Well, there goes a potential backup plan.
San Jose is getting ready to restructure the land deal (also see rendering) at the Airport West (FMC) property. In February, the City approved the Earthquakes Stadium project, which is to be located on the southern end of the property. Originally, the Wolff-Fisher group planned to build offices and perhaps a hotel on the remainder of the land. Now that remainder will be developed by South Bay developer Hunter Storm, with the section closest to the train tracks set aside for new soccer fields adjacent to the Earthquakes training pitch.
That last part is especially new, because that land was initially destined to be part of a BART maintenance facility. With BART for now terminating at Berryessa while full funding for the rest of the Silicon Valley extension is to be determined, the land would sit idle if not for this change. Plans currently call for an expansion of the Hayward BART maintenance facility to accommodate the extension, and there may be an option along the extension line for another yard if called for.
The controversial part is that in executing this land deal, the total proceeds to the City will go down $10 million. While the City has an equivalent surplus, in the previous agreement Wolff wasn’t expected to complete the land purchase until 2015. In the new proposal, Hunter Storm would pay for its share of the land by the end of the month. Revenues from the Quakes Stadium and the soccer fields would begin in 2013.
As for the Earthquakes Stadium itself, the article mentions that it’s under FAA review/audit. Apparently this is because the FAA wants to check out light spillage from the stadium light design to ensure that it doesn’t create any difficulties for air traffic. Problems don’t seem likely, but this is a bureaucratic government organization we’re talking about. Already the FAA has determined that both the 49ers stadium and Cisco Field would require temporary flight restrictions due to the way they are sited within the SJC flight path. The FAA review is the only issue remaining that delays stadium construction.
I’ll be at the City Council session later today to cover this issue.
Just across the wire – City Council voted 8-3 to approve $85,000 in improvements to Municipal Stadium. Noted is the fact that the City Council can reopen discussions later over how the Giants’ subsidies are spent – especially if they’re used to fund a lawsuit against the City. Later is probably 2013, when the lease is due for renegotiation. Will there still be a lawsuit in play at that point? We’ll see over the next year or so. One thing to keep in mind – as long as the uncertainty regarding the lease and lawsuit hang over the club, it would be hard for ownership to sell the franchise to new San Jose-based interests. Outside San Jose, that’s a different story. The City Council was careful to say that there’s room for both teams within city limits, a posture that has really only come to the forefront in the last couple of years.