You know what I like the most about Friday’s Oakland press conference? They snuck in a very, very important detail and no one noticed.
Sometime after we heard that the Victory Court EIR hadn’t begun (which was verified, yes) a bit of info started floating around the interwebs about Oakland offering and presenting to MLB a “$250 million package” for the Victory Court site. There was no sense as to the substance of that package. Some questions I had about it:
- Would it be all of the land up to Oak Street?
- Would it include all infrastructure (on/off-ramps, parking, pedestrian improvements)?
- Would it provide some money for construction?
- Would it require redevelopment-based or tax increment financing?
The answers to those from what I gather:
When Victory Court was initially presented last December, Oakland officials steered far away from any kind of guess as to the cost of preparing the site, especially land acquisitions. I made a WAG of $100 million just for the land and some indeterminate amount of infrastructure. Now we know that the price just to get Victory Court ready for the A’s by November 2014 is $250,000,000. I don’t know about you, but to me that’s an absolutely staggering amount for 14 acres and infrastructure. A ballpark site should never cost that much. Even if redevelopment were to continue as-is into the distant future, it’s difficult to conceive of any amount of new, growth-based economic activity happening around Victory Court that could come close to paying off the cost of acquiring the site. Keep that price tag in mind when considering the following list of stadium site costs (note – does not break down public vs. private shares and does not include stadium construction cost):
- Diridon: $50-70 million, plus $25-30 million in infrastructure
- China Basin: Final cost $87 million, including land and infrastructure
- Atlantic Yards (Brooklyn Nets): $100 million
- New Yankee Stadium: $300 million including garages (considered grossly inflated)
- Miami/Orange Bowl: $60 million including garages
- Target Field: $90 million including infrastructure
Sense a pattern? Around $100 million is the prevailing rate. Yet Victory Court is 2.5 times that amount, approaching the astronomical figure for the eternal ripoff that is New Yankee Stadium. Why didn’t anyone pay attention to the cost of Victory Court? Simple. Oakland presented another site with an even more outlandish vision, Coliseum City. Of course, the price will also be more outlandish, but no one’s talking about that. And with that presentation, they gave a handful of people that whiff of hope a dog-and-pony shows brings, even though there’s very little substance to it.