at about 14% with more people telecommuting now. Entire companies are doing it in some cases – why hold the land for empty office buildings?

  34. Occupy San Jose has urged people to head down and oppose the deal…

  35. Not surprisingly, the Merc’s editorial board has come out in favor of the land deal.

    Wow – I actually agree with a Merc editorial.

    Occupy San Jose has urged people to head down and oppose the deal…

    Sure – go ahead and oppose a deal that will add construction jobs (meaning union jobs) in down economy.

  36. If the City was subsidizing the stadium in anyway then this land deal makes no sense.

    But since Wolff is going to build the ballpark with private money this is a steal of a deal in the history of MLB stadiums.

    With the exception of SF and LA, no one has built privately in MLB history. Wolff is going to build this thing by raising money through revenue generating devices.

    It works because like the 49ers there is a huge private sector nearby and people with good jobs and low crime.

    Selig is a thing of the past…..Let’s see if his thinking changes now.

  37. Occupy San Jose is the little garden party version of the Occupy movement.

  38. OSJ has been working more on free workshops and seminars than just sitting around and shouting their high school punk ethos at cops, but they’ve kinda missed the mark here. I hate to see an actual social movement tied down to old-fashioned CAVE mentality.

  39. I love that Occupy and the Tea Party have found common ground.

  40. Can’t be there due to work, so hopefully BBSJ and some here can educate Occupy San Jose and the naysayers on what’s really going on here; i.e. a massive economic stimulus that will provide jobs/tax revenue vs a “subsidy for rich folk that will cause children to go hungry.”

  41. You know, hearing the lies from Better Sense SJ and (perhaps) now OSJ, I sometimes wish San Jose WAS proposing a massive taxpayer subsidy for the ballpark ala Target Field or Nationals Park; 60% public financing, no referendum/vote for sales tax, RDA bonds, utility tax, etc. It would make what’s coming out of their mouth much easier to swallow.

  42. They declare themselves to have “better sense” even though they’d rather see empty office buildings at the site to go with the hordes of empty office buildings we already have in the South Bay.

  43. I’m staying out of this one…

  44. I actually consider myself a 99%. Perhaps OSJ will back off their apparent stance on the land deals when they get the truth of the whole matter (I say “apparent” because we actually haven’t heard anything official from them). Seems they would be all for union construction jobs and increased economic opportunity for SJ; we shall see.

  45. C’mon… this is going to pass with ease. I believe the council has decided already and the “public input” is just fluff. It’s no different from what other cities would do.

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