No stone left unturned

Two articles from Sunday (Chronicle: Matier and Ross, Mercury News: Bruce Newman/Sharon Noguchi) point to a special trip made to the Bay Area last week by Commissioner Bud Selig’s three-person committee. The committee, which has been studying the A’s stadium issue for more than 40 months, met with San Jose officials on Tuesday, followed by Oakland officials on Wednesday.

The M&R report indicates that Oakland’s bid is moving towards a potential deal at Howard Terminal, anchored by a $40 million sale of land there to help kick things off. Present were Clorox CEO Don Knauss and Signature Properties’ Mike Ghielmetti.

The $40 million part has me confused. To whom would Howard Terminal be sold? To the A’s or some ownership group? To other developers like Ghielmetti? For years, the minimal entry for any Oakland site had to be to take care of the land and any infrastructure at the very least. But if that responsibility has to be shouldered by whomever builds a ballpark, the price to build the venue will only get higher. Remember that at Howard Terminal, some amount of reconstruction of the site’s foundation will be required to make it safe and suitable for a ballpark and perhaps other surrounding commercial development. If the ballpark costs $500 million just in construction cost, and the land acquisition and site preparation costs $140 million, the final price tag is $640 million!

It would’ve been interesting to find out how much time Knauss & Co. spent presenting themselves as ballpark backers first before jumping to a different role as would-be owners. Assuming that they pay the full freight on a ballpark and a minimum $500 million for the A’s, they’d have to come up with $1.14 billion for the whole package. That’s a tall sum just to keep the A’s in Oakland, no matter how it’s sliced. A downtown site such as Howard Terminal was expected to be more expensive than the Coliseum because of the added complexity in pulling off the deal, but is that difference (at least $100 million) worth it? It’s hard to pass judgment on Howard Terminal until we know more specifics. Nevertheless, at this point the committee is probably of many of these details, and that will be important for MLB’s continued evaluation.

Last Tuesday’s meeting with San Jose seemed to be a more ho-hum affair, with the exception of the presence of Brad Ruskin, a very prominent lawyer who has at one time represented all of the major pro sports leagues other than Major League Baseball (he has also represented some MLB clubs). One of his specialties is antitrust law, and he is a trial lawyer, so his presence may be to show that he could represent MLB in an antitrust case if push comes to shove. Opposing Ruskin would presumably be Allen Ruby, who the A’s brought on board earlier in the year.

For his part, Lew Wolff continues to be defiant in the face of questions about selling the team. His angle is that, unlike much outdated criticism about his previous efforts to put together a ballpark deal in Oakland and Fremont, his plan is simply to build a ballpark. Ancillary development using surrounding land is becoming more increasingly difficult to pull off, yet that’s the formula being espoused by all of the Oakland bids: Howard Terminal, Coliseum City, and Victory Court. The committee has to be taking all of this into account.

Another factor is State Controller John Chiang’s review of the land transfers between San Jose’s defunct Redevelopment Agency and the son-of-redevelopment San Jose Diridon Development Agency. If the transfers are upheld, Santa Clara County has indicated that it won’t make any further challenges to the land deal so the ballpark could conceivably move forward. If the transfers are ruled improper, the land would go to the the redevelopment successor agency, which would subsequently auction off the land. The land would be sold to the highest bidder, who may be someone other than Wolff. Keep in mind that San Jose would still hold the final trump card as it was would have any final determination over what could be done with the land. As much as AT&T claims that its land is of paramount importance to its service delivery model, they’d have sold the land years ago if it could’ve been rezoned to medium-density residential as was considered a decade ago. In any case, Wolff seemed confident that he’d be able to get the land however Chiang’s office ruled. That ruling is due in the next couple of weeks.

The cynic in me looks at this trip with a simple explanation. Summer owners’ meetings are scheduled for next week, and while there will be more pressing matters on the agenda (Padres sale, national TV deals, Nats-O’s-MASN deal) it’s expected that there will be some sort of update on the A’s-Giants ongoing saga. What better way to look like you’re doing something than to have a couple of meetings right before the owners’ sessions? It seems unlikely that Selig will be able to render a decision or bring up a vote based on whatever new information was gathered based on the trip since it’s so fresh, so it’s just one more opportunity to kick the can down the road – at least until November. In the meantime, whatever’s happening to the A’s on the field can take precedence, and that’s not a bad thing at all.

153 thoughts on “No stone left unturned

  1. hmmm compare the 1.14 billion it’d take to get a new oakland park done and what it’d take to build cisco field in sj? lets say the cost of the stadium is the same so 500 million, getting the site ready cost another 50-75 million i don’t know, how much honestly you think the a’s/mlb would have to pay for tr? maybe 100 million?

    i don’t know those are just guesses. telling me spending 650-700 million in the end for cisco field in sj isn’t a better option both on and off the field for the a’s than it would to spend over 1.1 billion dollar on a howard terminal “clorox field”? that doesn’t include the huge silicon valley sponsorships that the a’s would be getting for a long long time. if mlb doesn’t think sj is a much better and viable option than whatever oakland has planned for howard terminal, just based on cost alone, then they’re freaking morons.

  2. You guys are missing a hilarious discussion on 95.7, they think Howard Terminal is MLBs choice and this is inevitable.

  3. It seems likely that Oakland is interested in footing the $40 million to the Port to acquire the land. This plus infrastructure is what the City can viably provide directly and with community support.

    Oakland has looked into a streetcar from 12th st to JLS for some time – a ballpark could be a lynchpin that helps drive that development which would have lasting impacts for the rest of the JLS area.

    As I’ve stated before Oakland can justify a ballpark and will have citizen support if the project involves genuine revitalization for a district in the city. The Howard Terminal site presents just such an opportunity.

    As for this write-up I find it interesting that you gloss over the Redevelopment Agency issue. That does not sound like a minor deal at all – in fact it’s a strong probability that it’s the nail-in-the-coffin for the SJ plan as it stands now. I’d suggest that may have quite a bit to do with what’s going on right now. The state of California has taken a hard line re: redevelopment changes and I wouldn’t take the Governor’s office lightly on this issue based on the track record thus far.

  4. Wolff said it the best about Howard Terminal “We have analyzed Howard Terminal upside down and sideways,” Wolff said, “and it has no ability to be implemented for a ballpark.”

    MLB simply was just making sure they did not miss anything and for their own due diligence had to make sure this was not a viable option.

    Howard Terminal was part of the original ballpark study in 2001 and was deemed not feasible back then how is it feasible now without a sizable amount of money to clear the site, buy out businesses, and do environmental cleanup? Plus the streets around that general cannot handle the traffic at all.

    It would be a nightmare getting in and out of there. In any case, once again Oakland comes up with a proposal that is just merely fumes and contradicts its previous site while San Jose holds steadfast with the same site and plan it has had for years.

  5. Thanks for the recap ML; I agree, this seems more like a status update for MLB rather than anything substantive, but at this point we can all agree any “progress” is good, however minimal.
    .
    As for the comments already made about whether MLB “thinks” SJ is a potentially more viable site that is obviously closer to being shovel-ready, I doubt anyone would dispute that. Clearly, the issue, both now and for the last three years, is the Giants holding firm to their T-rights and not budging. Imagine if there were no T-rights in play? The A’s would be a year away from opening Cisco Field in downtown San Jose, after past attempts at Oakland and Fremont fell through.
    .
    The problem for the A’s presently is T-rights are still in their way, as far as we know. That may change, but thats the current situation, and as of today the A’s play in their home territory of Oakland. So lets say hypothetically (and I know all pro-SJ fans will cry foul, but just play along) SJ is taken off the table; then what? Lew’s line of “no plan B after SJ. But we also aren’t selling…” is obviously not feasible, whether your MLB, other owners, or just an A’s fan.
    .
    And I think this is what has frustrated pro-Oakland fans. I think all of us would have guessed 3 years ago the A’s were as good as gone to SJ. But for whatever reason, they’re not, and we have a good young team and news of Oakland business and a new ownership group (just as a side-note, from the last Knauss interview I heard, my impression was he represented local business support, but an entirely different group, who still remains unnamed, would be willing to buy the team and build the stadium) who may (may being the operative word) have a plan for keeping the team.
    .
    I know most SJ-supporters will just write this off as another “too little, too late” attempt, but the fact remains our A’s are still the Oakland A’s, and we want to see this franchise succeed. Whether we admit it or not, we know the San Jose A’s would be a successful franchise with good fan and corporate support. But at the same time, there are a lot of us who still think that can happen in Oakland as well. However we got here, this is where we’re at, so the Oakland crowd will keep rooting for our team, and an Oakland stadium, while we’re still around.

  6. It is so confusing following this saga. It seems that all Oakland has to do is throw out a site and it’s all of a sudden deemed as the best site for the team by everyone. I have a feeling we’re going to hear a whole lot of “Howard Terminal” this and that from pro-Oakland folk. And now Coliseum City will be the latest memory and disappear just as fast as Victory Court disappeared. It sure feels like anyone with a stake in this team’s future is just being jerked around by Oakland pols. If they can get this done, I’m all for it. But it doesn’t feel that way.

  7. It seems silly to me that the Frank Youell site, which is publicly owned as part of Laney College, is not being considered.
    .
    An home plate orientation to the north would provide for a spectacular view, with the Oakland skyline to the Northwest (left field), Lake Merritt to the North (center field), and the hills to the Northeast (right field).
    .

    .
    The ballpark and track would have to be relocated, but it would be relatively inexpensive compared to the costs of relocating port activity or dozens of businesses. Maybe parking is the issue, but it would be the same issue faced at Victory Court or Howard Terminal . . . without having to cross an active railroad line.

  8. You forgot one thing letsgoas…. the amount of settlement for the Giants to give up their SJ rights. Nobody really knows what this could end up being… although some are speculating it could be as much as 500 mil. Throw that on to the 650-700 mil and you dealing with very similar bottom lines. it almost makes me wonder if MLB won’t push for some sort of settlement where the Giants kick in something in return for the A’s dropping the SJ territory dispute. Of course this is all contingent on Oakland putting forth a viable plan… and up to this point that’s hardly a given.

  9. @Pudgie

    I agree. Not sure what the other draw backs are but no other site (with good freeway access) is touching that view

  10. Read Mr. Ruskin’s resume carefully. He seems to have a whole lot of sports-law litigation experience. His sports A/T experience is less prominent. (A two-week A/T trial is the equivalent of a one-minute boxing match.) Clearly he and his firm have A/T depth, but that doesn’t necessarily prefigure any A/T litigation here. There are many other sports-law issues more pressing in this scenario–at least for now. (By way of comparison–an old friend started his career in A/T litigation, and then developed a fairly well-known sports law practice, primarily litigation. The two areas of his practice never overlapped.)

  11. to me, the wild card in this is BS. Unlike basketball, BS can force Lew and Fisher out. No matter what the maloofs did, Stern could not force them out. What if BS force Lew and Fisher out ?

  12. @daniel- he can’t force them out- he could deny SJ which might lead to their decision to sell but as ML has pointed out there will be no hometown discount- so any prospective buyer needs minimum of $500M for the club alone-

  13. @Sactownbull – I didn’t forget that because such a notion is entirely absurd. What you’re saying is that Wolff/Fisher would have to pay more to get to the San Jose than any individual or group has ever paid for an expansion franchise anywhere. That’s ludicrous. That would pay for two AT&T Parks. It would still keep the A’s as the 2nd team in the Bay Area. In other words, they’re paying twice for the A’s, up to $700 million for the privilege.

    We have to keep in mind that whatever the cost for MLB to give the South Bay to the A’s, it’s supposed to be a fair price for both teams. MLB is not going to make a decision that enriches one team and in the same move cripples another. That means T-rights will not go for free, and it most certainly won’t go for $500 million dollars. To have the Giants directly kick in for the A’s to stay in Oakland? All that would mean is that since revenue sharing for the A’s ends in 2016, the Giants would have to pay $30-40 million per year to keep the status quo. Again, also unfair and quite ridiculous. Come on people, put your thinking caps on for a second.

    @anonasfan – First of all, where will Oakland get $40 million from? It had to play stupid budget tricks to get the current budget passed and it faces a reckoning with the PFRS problem in the near future. And the thing is, it will cost much more than $40 million. Second, the RDA issue is cut and dried. Either the discounted price is approved or it isn’t. If it’s the latter, from there Wolff pay the market value or someone else does and then has to deal with never being able to make money from that land because of SJ’s angry disapproval. Try to tell your outside investors to buy into that. There haven’t been a lot of parties interested in the Diridon land, and it’s likely than many who would be are already friends of Wolff and his minority partners!

    @daniel – It took bankruptcy court to get Frank McCourt out. Wolff/Fisher aren’t going bankrupt anytime soon. Selig has little real power in this era to get rid of Wolff/Fisher.

    @all – This ongoing site survey, which currently has three sites and may expand in the future, is like a gigantic game of Whack-a-Mole. The mallet in this case is the facts revealing the cost and disadvantages of each site. It’s easy to glom onto Howard Terminal when none of that stuff has been exposed yet. We played the same exact script with Victory Court last year, and it fizzled out in a thoroughly unspectacular fashion. How many more moles will have to be whacked?

  14. The Coliseum City EIR is set to explore anywhere from three to one, sports franchise along with hotels and other development. That won’t be stopped by looking at Howard Terminal.

  15. Are we going to get another *gasp*…. press conference?! :X How long before pro Oaklanders realize their getting strung along and get fed up with this BS? Stalling and the status quo is not an option. I think there are much more pressing matters that i would be concerned with.

    @ GoA’s – what incentive does LW have to sell the team? He has a 180 million dollar investment that has appreciated ~2.5X over the years while being annually subsidized by the league with an extra $40 million coming on top of that in coming years. If I were JF/LW, i’d keep the team languishing on for year and years to prove MLB how stupid TRs are in the Bay Area and keep pocketing all the money I can.

  16. @anon- not suggesting LW will sell as I agree with you- my point to daniel is BS cannot make him sell- and as you suggested the A’s will continue to get welfare beyond 2016 if they are not in a new ballpark- so for BS or the owners deny SJ there had better be a commitment of significant public dollars in Oakland or the welfare will continue forany years

  17. @Marine Layer

    Maybe you need to read what I posted again…. I said nobody really knows what the amount will be… including you. I only brought up 500 mil because it’s the highest number I’ve seen kicked around… do i really think they could get that? Hell no. But we all know how this works… start with a ridiculously high number and negotiate from there. The one thing we do know is there will be some compensation if this SJ thing finally does happen…. whatever that amount is you failed to factor that in. Now it may not be enough to tip the scales to the point you were trying to make but it’s not going to be zero.

  18. @sactownbull- letsgoas put $100M for TR in his analysis above- and as he has concluded the A’s in SJ with this payment would be in much better financial shape than what it would cost new owners to build a privately financed ballpark in Oakland- MLB has limits on how much debt a team can be in- as a footnote, Roger Noll, local sports economist estimated the value of TR at $30M-

  19. Pudgie –

    Laney is not being considered because it is currently the site of Laney College. You will find very low support in the city of Oakland for changing that. The community college system was a hard-fought victory and is a source of pride for the people in Oakland. The public benefit would not be served by trying to change this site into a ballpark.

    An industrial port, on the other hand, is well-suited for this use. There is plenty of real estate for port activity and the key change here is that the Port of Oakland apparently needs some cash – a willing landowner who already works very closely with the City is a blessing.

    I don’t think anybody can speculate accurately in regards to financing the ballpark facility itself but I don’t believe there are issues with the site itself. Infrastructure improvements in the area are long-needed and a ballpark project at Howard Terminal could actually help drive these improvements that the city has long wanted. It’s just the kind of political cover needed to invest in ways that actually make sense for the city.

    As for Lew Wolff’s “it’s not viable” I haven’t seen the detailed engineering studies and neither have you. We live in a world where airports are built in bodies of water. I strongly doubt there are major issues with engineering a baseball stadium at Howard Terminal.

    • As for Lew Wolff’s “it’s not viable” I haven’t seen the detailed engineering studies and neither have you.We live in a world where airports are built in bodies of water.I strongly doubt there are major issues with engineering a baseball stadium at Howard Terminal.

      Stop looking at micro level and instead at the macro: while engineering it is feasible, it’s the associated costs of development at HT that are the problem.

  20. @ GoA’s – point taken, and sorry if I replied directly at you on it. It’s just laughable that pro Oaklanders keep advocating for the A’s to sell when in reality, that’s probably the farthest thing on JF/LW’s mind (for the various reasons i cited before). The strategy of Oakland is so predictable right now:

    Stall as long as possible
    When people wonder whats taking so long after xx number ofmonth, choose another random unfeasible site located near the waterfront or downtown
    Schedule a press conference
    Go back to stalling

    /facepalm

  21. @anonasfan- and help all of us understand where Oakland gets the money to do all the things you suggest are going to happen at HT?

  22. @Sactownbull – I took your $500 million argument and tore it down. You respond with “someone could put that out there.” Don’t get mad because I’m trying to make a rational argument and tore down such speculation. Maybe you need to read that I said $0 was also ludicrous.

    @anonasfan – Oakland has touted the cost to remediate the piers for SF’s Piers 30/32 as a potential showstopper. Howard Terminal’s foundation was only patched up following Loma Prieta and would require new piers or pilings to hold a ballpark. Does it not stand to reason that a similar investment would be required for HT? Or does such work only apply to properties outside of Oakland?

  23. To Marine Layer, et al:

    How do you figure it will cost $1.4 billion at Howard Terminal and perhaps $500 million in San Jose?

    Just asking.

    A’s observer.

  24. @A’s observer – Ballpark site cost for Howard Terminal is probably $600-650 million. Cost to buy the A’s by an interested party would be at least $500 million, since it’s unlikely that Wolff/Fisher will be willing to pay full freight on the ballpark. Total cost to keep A’s in Oakland – $1.15 billion. Wolff/Fisher’s cost in San Jose would strictly be the cost to develop the ballpark, including additional land purchases. They’d also have to pay compensation to the Giants for T-rights, which is a complete unknown at this point.

  25. I really don’t understand why Oakland proposes sites at locations with prospering businesses. You are going to displace Matson? Hey I am pro Oakland but the leadership has to be questioned.

    • I really don’t understand why Oakland proposes sites at locations with prospering businesses.You are going to displace Matson?Hey I am pro Oakland but the leadership has to be questioned.

      Because sports > general fund > crime > business > logic when it comes to politics.

  26. @ anonasfan,

    No one is disputing that Laney is a source of pride for the community. The ballpark and track and field venues would have to be replaced if any construction where to take place on the site of Frank Youell Field, whether it be for the Athletics or any other entity:
    .

    .
    (Unlike the illustration, I would rotate the ballpark about 90 degrees so home plate faces north)
    .
    It just seems, based on what it currently built at or near each of the proposed Downtown/Port sites, that Laney/Frank Youell is the easiest and cheapest location in that part of the city.

  27. I find it depressing that nearly 4 years since the BRC was formed and more than 17 years since the A’s first indicated that they needed a new ballpark Oakland is still trying to figure out a viable site-6 months ago it was VC—last week it was CC, this week it is HT—which by the way was ranked low by HOK way back in 2002 or so—and that was before Matson signed a 25 year lease at the property. This site was also promoted by Dellums as the “preferred site” back in 2009–and of course discarded because it didnt make sense–as an A’s fan I have a hard time understanding how even the most ardent pro-Oakland folks aren’t embarassed and pissed off by the leadership of their city–how long does our franchise need to rot before bs will finally say enough is enough and allow them to move to SJ?

  28. The Howard Terminal site CAN work, Lew doesn’t WANT it to work. There is no site anywhere that is perfectly turn-key ready and won’t need some amount of re-design in terms of infrastructure, so that argument doesn’t fly with me. Building a new stadium anywhere is going to involve lots of red tape and a whole lot of money.

    I’m just as sick of people saying it CAN’T work in Oakland as I am even having this debate. Putting this kind of development anywhere in Oakland will change the city (the crime, the reputation, the aesthectic beauty), and people will no longer have a viable excuse to avoid the place. You want new development in Oakland to feel safe? Bring it and watch the city’s image change almost overnight. Demand for fixing up Oakland is off the charts. It can work in Oakland and it will be a gold mine.

  29. @LakeshoreOAK–then the city of Oakland should take all of the risk of buying/preparing the site and building the ballpark. MLB should require them to guarantee that amount (estimated at $650-$700M+) near term and then LW can pay a reasonable annual rent. The city of Oakland would be responsible for ensuring appropriate corporate sponsorships to payoff the costs that they have incurred. Do you think Oakland would do this? I don’t—because they wouldn’t want to deal with the risk of failure–so then why should LW do it?

  30. @LakshoreOAK – It needs to be a gold mine for the A’s to make it work. There are lots of Oakland business interests and developers who desperately want a ballpark in DTO because it can help bail out their projects (Ghielmetti). MLB will only approve a deal that maximizes revenue for the A’s. MLB doesn’t care about saving Oakland. So the task at hand is to articulate what’s in it for the A’s. With historically poor attendance and corporate sponsorship, MLB wants more than assurances. It needs guarantees.

  31. We have to wonder if Oakland is just throwing darts at a board to see if any of it sticks. Victory Court two years ago. Coliseum City last year. Howard Terminal now. Where does it all end? I think we can surmise Oakland is not going to take any of the risk – that will be left to the lucky owners. So these owners, if there are to be new owners, should (as I said in the other thread) set up a $500-$700 million escrow account to fully cover costs (after writing the $500 million check for the ballpark.). We don’t need another five-year delay leading to nowhere because the new owners discover that Wolff was right all along about having exhausted all options in Oakland. Require that the new owners have the money to do the project before any deal is consummated.

  32. Not professing to be an expert by any stretch, just another frustrated fan that nothing can get done, and by comissioner refusing to step in and make things happen. I guess my question comes down to: is Oakland or SJ the only two viable options in the Bay Area? Can the net not be cast more broadly? I think of Contra Costa County (Walnut Creek) where you have a vibrant downtown, corporate dollars (Chevron Field, anybody?), and certainly more of a pro-business environment than Oakland. And I have to imagine that the Giants don’t claim territorial rights. Also, Pleasanton seems like another viable option. BART and freeway access, etc. You’re also attracting a affluent consumer base from the 680 corridor. To me, Fremont still also feels like an option, dipping into Silicon Valley.

    The infinite loop is killing me here folks. Especially when I see the young talent developing and concerned that they will once again go to greener pastures.

  33. correction: after first writing the $500 mill check to buy the franchise.

  34. We all know of Howard Terminal’s financial feasibility concerns but displacing Matson would make this site politically tough.

  35. @Damon389- All sites in the East Bay have been exhausted. Fremont was the last ditch effort back a few years ago that prompted Wolff to set sights to San Jose….24M down the toilet for him.

    Pleasanton was eliminated years ago, traffic is so bad going that direction at night it would be a nightmare for the A’s to get fans….There was a site at 580 and El Charro that was once considered as part of the 2001 ballpark study. That study included Howard Terminal and the Coliseum.

    They need a Downtown site in the middle of a large city in order to succeed. Oakland’s time to offer this passed several years ago now only San Jose remains in the Bay Area market but the Giants control a city larger than their own due to MLB’s archaic rules.

    Selig is a coward who continually clings to the false hope of a Oakland miracle. As time goes on it becomes more and more obvious that he has the votes in hand but will not do what is right.

    In Selig’s eyes San Jose may as well be in Seattle, New York, or LA where other teams exist already and have hard T-rights.

    To him, San Jose being 35 miles south of Oakland does not matter. He is looking at things from the old school view of baseball logic and not 21st century logic. Even though San Jose residents can watch A’s games on TV, they are barred from having a team in their city because of the Giants whom we can watch on TV as well.

    To Selig, those facts I write above mean zero or the fact that the other three 2-team markets are all shared to avoid this type of thing from occurring…..Shows baseball logic may as well be a “woman’s logic”. Ha!

  36. Why do people assume that $500 million is what it will take to build a stadium? Citizens Bank Ballpark, PNC, Comerica and Pac Bell were all built for considerably less. Wolff bought that team in 2005 for $180 million. Is it unreasonable to think they could sell for $350 and a stadium could be built for $400 million or less in construction costs?
    Wolff’s public statements about the feasibility of Howard Terminal have zero credibility because San Jose is the only solution he wants.

  37. Ted: You think MLB and Selig will allow the A’s to be sold for such a cheap price, after other franchises (Padres, Dodgers) sold for much more? Think MLB will allow the A’s to be sold for a price that devalues franchise prices overall? Think again. There will be no bargain-basement price tag for the A’s. And if you think a new ballpark can be built in Earthquake Country and where land and everything else is more expensive than anywhere else, think again on that, too. The Prudential Center arena, in depressed Newark, NJ with no seismic concerns, and with half the amount of seats as a ballpark, cost about $400 million just a few years ago.

  38. How bout HOK’s thoughts on Howard Terminal back in 2002? Lew Wolff isn’t speaking in a vacuum. There has been a lot of work done on site feasibility in Oakland and it goes way back (other parts of Contra Costa and Alameda Counties as well). Howard Terminal was one that has been studied very thoroughly, by folks other than Wolff, and has considerable challenges.

  39. AT&T Park cost $357 million dollars to build for a 2000 opening. That’s $482 million in 2012 dollars.

  40. Ted, second option down.
    .
    http://www.oaklandfans.com/ballpark/
    .
    This was the HOK ballpark study done back in 2001 for the JPA. This was independent of Wolff, or most of the current Oakland leadership. Over 11 years ago they estimated Howard Terminal would cost 517 million dollars to build. You can bet that price has gone up in the intervening years. $600 million or more would not be an unreasonable estimate of the building at Howard Terminal.

  41. When I wrote about Howard Terminal two years ago, the cost was 602 million

  42. Jeffrey, HOK didn’t say Howard Terminal would be impossible, Wolff did.
    Dan, moving the cranes would be expensive for sure.

    • Jeffrey, HOK didn’t say Howard Terminal would be impossible, Wolff did.
      Dan, moving the cranes would be expensive for sure.

      No one said it was impossible, only whether it is feasible which is a different matter entirely, but then again, you don’t really care as long as the Gnats are okay, right?! :X

  43. $517 mil in 2001 would be $650-$670 mil in 2012. That’s as much if not more than San Jose would cost WITH a payoff to the Giants. And you have far less ability to pay it back in Oakland than in San Jose.

  44. Ted, moving the cranes, reinforcing the piers, moving what’s there, paying off the port you displaced, it would become prohibitively expensive very quick. Howard Terminal has all the same problems that eventually caused Oakland to throw the towel in at VC and then some. Not saying it’s physically impossible, but when HOK tells you it’s almost 75% more expensive than other sites in the city, I’d listen. HOK, now Populous have built enough ballparks worldwide that they tend to know what they’re talking about.

  45. If you’re frustrated by the tone on this site and elsewhere remember that it’s a booster site for A’s-to-San Jose. You’ll be hard pressed to avoid constant criticism of Oakland as if it’s the city’s fault that the billionaire owners of the A’s want to leave town because they think Oakland sucks and hope to cash out on corporate money in the Silicon Valley.

    The City of Oakland has a budget around $1 billion per year. You think they can’t find $40 million? Please. It’s not one big slush fund but it gives you some perspective on the dollars we’re talking about. $40 million to get control of the Howard Terminal land is not a problem in any actual earth-bound reality.

    The piers in SF are not equivalent to the Howard Terminal beyond the fact that they are both next to water. The site is very large and most of it is far as I know is regular old “land.” We’re not talking about a bunch of posts sticking out in to the SF Bay, here.

    Nobody is suggesting that the city of Oakland is going to build a $600 million ballpark. That’s never going to happen and it *should never happen*. Last I checked San Jose was not offering to build the A’s a ballpark with their city bank account, either, so what’s with the false equivalence?

    • Nobody is suggesting that the city of Oakland is going to build a $600 million ballpark. That’s never going to happen and it *should never happen*.Last I checked San Jose was not offering to build the A’s a ballpark with their city bank account, either, so what’s with the false equivalence?

      You sir are spot on…the feasibility of building a privately funded site rests entirely on its owners, yes the same “billionaire owners” you dislike. I don’t know about you, but anything that I invest in, I would like to recuperate my money in some fashion. These same billionaires that have been successful entrepreneurs in their respective industries (development and clothing) have ascertained that the ROI on Oakland is nil without some heavy subsidies from the city, which again as you stated is “never going to happen”. As much civic pride goes into painting a glamorous area chalk full of exciting redevelopment and such, even the late Al Davis recognized that it is a “depressed area”. There is no doubt that a new stadium in Oaktown would draw quite a number of folks in its first few years, but after the newness wears off and/or the team goes through eventual rebuilding cycle as all teams do, would it avoid the same situation they are in now, especially without the same corporate base as the South Bay to sustain it? We may never know, but when $500 million of your own dime is on the line, I think the safe, logical bet is on the booming city that has publicly embraced the A’s from a city government and corporate standpoint. So the question comes full circle: what does Oakland have to offer to guarantee the A’s will be successful not only in the short run, but for the long haul? Are you supportive of another PSL deal where the city is on the hook (a la the RAiders)? Would you ask Clorox / Chevron / Kaiser to sign hundreds of millions of dollars in advance commitment for naming rights / sponsorship? Again, money talks and bs walks….so far Oakland is doing a good job of the ladder and SJ the former….

  46. I find it funny that some of the reasons Howard Terminal is more expensive are the same reasons that Mayor Quan said the Warriors would eventually give up on that pier in SF and come back to Oakland.

  47. @ Jeffrey, all analyses of HT, for a ballpark, including Mr. Wolff’s, are pretty old and should probably be redone.

    In the past, the principle detractor to getting a ballpark there in the past was the Port’s reluctance. There are very different commercial circumstances for the Port of Oakland today, which make a deal much easier and, one could argue, almost necessary for the Port.

    Back in 2001 (HOK study) and to a certain extent in 2008, the Port’s maritime traffic was at capacity, or near to it, with a projection for significantly more traffic. Much capacity was added over the years. Now, after the recession the Port is at 55% capacity. Also with the Panama widening project almost complete, the larger vessels that would stop on the West Coast may now go straight to eastern ports. So there is very little chance of there being a surge in traffic. Thus, there is lots of capacity to move the existing tenant (SSA/Matson). Also, SSA’s lease is now above-market so there is incentive for them to want to renegotiate a move at a lower lease rate.

    Further, HT is also far removed from deeper water terminals in the Port’s outer harbor. It’s also easier for big cargo ships to turn around in outer harbor. Go here to see. http://www.portofoakland.com/maritime/terminal.asp Howard Terminal is berths 67-68

    Also, site is 50 acres under control of one public owner. No site assembly needed. 50 acres is big enough to provide ample parking, and public access to waterfront, while providing for ancillary and retail development complimentary to JLS.

    Site is a stone’s throw from the ferry terminal, three blocks from Amtrak, close enough to BART and has excellent access to a freeway (I-980) and surface streets (Brush, Market, etc) that have excess capacity. Traffic coming in from Westbound I-580/980 is going opposite commute as is traffic coming up from Northbound I-880. There is also ample parking in the neighborhood — both on street and off street.

    Also, HT was rebuilt in the 1980s to take significant load from cargo containers and the added cranes. It’s pretty strong. Ballparks are fairly light as much of the area is covered with a playing field.

    Views from HT to downtown Oakland, SF and East Bay Hills are awesome.

    Thus, I can see why some people in the City might be excited by the prospects.

    • @ Jeffrey, all analyses of HT, for a ballpark, including Mr. Wolff’s, are pretty old and should probably be redone.

      Yay, let’s condone another phantom EIR that will take at least a year with nothing being done in the end! Woohooo!

  48. @SS- so why did the city choose VC as their preferred site just over a year ago after re-analyzing all options? In their due diligence did they overlook HT? Bottom line is relocating a port is expensive and I doubt that Matson will pay for their own relocation-

  49. @anonasfan – And yet again, another non-informed, Oakland-Only fan wants to shoot the messenger instead of looking at the facts. I wonder why no one in the Oakland camp, in seven years, has built another blog as informative and fact-based as Marine Layer. No, the only sites I see are based on feelings and nostalgia, ignoring facts and details. If you actually followed this site over the years, you’d see that ML calls out SJ too. The only difference is that SJ has a lot going for it, and has been proactive. Oakland has not. But that’s OK. If you want to keep thinking that this site is biased, then I challenge you to come up with your own blog that uses facts and common sense to conclude that Oakland is the answer.

  50. HOK ranked Howard Terminal as the 4th most desirable site… Right behind Fremont and just ahead of Pleasanton. The other two ahead of it were the Coliseum and Uptown. For the record, Laney College was dead last out of 7 sites considered. This is objective analysis by a company that’s only skin in the game was a potential contract to help design the stadium. Not Lew Wolff, not Let’s Go Oakland… in other words, a mostly unbiased source.
    .
    Stanley, the report indicated that cost was a huge factor in making the sight less desirable. It was rated as the second most expensive. Additionally, Site factors were rated as the third worst of all the sites considered. That’s more than “The port doesn’t want a ballpark there.”
    .
    The one thing that really, really has to stop for Oakland boosters is the posturing of a business deal as “What’s in it for Oakland?” because that isn’t what is important to MLB. Wolff ownership or otherwise… Read about what happened in Milwaukee with Miller Park. They were all about a downtown Milwaukee stadium, but the Brewers didn’t care. And in the end the City paid for a park on the site of County Stadium because that was what the Brewers wanted, not what was best for the city.
    .
    The same story played out in many markets. The sales pitch to the team should be “What’s in it for the A’s?”
    .
    You guys also might want to start considering what it takes to privately finance a stadium. It is not a “false equvialncey” to point out that it would be easier in San Jose. In fact, it is just objectively stating the truth. It requires tons of presold Season tickets. It requires a very large naming rights deal. It isn’t a billionaire cutting a $500M check. These things are less likely in Oakland because of the much smaller Corporate base in the City proper.

    • @Stanley Stanson/anonasfan – From the Grove St. Pier (Howard Terminal) Historic American Buildings Survey from 1994:

      2. Condition of fabric: Following the partial demolition of 1980-81, the remnant of the Grove Street Pier was maintained in good condition. The structure sustained damage in the Loma Prieta earthquake of October 17, 1989. In the months following the earthquake, inspectors from the Federal Emergency Management Agency, the State Office of Emergency Services, and the Port of Oakland analyzed the damage and estimated repair costs. These findings were presented in three Damage Survey Reports prepared by FEMA in November 1989, February 1990, and August 1991. Principal damage consisted of cracking and occasional displacement in 449 reinforced concrete and concrete-jacket piles under the pier; cracking and spalling of six reinforced-concrete beams under the pier; horizontal separation along expansion joints (between the old and new piers) and along the interface of the wood apron and concrete deck of the old pier; cracking and displacement of the quay wall; and cracking and spalling at the base of the front wall of the transit shed (directly above the quay wall). Repairs consisted of the following: piles were sealed and strengthened by the injection of epoxy resin; beams were patched with grout; the gap along the expansion joint was partially closed by welding new steel along the edge of the cover plate; and a wood spacer was inserted into the gap between the wood apron and concrete deck. Substantial repair of the quay wall has been hindered by the massive transit shed resting atop it; as a result, damage to the shed caused by the weakened wall has not been repaired. Otherwise, the general condition of the transit shed is good.

      Sure, it won’t need substantial work at all. All that epoxy and grout was just was the doctor ordered for a building that will be made of 10,000 tons of high-strength steel and 50,000 cubic yards of reinforced concrete, that will hold 40,000 at a time, 82 times a year. It absolutely needs a new study. Don’t be surprised if the price tag isn’t exactly friendly.

  51. @ Jeffrey, if you think that HOK study was “objective” you don’t know how city politics work. Do you remember who commissioned it?

    @ ML, i didn’t say it would be “free” to build on, I said HT was “pretty strong.” Can you point to anything in my post where I said what it would cost? My point, inarticulate as it may have been, is that the piers aren’t rotting into the bay. I understand it will cost money to prepare the site for construction. This is a transaction, like all other transactions, that needs to be negotiated between the parties.

  52. Stanley, yeah. But are you really going to argue that Howard Terminal is better than Uptown would have been? That the people who commissioned it would have preferred Fremont to HT?

  53. Where is the beef ? maybe the clueless mayor can show us

  54. Jeffrey, no, not at all. I think the Uptown site was the best site. Jerry preferred housing. I think the idea was to position Uptown as the best Oakland site to put pressure on the team to come to the table. Also, HT had extremely different economic circumstances 10 years ago. I trust that aspect of my post was clear?

    • @Stanley Stanson – There is no sliding scale by which some piers could be used and some couldn’t. The foundation is either good enough or not good enough. That’s how it’s similar to Piers 30-32.

      @GoA’s – This is the new article from the Tribune’s Matt Artz that you were referring to.

      @Jeffrey – Add the need for a new streetscape, improved pedestrian access, and other necessary infrastructure to the disadvantages pile.

  55. Stanley, the JPA commissioned the study. And while the circumstances of the site have changed in terms of its current use, so have they changed in the cost of construction and the amount of repairs and the degradation the site has undergone in the 11 years since HOK released their report that would offset any savings.

  56. If HOK ranked Fremont high on the list then that study needs another look. A suburban park is not what anyone wants, particularly MLB.

  57. Feasibility and desirability are two different things. Fremont was a more affordable option than several others in the study and was much more likely to be brought to fruition with a minimum of hassle as HOK saw it. And in reality it very well may have been if Wolff had chosen to fight or creatively negotiate at either site in Fremont. But he chose not to. I still think the big box stores at Pacific Commons could have been bought off with a small payment and some assurances. And the folks on the other side of 680 could equally have been placated with assurances had Wolff chosen to pursue the site north of the NUMMI/Tesla plant. For some reason Wolff just isn’t big on confrontation and so he rolled over in both cases to move on to SJ where he’s been equally as passive.

  58. @Dan–I believe the bigger issue was the “village” concept around the ballpark crumbled with the economy. This coupled with the opposition made downtown SJ much more viable as the corporate support was necessary to privately build the ballpark v. the entitlements for development that he was banking on in Fremont. Personally I still believe if SJ doesnt happen then it will be back to Fremont especially as the housing market picks up again in Silicon Valley-

  59. Two interesting quotes from an article in the Oakland Tribune that support what ML has written above—“The terminal was ranked fourth in a 2001 study by stadium designer HOK behind proposed sites in Downtown Oakland, the coliseum complex and Fremont. The firm determined that it would cost more than $100 million extra to build a stadium at the terminal rather than at the coliseum because parking spaces and other facilities would need to be constructed.” and a second on the 25 year lease signed by Maston and operated by SSA “Port spokesman Isaac Kos-Read said relocating SSA would not necessarily be a simple undertaking. “We don’t have a vacant terminal where they could move,” he said. “And we haven’t heard any interest on their part in moving.”

  60. Stanley, the cost of building on the site is no different adjusting for inflation… Reading through the study today, much of the circumstances are the same:
    .
    Advantages:
    Waterfront setting
    Extension of Jack London Square
    Restoration of existing shoreline
    Disadvantages:
    Proximity to transit and parking
    Displaces port function (maybe less of a concern)
    Key Issues:
    Resolve parking requirements
    Shared parking with entertainment and retail
    Cost of relocation port and cranes
    .
    Ultimately, if there was a stadium on the site I would be there as often as I could be, I’d own season tickets and I’d eat hot dogs/drink beer with the rest of my fellow A’s fans. Personally, I think Oakland should be taking a different approach than this lame repeat of a PR war…

  61. “If the city can show that it has a viable waterfront site with business support, it could make MLB owners more reluctant to revoke the Giants territorial rights to Santa Clara County and grant the A’s their wish to move to downtown San Jose.”
    .
    And the real reason that Howard Terminal has been brought back up comes to the fore. Never mind the same deficiencies that made HT one of the less attractive sites to HOK and the same deficiencies that made Wolff dismiss it during his search in Oakland still exist.

  62. @anonasfan – excellent, sir.
    _____________
    @ML (sorry I’m late) – Agreed. MLB (or anybody else) is not in it to save Oakland. What I’m saying is if MLB is doubtful of strong corporate sponsorship in Oakland, building something like a brand new ballpark downtown will draw a GREAT DEAL of attention (and people) in Oakland – the kind of people they don’t think will actually come to Oakland. You know, the ones with plenty of disposable income and no criminal record? The kind of people who mill about after games looking for ways to spend money? The same kind of people that hold corporate jobs in San Francisco. Despite what it apparently seems like, Oakland is not a welfare state of Outer Mongolia.

    There are lots and lots of educated people with corporate jobs who are not afraid of Oakland. In fact, they are quite proud of it. They’d make a mighty fine corporate target demographic. What you are likely not aware of is the yuppie movement that is currently taking place in Oakland. Lots of yuppies from SF have taken the plunge and have considered Oakland a viable alternative to the high-cost living of SF. They are part of the reason the night life is taking off. They are huge part of the reason why some of SF’s eateries have found their way to Oakland. Oakland, despite its endless parade of bad press, is growing something very unique right now. Pardon the oxymoron, but peace is going to take Oakland by force.

    Just yesterday, I got an email from my A’s ticket rep. I haven’t bought season tickets in..oh..around 7 years. I told him, “If you can get me a job in Oakland, I will buy season tix again next year.” I meant it. If they build a new park anywhere in Oakland for the A’s, Raiders or Warriors (insert joke here), I promise I will get a job in town, buy season tickets to all three and sincerely try to go to every single game. I will take out a second if I need to.

    The A’s can MAKE Oakland a gold mine by building a new park and drawing corporate sponsorship to THEM. The problem is: Lew owns land in SJ and doesn’t want to to concede a loss, so he’s not going to give up on the design he’s had for the A’s since he bought in. I’ll say it again: Oakland CAN work, Lew doesn’t want it to.

  63. What Land does Lew own in SJ that he would have to take a loss on?

  64. “If I was going to pursue a ballpark, I would certainly do it in San Jose, not depend on a vote outside of San Jose, and I would work through the mayor and the Redevelopment Agency,” said Wolff. “It’s the difference between a big-league city and a non-big-league city. I wouldn’t spend five minutes on any other city besides San Jose.”- Lew Wolff 1998

    The quote is priceless.LOL and watch the people who hate Oakland come out and try and spin this claiming he tried in Oakland. Busniess men are quite slick and most are dishonest. Liars you anti Oakland people are just like Wolff….but no worries. San Jose will not happen. And when it doesn’t Wolff will sell for sure and Marine Layer’s site will be done LMAO

  65. It’s not about being afraid of Oakland. It’s about being able to get to the games conveniently and often enough to justify buying season tickets, boxes, suites, etc. You aren’t going to get enough companies to commit to that if you’re in Oakland. There just aren’t enough of those companies in the East Bay. And the ones that can easily get there from SF can more easily get to AT&T Park. Ditto the ones in San Jose. The only way you are going to capture the corporate dollar in SJ is to be in their backyard. Furthermore, the only way you’re going to be able to privately finance a stadium is with that corporate money.

  66. re: The A’s can MAKE Oakland a gold mine by building a new park and drawing corporate sponsorship to THEM.

    ..Didn’t Oakland and the Raiders already try this and fail? Brand new, state-of-the-art suites were built for the Raiders in 1995 and the team has had trouble selling them ever since. Why would it be any different for the A’s? Except in this case, the team owners would be on the hook for the massive shortfall in funds, not the city. Any wonder the A’s owners are not willing to make this gamble, given the poor experience that’s already happened with trying to sell luxury suites in Oakland?

  67. With all the HT talk I’m surprised nobody is mentioning the alameda naval air station. I would rather spend money cleaning up that dirt than fixing those piers and buying out an entrenched co.

  68. talked about it on chron live.

    kawakami said it’s about 51-49 right now in terms of sj-oak in his odds. he thinks this meeting was all about the shitty brc taking everything in account when it deals with the site in sj and oakland. in the end if they feel oakland isn’t doable, then they’ll try to force the issue on sj. if they do feel sj isn’t an option then they at least have an option for an oakland site even though NO MENTION on how much it’d cost and whos the willing partcipants who are gonna pay the billion plus that it’ll likely take to buy the a’s from wolff/fisher and then do everything it takes to make HT work as a viable park site.

    typical poole being the pro oakland guy saying that he thinks the a’s will remain in oakland because the tr are something mlb doesn’t want to set a precedent on. how about the bull shit precedent that no other fucking two team market have tr? how about that poole?! how is it the a’s got this bs rule in this area while every other market doesn’t have. that seems to be a FACT that no other bay area media writer other than a few even mention. he also thinks it’d cost a “billion” dollars to get to sj due to what he thinks is what it’ll take to pay the tr fee and the park cost itself in sj. as previously discussed and as ML posted previously if the a’s and more importantly feel sj is the only option, no way are they gonna screw the a’s over and pay the same cost it’ll build the stadium as it would to pay off the tr fee.

    when asked about 41 months from now which has been the time the brc has been taken at this time from when it was commishioned, where the a’s will be playing. poole said oakland and kawakami said the a’s will be in oakland but that doesn’t mean that in the end they’ll still be there.

  69. Who cares what Poole thinks? Its not like he is using any facts to base his opinion on

  70. I don’t see how any of the waterfront sites are convincing enough to justify a private investment of $600 million. Ultimately, that it is the problem.
    .
    MLB won’t force Wolff et al to sell. Oakland won’t be willing to put up any of the construction costs.
    .
    It’s all a waste of time.
    .
    Again.

  71. yeah the pro oaklands sure got excited when victory court and the coliseum city projects were announced. how are those two sites looking right now in terms of viable oakland sites for an a’s park, and just like with this howard terminal site doubt we’ll hear it as a legit option a few months from now once word comes out on how expensive it’ll be just as those two sites look like distant memories.

    it’s been said before but a’s fans who just want the a’s to stay in the bay area. sj is the most realistic option left here locally to build a new park for the a’s and for it to make financial sense for both the a’s and mlb.

  72. @TruthDropper: What obligation does Lew Wollff have to “try to make it work in Oakland?” It seems to me that he’s a businessman and the only thing he needs to try to do is make a profit from his business. If Oakland has a good way to help him do that, they shouldn’t keep it a secret.
    .
    And frankly, a new proposed site every year doesn’t instill me with confidence that Oakland is on the ball.

  73. I’m with letsgoas … Some of us want A’s baseball, period. Oakland, SJ, whatever … Some of us don’t live in either community but are Bay Area residents all the same and want them to stay local

  74. “If I was going to pursue a ballpark, I would certainly do it in San Jose, not depend on a vote outside of San Jose, and I would work through the mayor and the Redevelopment Agency,” said Wolff. “It’s the difference between a big-league city and a non-big-league city. I wouldn’t spend five minutes on any other city besides San Jose.”- Lew Wolff 1998
    *
    That shows clearly how full of * Wolff has been with his efforts in Oakland and Fremont.

  75. @Ted–and that is why the brc was establised 40+ months ago–and have they concluded anything different than LW? Why is BS actively trying to negotiate a settlment with the gints on TR so the A’s can move to SJ—your bias as a gints fan completely clouds any reality of impartialty that you try and promote at times-

  76. GoA’s, Lew Wolff has claimed to have considered options other than San Jose and I think that is a load of crap.
    I have no idea what the BRC has concluded and I don’t think anyone here does either and I am not so sure that Selig is actively trying to negotiate a path to San Jose for the A’s, what makes you think he is?
    I have been honest about how I feel about the Giants, A’s and San Jose since the first time I posted here.

  77. Ted wrote:

    GoA’s, Lew Wolff has claimed to have considered options other than San Jose and I think that is a load of crap.

    You think that because you’re a Johnny-come-lately to this situation who has repeatedly shown a general ignorance of the history here. Honestly, it wouldn’t kill you to read about this to some level of depth.

  78. @Ted–you mean besides the news reports that he is actively involved in trying to settle the dispute http://bleacherreport.com/articles/1022219-oakland-athletics-bud-selig-hard-at-work-to-resolve-san-jose-situation or maybe that both LW and LB recently saying the decision is in his hands-

    You have moved from the A’s moving to SJ is bad business for the city of SJ to LW never tried in Oakland–you have one objective–you would love to see the A’s leave the bay area—personally I despise a troll like you trying to impact my team that has as much right to the bay area market as the gints

    relative to your claim that LW never considered anything but SJ—once again the brc was set up to assess all options—how many more does Oakland throw on the table for them to take a look at—

  79. ML, I will do my best but I doubt there is anything I have missed that will lead me to believe that Wolff ever put any effort into finding a solution in Oakland. I don;t think he was lying when he said: “I wouldn’t spend five minutes on any other city besides San Jose.”
    *
    GoA’s, according to the AP article that the Bleacher Report post cites: “Commissioner Bud Selig says Major League Baseball is working “at a rather quick pace” to resolve the proposed move the Oakland Athletics to a proposed new ballpark in San Jose.” That doesn’t mean that he is trying to get the A’s to San Jose.
    I have figured that Wolff was only considering San Jose for longer than I have been reading this site. I would be happy with the A;s staying in Oakland. I think it would be good for baseball and fair to the Giants.
    Calling me a troll because you disagree with me is pretty weak. I am not posting to get a response, your team is trying to impact both my team and my city.

  80. @Ted – That’s the thing. He spent from 2005 to 2009 on Fremont and Oakland. That’s a lot more than 5 minutes.

    @martin – Alameda NAS isn’t practical. Access to and from the island is poor, and since the base is at the western end, a stadium would require its own bridge over the deep water channel, which would be extremely expensive. Plus there’s no BART. It’s a big reason why development of the area has moved at a glacial pace.

  81. ML, perhaps he considered Fremont but I have no reason to believe he gave Oakland any serious thought. What evidence is there that he spent more than 5 minutes considering Oakland?

  82. @Ted – You got moded!

  83. I’ve been trying to search for nice pics online of the HT people say that has a nice view of the waterfront but all I can find is a bit of dirty a$$ looking water and a sh*tty backdrop of Alameda Island and what looks like industrial warehouses and such. If anyone has any pics or links of the nice views that would be great.

  84. Many discussions ago Ted showed his singular POV is for the Giants to be as strong as possible — and will stretch things in all 4 directions with that goal in mind. He prefers the A’s to be weak for the benefit of the Giants.
    Sorry Ted but that is reality. I am not saying you can’t do that, I am saying you’re posts here are highly suspect because you choose to do it. The latest, the feigned outrage over LW, is just another to add to the list.
    Ultimately, heaven forbid! the A’s get as fair a shot at the Bay Area as the Giants……….and the Giants have to stay on top of their game (on and off the field) to remain most successful! We just couldn’t have that!

  85. Keep in mind that while Lew Wolff was “working with” oakland during those times he had his real estate partners put together Baseball San Jose in 2004.

    • Keep in mind that while Lew Wolff was “working with” oakland during those times he had his real estate partners put together Baseball San Jose in 2004.

      I love how pro Oaklanders keep on distorting facts to support their cause. I mean, from emotional standpoint, there’s no arguing tales like Lakeshores, but when it comes to actual data, it’s better to say nothing then to spew out false information. It just makes you guys look bitter to try and libel and slander everything to your perspective. Speaking of which, what happened with SOS last night?

  86. @DJR–perhaps because LW was quite aware of what Oakland was capable of doing. Lets be honest here Oakland has yet to land on a site—the easiest part of this challenge—17 years after ruining the Coli and nearly 4 years since the BRC was commissioned— how can anyone defend Oakland and their efforts—or lack of?

  87. How long can Oakland keep hopping and skipping back to already-looked-at-and-rejected sites before MLB says enough is enough?

  88. Dino, Lew Wolff was not involved in forming Baseball San Jose. Rather business leaders and former politicians from SJ were. Remember San Jose has been pursuing a baseball team far longer than the A’s have been interested in moving. It was once the Giants they were after 😉

  89. Lew Wolff is most certainly a suspect character in terms of site evaluation. If you figure him to be a fair dealer in this conversation you are the poorest of people around at judging character.

    Wolff was brought in by Schott/Hoffman – two South Bay developers who intended from day one to try and move the team to the South Bay. Wolff’s projects since the sale have been geared toward making him money on the real estate end of the deal. That is the MOST IMPORTANT FACTOR for Lew Wolff. End of story. He’s not the majority dollar owner of the team. That owner is going to make their money off team value appreciation. When the A’s are sold the current owners will make a TON of money on the deal. Fact.

    This is not an expansion team fighting to locate a stadium site. This is a team that is part of the civic culture of Oakland since 1968. The default position must be that the Oakland A’s remain the Oakland A’s. I’m not an “Oakland-only” person – in fact I think it’s 50/50 that the A’s leave town completely (ie not the South Bay). And I’m ok with that. The reality is that in the Bay Area Oakland is a superior site for a new ballpark than San Jose. San Jose as a market only has proximity to a certain segment of corporate dollars to its advantage. The East Bay has the population and fan base and adequate corporate/business money.

    Dogging the city of Oakland is a popular past-time for those who don’t know anything about Oakland. Oakland was built as an enclave for the wealthy. Physically more than half of the city is beautiful, clean, fancy stuff populated by relatively wealthy people. The majority of people who don’t like Oakland judge it from the view on the freeway – hmmm, you think nice houses and neighborhoods are next to major interstates????

    Further, the East Bay area’s axis is in Oakland and the greater East Bay is huge, has a large corporate base, and has an adequate average earnings to support the A’s.

    The East Bay is a 3 million person market and the South Bay is less than 2 million. Only a buffoon would suggest that moving a team to a 50% smaller market is a good long-term strategy. It is rather obvious that the A’s with locally-committed owners with more than halfway competent business skills in a new MLB-only facility in downtown Oakland would have a thriving franchise over the short and long term. Acknowledge this and you may appear as an un-biased observer and only then can we have a rational discussion about the next point:

    The key question is: can a new facility be built in Oakland.

    Let’s look at this a little bit because this site purports that the South Bay has it together on this issue:

    1. A site is needed. The municipal government needs to be able to drive site acquisition, permitting, etc, to pave the way for a ballpark development. The lack of this in Oakland has been the primary argument against feasibility for a new A’s ballpark there. THIS APPEARS TO HAVE CHANGED. The reason HOK and others were down on the HT site in the past was because it was wholly owned by the Port and the Port was not amenable to the site being used for that purpose. THAT WAS A BIG DEAL and would have made it prohibitively expensive to pursue that site – which is why the site was deemed “not viable” in the past.

    If the Port is now taking the opposite approach and actively asking Oakland to help them free up some cash we have a different situation. $40 million for the site is a bargain and the wheels are all greased here. Site acquisition is the biggest obstacle. If this site is being handed on a golden platter it’s foolish to sneer in the face of that. The main thing San Jose has done right is drive site acquisition for the A’s. Here we have an even better arrangement popping up in Oakland yet you are skeptical???

    2. Financing the stadium.

    This is a really good question. What scheme does the Wolff/Fisher ownership group plan to use to finance a new stadium? In Fremont it was a combined real estate/stadium deal that depended on some favorable zoning swaps to essentially get the developer owners a sweetheart deal in exchange for developing the stadium. If this kind of deal can pencil out in Fremont or San Jose it can pencil out in Oakland – not exactly a cheap place to buy or develop real estate itself.

    Other than inherent anti-Oakland sentiment there is little reason to be skeptical of the HT site if the Port is now amenable to using it for a stadium. I’d like to see one of you explain in detail how a San Jose ballpark is going to be financed using a scheme that is not possible to use in downtown Oakland.

    The A’s are not just Oakland’s team. They are a team supported by the East Bay and San Francisco and the North Bay and Sacramento. They draw their fans and corporate sponsorship from the same pool as the SF Giants.

    • @anonasfan – This is where you tripped yourself up.

      2. Financing the stadium.

      This is a really good question. What scheme does the Wolff/Fisher ownership group plan to use to finance a new stadium? In Fremont it was a combined real estate/stadium deal that depended on some favorable zoning swaps to essentially get the developer owners a sweetheart deal in exchange for developing the stadium. If this kind of deal can pencil out in Fremont or San Jose it can pencil out in Oakland – not exactly a cheap place to buy or develop real estate itself.

      Other than inherent anti-Oakland sentiment there is little reason to be skeptical of the HT site if the Port is now amenable to using it for a stadium. I’d like to see one of you explain in detail how a San Jose ballpark is going to be financed using a scheme that is not possible to use in downtown Oakland.

      You wasted so much time writing your response and yet you couldn’t grasp a basic tenet of Wolff’s argument, which is that the entitlements-based financing model is not feasible anywhere anymore. Not in Fremont, not in San Jose (moot because there isn’t land anyway), and most certainly not in Oakland. The only thing that can pay for the stadium is to guarantee or secure the debt via lots and lots of upfront pledged money. That means corporate sponsorships, naming rights, long-term suite contracts, etc. It’s this model where Oakland is notoriously weak. Much of the East Bay’s corporate strength will be there regardless of location (Chevron, PG&E, AT&T/Verizon/Comcast). That’s not the case for many South Bay companies, who may not have large presences in the East Bay.

  90. re: This is a team that is part of the civic culture of Oakland since 1968.

    ..then why has attendance been so poor over the 44 years the team has been here? 15 playoff appearances but just 7 times in the top half of attendance. Why did elected officials in Oakland decide to ruin the stadium and then give hundreds of millions of dollars to the Warriors and Raiders and nothing to the A’s? Shabby treatment of a “part of the civic culture of Oakland,” I’d say.

  91. @anonasfan- interesting that a port spokesperson said last night that moving the current tenant would be difficult- first- they have expressed no desire to move and second there is no place to go- second- assuming they can acquire the site for $40M who is going to pay for the re-enforcement of the pier to support a ballpark? Third- Corporate support including an already announced naming rights deal with Cisco would pay for a privately financed ballpark in SJ. LE/JF are willing to take that risk- however, they don’t believe the same level of corporate support exists for a ballpark in Oakland. Since you and the Oakland leaders are confident of this then they should be willing to assume the risk and build the ballpark with public funds and then work to get the necessary corporate support to manage the public risk- why won’t the city of Oakland commit to this given you are so confident that the ballpark will be wildly successful?

  92. @ anonasfan – “It is rather obvious that the A’s with locally-committed owners with more than halfway competent business skills in a new MLB-only facility in downtown Oakland would have a thriving franchise over the short and long term. Acknowledge this and you may appear as an un-biased observer and only then can we have a rational discussion about the next point:” Loosely translated, that comes across as “we can only have a discussion as long as you agree with me.” It may well be that a BB-only facility in DT Oakland would result in a thriving franchise – but to achieve that, Oakland needs the political leadership to make it happen; instead, Oakland has chosen to select Jerry Brown, Ron Dellums, and Jean Quan to serve as mayor. Looking at this from a completely objective viewpoint, if you were going to invest a half-billion dollars in a city, would you do so in a city run by the likes of Jean Quan or Ron Dellums, or a city run by Chuck Reed? The truth of the matter is that Oakland has had multiple opportunities to make this right for the A’s, and they’ve blown it. See earlier in the thread for all the various opportunities Oakland has had to put it together, then get back to us on whether you agree that Oakland’s had sufficient chances to do something for their longest-tenured team.

    Furthermore, you are trying to get everyone to adopt the “build it and they will come” philosophy of corporate support. In San Jose, it’s already there. The only thing that’s keeping the dozers from scraping the dirt down at Park and Autumn in San Jose is MLB’s refusal to put the territorial rights issue to a vote of the ownership. Oakland may well come up with a viable plan in time, but they’ve had a decade-plus to do so and have failed.

    But if you insist that everyone agree with you so that we can even have this conversation, I guess that’s okay too. I just wish you’d take an objective look at what Oakland’s done in the past to get them to this point. Perhaps then you can see the logic of Mr. Wolff’s desire to move the team down to a location with much more going for it in terms of long-term potential.

  93. anonasfan says:

    –” in fact I think it’s 50/50 that the A’s leave town completely (ie not the South Bay). And I’m ok with that.”

    And yet you are NOT ok with relocating 35 miles away? Sheesh. This is the mindset of the Diamond Lil (shrill) Oaklandfans.com that would rather see the A’s move to Portland or Vegas or whereever, as long as the A’s do NOT remain in the Bay Area if Oakland can’t retain them.

  94. The financing scheme based on corporate pledges up-front is DUBIOUS business. It may get a ballpark built but it will turn out a boondoggle like nearly every other deal of this nature. You can bet that there is a tax scheme involved for those businesses on the back-end. Nothing is for free.

    An example of this kind of financing scheme is often used by smaller regional airports to draw airlines to open service there. The community pools together and pledges xxx number of dollars to spent on that route. The municipality offers some kind of tax incentive to the airline and frequently to the businesses that offer that pledge as well (the pledged money is tax-deferred or some such… the details vary but concept is same). Then once that initial pool of “pledged” guarantee money is depleted the airline simply removes service. All they’ve done is cashed-in a short term scheme based on an UNSUSTAINABLE FISCAL MODEL.

    You can build as many $500 million developments you want but then you have to build a fan-base that will drive the team forward. If 10 years down the road the San JosA’s hit a skid and suck on the field for a while and attendance drops to 15k you have a huge problem if the city has in any way back-stopped the financing, directly or indirectly. You are naive as sh!t if you think Cisco et al would be investing in this thing for free out of a civic commitment to San Jose.

    How many acres is the Howard Terminal? That’s right, a whole lot of acres. In a prime zone ripe for development with a nearby entertainment district, proximity to downtown Oakland AND San Francisco, the waterfront, and a shiny new ballpark. If you take that property from the Port for $40 million cash and offer incentives to Matson and the Port to move the existing facilities you can then offer a sweetheart lease and development rights to the A’s if they want to build a baseball stadium there. The team can develop the park in conjuction with residential, commercial, retail, entertainment, and other projects. They can keep all of the parking lot and concession revenue and pay only city taxes. They can even get a break on the city taxes.

    Why does Oakland do this? Because ancillary improvements as a result of this development are the HOLY GRAIL for the city of Oakland. JLS is a key site for the city and this project would be a home run for the city. It would also help the city justify the expenditure to build out a streetcar improving access to 12th street (aka the core of downtown) and possibly further. These are developments Oakland needs and wants. The cost-benefit for the city is clear.

    Howard Terminal is 51 acres. ATT Park was constructed on 12.5 acres of real estate. Throw in another 17.5 acres for cheap surface parking to be generous. You have 20 acres of prime real estate to develop on. Would anybody care to speculate on the value of 20 acres in that location with favorable zoning and tax conditions and an extremely enthusiastic municipal partner?

    Yes, I agree that Jean Quan is not up to the task of running this kind of development project. That’s not her job, though, and she doesn’t have to be. I am fairly certain that’s what Knauss et al were brought in to assist with. They have the kind of project management skills to get this off the ground. If the A’s current owners want to be involved great, they have that talent. If they want to sell to someone else who is interested in this kind of development project, even better.

    Downtown San Jose is not the kind of prime real estate that JLS is/can be. It’s more of a risk, ask anybody involved in the restaurant/theater/other projects in downtown San Jose over the past few decades. JLS is *already* a popular entertainment district. Flooding the region with 20-50 thousand people 81 times a year would pretty much cause the whole thing to go gangbusters.

    The most successful new stadium projects all follow this model. Look at Coors Field in Denver for the best comparison. There is a LOT of potential here.

  95. anonasfan, that financing scheme you dismiss has worked out pretty well for the Giants.

  96. Coors Field had 75% public financing, vs. the 0% public financing available in Oakland. And Knauss’s stadium-building experience involves the publicly financed ballpark in Houston. Not one that lacks that critical source of funding.

  97. Dan – Downtown San Jose is no China Basin. And the Diridon station is no Downtown San Jose.

    Also, if what you say is true, well that same principal *can* be applied at JLS. Are there willing corporate partners? We don’t know that – Wolff/Fisher sure as hell aren’t trying to find them.

    I wouldn’t be the least bit surprised to see large Silicon Valley companies support a park in JLS in similar ways they would support one in San Jose – provided their interest in San Jose is not based on some slimy back-room corruption of the sort San Jose civic hall is rather noted for.

  98. Knauss’s experience that I referred to was in project management, ie running an actual business. We can all agree that Quan is not capable of doing that.

    The Coors Field example was based on how it fit into the LODO-redevelopment, not financing.

    ATT Park is the only privately-financed MLB park to my knowledge. If the China Basin site had also included a chunk of King Street with extremely favorable development terms I’m sure ATT Park would be even more profitable than it already is.

  99. @anonasfan – Your proselytizing would’ve made sense 10, 15 years ago. Not now. Realism and pragmatism have to be first and foremost. There are no “holy grail” projects anymore, and anyone that says that there are is talking out of their ass. Even though the Port has some redevelopment agency-like powers, its ability to provide infrastructure and bonding capacity are limited. The City can’t provide much assistance. Much of the Port’s efforts will be focused on West Oakland over the next decade as OAB is transformed. And the Port has not shown itself to be the most competent shepherd of commercial development where it has control so far, entrusting the de facto planning to Falaschi, Tagami, Ghielmetti, et al. And again, all you’re talking about is how transformative it’ll be for Oakland. What Oakland has to demonstrate is how transformative the project will be for the A’s. So far you Oakland partisans have done a poor job of articulating that.

    Corporate support is only dubious when it involves companies of questionable reputation (Power Balance). For the rest of the industry it is the lifeblood of any stadium project. To not acknowledge that is willfully ignorant.

  100. I don’t think there is much argument that a new ballpark on the waterfront of JLS would be transformative for the A’s. The owners have been saying ‘new ballpark is key’ for at least 15 years now. There you go- new ballpark. Let’s look at that motivation a little more though:

    a. New MLB ballparks provide new revenue streams both directly and indirectly. Were the A’s to own the stadium the city would have no problem giving them all of the concession and parking revenues. They could keep all of the luxury box and ticket sale revenues.

    b. The new stadium would be a renaissance for one of the most storied MLB clubs in the league. Centered in a wealthy region of 3 million people surrounded closely by 4 million more with the shiniest new facility and obviously the superior team to the shall-not-be-named competitor across the bay. The fanbase would increase in both size and enthusiasm. The commitment to the region would be its own marketing bonanza and provide the motivation and opportunity to push further. The A’s could instantly become one of the better-supported teams in MLB. This would help merchandise sales, improve tv ratings, drive better tv and radio contracts, etc. The A’s have left a lot of money sitting on the table since the Coliseum was ruined and Haas left the building. A new ballpark would change that dramatically.

    c. The reason I like HT is that the City of Oakland doesn’t really have to do much. They can GIVE AWAY this property if they can get it from the Port. Seriously – that would not even be controversial. Imagine a real estate deal like that happening the Bay Area without great controversy. Public sentiment would for once be in FAVOR of a ballpark. I think Selig and his team understand this part of the Bay Area’s logic and may explain their interest in HT as well. It really does offer an end-run around the biggest obstacle to development in the Bay. China Basin was very controversial and would have never happened without Willie friggin’ Brown being involved. In this case it’s merely a matter of fortuitous timing.

    d. Infrastructure. The JLS/downtown Oakland street car project is not new or pie-in-the-sky. Here’s some recent info: http://sfist.com/2012/02/15/oakland_once_again_contemplating_a.php

    Add an MLB ballpark and the associated development on that acreage and you’ve actually shored-up the streetcar’s viability.

    e. The Port is not doing the development so their competence is irrelevant. The Port takes Oakland’s money and gets out of the way. The A’s are responsible for turning this development into money. I expect that a group of people capable of buying the A’s are the same types capable of running a successful development project like this. It’s the sweetheart deal of a lifetime, remember.

    • @anonasfan – Again, you’re not getting some the most basic aspects down. Ballparks in other areas work because the teams don’t have to pay for them. SF and whatever could happen for the A’s in the Bay Area are major exceptions. That makes it critical that revenue streams to pay off what will probably be a $30-40 million mortgage are rock solid. MLB has a debt rule that it’s finally starting to enforce, and the A’s will not be allowed to be an exception. Furthermore, the A’s won’t have revenue sharing to ease some of the pain. They won’t be allowed to turn into Pittsburgh or Kansas City. They’ll have to sink or swim. If whatever plan Oakland comes up with looks too risky or would violate the debt rule, then guess what? It doesn’t matter how much it might help Oakland in the future. It won’t be approved. It’s paramount that the deal work out extremely well for the A’s. That’s why I keep bringing up the “What’s in it for the A’s” argument. In the end the A’s come first, forget the cities.

      Worst of all, you keep bringing all of this new infrastructure that will have to be paid for, like a streetcar. So Oakland will have a streetcar downtown and one at Coliseum City, plus the Airport Connector? Who the hell is going to pay for that? Good lord, man, focus!

  101. anonasfan, might want to look at a map. Diridon Station, and the SJ Arena are both in the heart of downtown San Jose. Also the same principle can’t be applied to Howard Terminal (which is NOT JLS). Corporate funding in Oakland is only a tenth of what it is in San Jose. And no corporations in San Jose will likely not support a stadium at Howard Terminal, not when many of them are backers of the move to San Jose 😉

  102. Jeez. If the area is so ripe for development… Why is Oak to 9th still just some renderings on a board in Signature Properties office?

  103. In terms of my point of view I’d like to add that I don’t live in Oakland and actually live very far away. I do KNOW Oakland, however. I know how the city works, how the people who live there think and operate, and I know the direction it is going. Many of you may not realize how much has been changing in North Oakland for the past 15 years. Areas along Telegraph, Broadway, etc, are hugely improved from their condition 20 years ago. Downtown Oakland has a huge amount of momentum. This has occurred in great part thanks to the tech/dot-com booms in San Francisco. It is simply impossible for a typical 27 year-old in San Francisco to seriously consider settling there, buying real estate, and raising a family. They’ve long-since discovered that this is possible in Oakland. This migration is one of the least-reported stories in the Bay Area. Part of the reason for that is nobody in Oakland cares. They like the reputation that SF and suburbanites have in their minds. It keeps the riff-raff out. When you tell an Oaklander about how scary it is they tell you “Yeah, it’s pretty rough.” They just don’t want you coming in and messing up a good thing.

    Oakland is going to do things differently. That’s part of the culture of the A’s, too, and part of their great appeal. I know a zillion A’s fans and a zillion Giants fans. Your choice of team is a classic choice about how to live and be in the Bay Area, similar to the White Sox/Cubs split except without the geographic bias. MANY A’s fans live in San Francisco, for example.

    This cultural understanding of Oakland (and the wider East Bay region which shares the same sentiment) is what the last two ownership groups have failed to grasp. It is why the fans stay away and are angry with the owners. They still love their team. I and others who appreciate the A’s and appreciate baseball know that there is a HUGE opportunity that has been wasted by Schott, Hoffman, Wolff, and Fisher. They’ve done this out of their consistent and clear pursuit of the South Bay. We’ve all seen how a locally-committed and involved ownership group was able to thrive with the A’s (Haas Family). Yes, they went into pocket. But they didn’t have the population and economic growth of the past 20 years available to them. And they had the Oakland Coliseum out by the Airport – they didn’t have a JLS ballpark. They didn’t have the kind of TV revenues that now exist, or the internet. They didn’t have the legacy of Billy Beane and that extra mystique that has grown around the team in the Moneyball era.

  104. anonasfan… how many years, under Haas ownership, were the A’s in the top half of MLB attendance? How many years in the bottom? How many years did they operate the team at a loss? When they sold the team how what percentage of the cumulative loss did they recover?
    .
    You can throw around opinions like “Things are getting better in Oakland” and the “team thrived before” and whatever else you want… But what does that really mean?
    .
    You are making emotional appeals to what should be a rational argument. And, by the way, I am in Downtown Oakland on a regular basis. I don’t need a press release about where it ranks on the NYT’s best places to visit list to know what it’s like downtown these days.

  105. Jeffrey… You ignore the timing. Haas owned the team in the 1980’s largely. It took a few years to build up, then the team was the biggest payroll, three-time World Series team it became. Then the MLB strike happened then the Coliseum went from Decent to Lousy. He Died. The team was sold at the bottom of the market in 1995.

    Notable attendance figures showing the value of ownership: Attendance went from 300k to 1.7 million in three years as a result of new ownership. The A’s outdrew the league from 1988-1993 once a team had been rebuilt from the rubble of the late-Finley era. Attendance post MLB strike suffered like it did everywhere in the league. From 1994-200 the A’s drew relatively poorly. They had the double-whammy of the MLB strike AND a ruined stadium to contend with but by 2000 with a good team they were again drawing good numbers. Drawing league-average attendance at a lousy facility until 2005 illustrates again that a core-fanbase exists. Note that attendance has dropped in each year of Wolff/Fisher’s ownership – the same owners who have consistently dissed the city and its existing fanbase. SHOCKER!!!!

    Current valuations are widely available – pretty much everything has changed since the 1970’s and 1980’s. The East Bay market considered separate from the rest of the Bay Area is STILL a mid-level market. I think anybody claiming that the market is not a good one GIVEN A NEW BALLPARK AT JLS completely lacks credibility. ML has had the wisdom to not assert as much and you should take ML’s lead on that.

    I understand the frustration of San Jose boosters. You tried to steal the team away and it’s not looking that good. But if you can’t generate enthusiasm for action in Oakland it’s because you are “SAN JOSE PARTISANS” more than A’s fans. The A’s would do GREAT with a new JLS park in Oakland. You know it, I know it. I actually think they’d do much better there than in San Jose, but that’s not something that can be demonstrated with any certainty because the future does not yet exist.

    One thing I can say is that NOBODY likes to see their town disrespected. Especially Oakland and East Bay people. They live in the shadow of San Francisco’s up-turned nose and they’re used to punching-back when necessary. Insulting the fanbase is a great way to drive attendance figures down and is the deliberate policy of the current ownership group. Denying as much is foolish. Schott/Hoffman at least tried to serve the existing fanbase while flirting with the South Bay and trying to expand the A’s presence there. Wolff/Fisher have done nothing of the sort and that is why they are universally reviled.

  106. @anonasfan: They like the reputation that SF and suburbanites have in their minds. It keeps the riff-raff out. When you tell an Oaklander about how scary it is they tell you “Yeah, it’s pretty rough.”
    .
    Right. We ALL say that. We really want to scare everyone away.

  107. I cringe at this being an Oakland must be bad for SJ to be good (or vice versa). Other than competing interests to host the A’s and their stadium, where the stadium/team goes is not some final arbiter of how good one city is over another — far from it. There are a lot of variables that go into what makes a city good or not.
    However, for the Pro Oakland crowd, wow! to the same broken record of turning a blind eye to the realities of the A’s. Never mind where HT ranked in its feasibility, never mind a stadium site is umpteen years into the process and the selected site keeps changing, never mind none of the sites have any substantial progress on it becoming a stadium site, never mind we are probably talking 600 million private financing from an owner who has said emphatically no, never mind the historical attendance is one of mediocre to poor, never mind Oakland has 3 stadium issues happening at the same time……never mind that and other unlisted items. Oakland leaders have now selected HT as the site! So that is what makes sense and LW is evil and a liar to not see that.
    Reality: Oakland has done an abysmal job on this issue. The singular reason the A’s remain in Oakland is because of an arbitrary TR rule and a poor economy (that kept Fremont from happening). Oakland leaders continue to be extremely short of providing a site/plan when compared to SJ. Further, if Oakland isn’t ponying up some serious money and/or MLB has decided to kick in some serious private money and/or MLB has decided that the A’s are not allowed to leave Oakland and/or MLB has decided to force LW out, the A’s are leaving Oakland. That isn’t turning a blind eye, that is cold, hard reality.

  108. I think we all know that Coliseum City is unlikely to get off the drawing board…

    A dozen cities in the US are building light rail and street cars right now. A downtown-JLS-Uptown circulating streetcar in Oakland is probably a $250 million project. If you want to see how these things have been financed all over the country you are free to expand your horizons using “Google.” It’s not some magic fairy mystery dust – it’s mostly federal money to be honest. Yes, there will be debt. So what?

    ML – I like how out of one end of your mouth you shout financing financing financing yet disregard that the EXACT SAME CONDITIONS exist for San Jose or anybody else. The next A’s stadium, wherever it is built, will be financed privately. That much is clear. As an MLB ballpark is not a self-sufficient business proposition it is likely going to require additional features and revenue streams to provide insurance for those loans. How about collateral in the form of commercial and residential developments on waterfront property at the heart of an entertainment/ballpark district?

    I admit I have not read any agreements regarding the Cisco/et al financing of a proposed San Jose stadium. Have you? What do they say? What are those details? I don’t recall hearing any details…

    • @anonasfan – SVLG has 75 companies committing to suites, sponsorships, club seats, etc. That doesn’t even include the numerous non-tech companies that will line up (media, legal, financial, real estate/construction, etc.), and others that have been quietly pulled in by Wolff and his South Bay friends. Even if some drop off, others are ready to take their place. There’s risk in San Jose just as there is in Oakland. But talk about false equivalence, it’s not even close. San Jose is several orders of magnitude less risky than Oakland and has been for a long time. When you’re talking about a half-billion-dollar price tag, that matters. A lot.

      Collateral in the form of commercial/residential developments? Stop it, my sides hurt. First of all, in California we don’t build much residential or commercial on the water, especially if it’s tall. That’s by design and is rigorously enforced by the Coastal Commission and Tidelands Trust. Ask Mike Ghielmetti how O29 is going. He desperately wants a JLS-area ballpark because it’s the only chance to save his investment. But do you think he’ll hand over a major part of his profit to pay for a ballpark? Keep dreaming. If you’re looking for tall towers at Howard Terminal, that’s even less likely.

  109. Marine Layer is right, owners want tax payer supported stadia. You may consider this a stretch,but look what happened when Modell moved the Browns in 1995. Everyone said if the historic Browns franchise can be moved, what about us. Just witness the number of tax payer supported football stadiums that were built post 1995.

  110. @ Anonasfan – Curious, since you are so certain of Oakland redevelopment with all the hip but broke SF entrepreneurs heading over west, would you wholly support a PSL guaranteeing certain attendance (particularly STHs) then a la the Raiders? I mean, with all the things going for Oakland these days, the poli’s should endorse that too, right?!

  111. ML, I never said that Wolff didnt; spend five minutes pretending to be interested in Oakland but I don’t think he ever gave five minutes of serious consideration to Oakland. It is lip service. I wouldn’t characterize it as evil, just dishonest.
    Dan, the Arena is not really in the heart of Downtown, it is more in Sunol-Midtown/College Park/Rosegarden but since there isn’t a large downtown it is close enough I guess.

    • ML, I never said that Wolff didnt; spend five minutes pretending to be interested in Oakland but I don’t think he ever gave five minutes of serious consideration to Oakland. It is lip service. I wouldn’t characterize it as evil, just dishonest.
      Dan, the Arena is not really in the heart of Downtown, it is more in Sunol-Midtown/College Park/Rosegarden but since there isn’t a large downtown it is close enough I guess.

      Um the Arena is much closer to downtown then Rosegarden, which is beyond even 880. Unless you discount walking 1-2 blocks as “far away”. HAve you caught up on reading yet?

  112. Anon, when did I say that the Arena or Diridon were far from downtown? I just corrected the notion that they were in the heart of downtown because they are not. The Rosegarden neighborhood is on the same side of 880 as the Arena just like College Park and Sunol-Midtown.
    What reading are you talking about, the articles where Wolff claims to have considered Oakland sites?

  113. @ Ted – I consider DT SJ’s epicenter probably at San Pedro, which is only a couple blocks away from the Arena, so I’m not sure what your point is other than to be argumentative against the A’s cause (again). yes, A’s articles in general so you can catch up from years of history that you are completely (and obviously) oblivious to.

  114. @Ted – Did you even bother to read the articles that I actually spent time looking up because you were too lazy to do so? And that still didn’t make you even consider rethinking your position?

    I guess you just won’t listen to reason then. For that, I can disregard everything you comment on from here on out. Consider yourself ignored.

  115. Ted, the Rose Garden is over 2 miles west of the stadium site at Diridon. The site is only a ten minute walk (1/2 mile) or two minute trolley ride from Cesar Chavez Plaza (the absolute center of downtown San Jose). I suggest looking at a map.

  116. ML, I read the articles and none of them made me think that Wolff went back on his word about spending no more than five minutes considering Oakland. I am sorry if you think my distrust is unreasonable. I could be wrong but I think San Jose has been option A since day one and I understand why it would be.
    *
    Dan, it is a mile from the Fairmont to the Arena, it is almost two miles from the Rose Garden itself to the Arena, the Arena is a quarter mile from Sunol Street. My point was that the Arena and Diridon are not closer to the heart of Downtown than Howard Terminal is from Jack London Square. I worked at Santa Clara and Almaden for close to 10 years.

    • ML, I read the articles and none of them made me think that Wolff went back on his word about spending no more than five minutes considering Oakland. I am sorry if you think my distrust is unreasonable. I could be wrong but I think San Jose has been option A since day one and I understand why it would be.

      Since you supposedly read the articles, why do you think he didn’t spend “more than 5 minutes” on Oakland? What specific data points you to this conclusion?

  117. Somewhat OT, but Padres are being sold for reportedly $800 million! Wow, that’s $350million over Forbes valuation ($450M). With the A’s valued at ~$320M, look for at least $600M + as a starting sale price now. Let’s see, that only comes to ~$13K for each of the Baseball Oakland FB members! What a bargain?! 😉

  118. ML, I am not trying to be dismissive of your hard work and I apologize if that is the impression that I gave you.

  119. Anon, lew Wolff clearly stated that he would not spend more than five minutes considering any city other than San Jose and there is no data that says that he did. It is a matter of opinion.

  120. @Ted–even absent what he has done in Oakland, which is significant, he clearly spent more than 1 year working to get Fremont done before the economy and Nimby’s derailed him–and as I recall Fremont was number 3 on HOK’s site review study that was commissioned by East Bay leaders-

  121. @Ted – so in other words, you didn’t read anything and instead rely on one soundbite?!! /gnats troll

  122. GoA’s, My impression was that Fremont was plan B if San Jose couldn’t work, he did commit money to the Fremont proposal.
    Anon, I read the articles. Using a term like Gnat makes you sound like a MLB forum troll.

  123. @ted–once again you fail to state the facts–the only way SJ even became an option was after Fremont failed and BS allowed LW to begin to explore “all” options—even your gints executives were found touring the fremont site after it was announced publically–including the naming rights bought by Cisco–it is quite possible that Fremont will be back in play if SJ fails—but taking the LW quote and saying he only focused on SJ is absolutely false–

  124. “I guess you just won’t listen to reason then. For that, I can disregard everything you comment on from here on out. Consider yourself ignored.”
    .
    Yeah! ML finally accepted what was clear to me from almost the first day that Giants troll unfortunately stumbled in here. He plays off this “gee, golly, I’m just trying to learn here” routine but it’s clear that’s not his agenda. He disregards every fact that shows why SJ would be a good move (and now he’s moved onto the Lew never tried meme, which was debunked years ago) because he perceives that will be bad for his favorite team. Well guess what? A’S FANS DONT CARE IF THE A’S GETTING BETTER MAKES SOME GIANTS FAN FEEL UNCOMFORTABLE!
    .
    So stumble off to some other place already. You’ve made the point that there is at least one Giants fan out there who is willing to say anything and contort himself around every reality if he thinks it helps his team. Good, we know that now. You can stop reminding us of that same point in every damn post.

  125. GoA’s, Bud Selig gave Wolff the OK to look into San Jose and then and only then did Wolff even consider San Jose? Really?

  126. Don’t feed the Gnats troll…ps disappointing turnout for a big game with division/playoff implications.

  127. Ted, forget that you have been empathic that LW was only about SJ and have been proven wrong (again!). No really, forget it. You are right, I would bet (though I could not be sure) LW gave thought to SJ (if only in his office) long prior to Fremont. Yes, I know he is to be despised to think about all options in a closed door business room before making a public decision like Oakland or Fremont. To me, I just don’t know why LW does that and why he won’t be more like the Giants. LW that S! O! B!
    BTW, I’m not sure it was suggested by another LW never “thought” about SJ versus it being the open target after Fremont (that is how I read it)…but whatever. It’s obvious what your MO here has been for a while……

  128. TW, I said I understand why he would consider San Jose plan A. I don’t think San Jose only became an option after Fremont fell through and Bud gave him blessings to consider San Jose. I do believe Fremont was considered as a less attractive option but I can’t believe that San Jose was only looked at as an option after he gave it a serious effort in Oakland and then Fremont. He had his eye on San Jose from Day One.

  129. Thanks, ML. That confirms my existing impression that the San Jose financing scheme is just a pledged spending agreement of the kind we’ve seen used many times over in other locations for various business prospects. Until the details are revealed it’s hard to make a determination about how solid those pledges are and what it means in the long-term. Please remember that these businesses aren’t doing this entirely on their own accord. I would be *floored* if there weren’t some kind of municipal backstratching happening there. San Jose is probably offering those businesses a concession of some kind to avoid the appearance of directly financing the ballpark. That’s standard operating procedure for the San Jose city government and not at all a stretch of the imagination.

    Some funding guarantees are a good idea. That model can work in the East Bay if it can work in San Jose. If the Oakland site can offer additional real-estate (and greased development rights more importantly) backings that only helps their offer. I’m not suggesting that they’re going to build huge apartment towers on the piers at Howard Terminal – I am suggesting something smaller and mixed-use that fits into the general character of the overall neighborhood. If the city of Oakland commits to infrastructure improvements such as a streetcar it would further solidify those developments. Again, without a ballpark that property is less valuable. With a ballpark and streetcar (they are dependent on each other) the real estate development options become much more valuable.

    The coastal commission is not going to stop them from building a few structures here – get real. It’s an industrial site along the estuary. As far as I can tell the only natural life to disturb is crab grass between pockets of cement. The wild fauna aren’t going to be missed, either. Regardless, it’s a matter to be dealt with, not a deal-breaker. Certainly not at the level of the apparent fiscal malfeasance being investigated regarding San Jose’s misappropriation of re-development funds. Having the state of California investigate you is a bad sign – just the kind that makes creditors very nervous.

    I think what many Oakland people are trying to say is that Wolf/Fisher has made a ton of effort to find a site, acquire real estate, and patch together a potential financing package in San Jose. They have clearly not done the same thing in the East Bay. The Knauss group stepped up to make that assertion – that the A’s ownership had not reached out to the East Bay business community to determine if there was support or not. For all the hype and conventional wisdom passed around about South Bay money it completely disregards the fact that the East Bay is a relatively wealthy area itself. The entire Bay Area is in the top echelon of the country economically speaking. Much of the corporate wealth in the South Bay is not in the city of San Jose and much of the corporate wealth in the East Bay is not in the city of Oakland. This is not a distinguishing factor.

    The South Bay may have a larger pool of total/potential corporate dollars available but it has a smaller pool for its fan base. And the tech industry and the South Bay in general are not widely regarded for their sporty-outgoing population. The Sharks are able to consistently draw 17.5k per game 40-50 times during NHL season. Yet the team loses $3-$6 million dollars per season with a $43 average ticket cost and ~ $88 million in revenue. The A’s meanwhile draw 20k per game in a mediocre facility 81 times per year at a $24 average ticket price and produce double the revenue of the Sharks and a health profit around $20 million per season during the summer in the Bay Area.

    The East Bay market is able to draw those figures while competing with another MLB team and the Bay Area summertime recreation dollar. This suggests rightly that the East Bay is a superior fan market for sports and baseball. No matter what hyperbole thrown around it’s a fact that a San Jose team would have to essentially start at the bottom to rebuild the A’s fanbase – while Oakland/East Bay have already got a 40+ year track record in this area. The A’s have a loyal existing fanbase that is multi-generational. It supports a profitable baseball team already.

    The extra corporate wealth that provides an advantage for San Jose is completely balanced out by the risk in finding a consistent fan base. Again, the population of the South Bay is 50% less than that of the East Bay. As an investor I’m seeing an existing customer base in the East Bay versus a potential customer base with no track record in the South Bay. A few corporate dollars will not assuage that because those dollars fickle. The gate receipts and fan dollars may not put a team over the top but it provides its base for funding – the most important factor when considering the solidity of a 30-year investment.

    My point here is that given a competitive ballpark site Oakland is in no way inferior to San Jose as a potential location for a new stadium for the A’s.

  130. re: My point here is that given a competitive ballpark site Oakland is in no way inferior to San Jose as a potential location for a new stadium for the A’s.

    …San Jose has more than twice as many people, more disposable income and far more corporations than Oakland (needed to privately finance a ballpark). San Jose also has a better history of major sports support (Sharks sell out every year whether the team is good or not; A’s have drawn poorly for most of their 44 years in Oakland, despite 4 World Series, 6 AL pennants and 15 playoff appearance.) If the East Bay has all this wealth as you say, it’s certainly not using much of it to buy A’s tickets.

    re: A’s profit…Take away league revenue-sharing (subsidies) and what kind of profit would the A”s have? The A’s are heavily subsidized by MLB; the Sharks stand on their own.

  131. re: The East Bay market is able to draw those figures while competing with another MLB team and the Bay Area summertime recreation dollar. This suggests rightly that the East Bay is a superior fan market for sports and baseball.

    ….So why did the 49ers not really consider Oakland and instead are moving to the South Bay? They could have partnered with the Raiders to build half a new stadium (all that would be needed) in the Coliseum parking lot. They could have spent less money and had more parking available and great BART access. But they’re going to spend more money to go to the interior South Bay anyway. Guess they didn’t get the memo….

  132. anonasfan, I bet you work in PR…

  133. I don’t work in PR but I do work and know my share about business and real estate development.

    The population of the city of San Jose is a geographic quirk more than a relevant factor. The South Bay (San Jose) metropolitan area has a population around 1.9 million. The East Bay Oakland metropolitan area has a population around 3 million. Those numbers are widely available. Oakland is at the geographic center of the Bay Area and has access via proximity and transportation options to the San Francisco market as well. JLS *already* has a direct ferry connection to downtown San Francisco. There is also BART and the Bay Bridge. Meanwhile downtown San Jose is a 40-60 minute drive for the bulk of the SF Bay Area population. San Jose is at an extreme end of the larger Sf Bay Area region. The valley is completely built-up and I’ve never encountered any suggestion that the population would match that of the East Bay within 30 years.

    You ignored my Forbes-sourced statistics showing the Sharks as a money loser. Also, NHL does not compare well to MLB because it has half as many games and half as many seats. Sure 17k sell-outs are great but if that arena needed to fill 45k seats twice as often they may not have quite the track record. Throw in the competition from another major sport and you start seeing why the population figures matter. While the A’s have not drawn as well as most would like in their current location they *have* supported the team for real. The Oakland A’s have not gone out of business and the worst years of attendance were the direct result of bad ownership and other factors that don’t tell you much about the fanbase. Charlie Finley? MLB Strike? Mt Davis? These events all depressed attendance. Haas? Billy Beane? These factors DROVE attendance. A weak playoff A’s team in a lousy facility in Oakland drew 2 million plus fans for 5 years in recent history at the same time that the competing MLB club had a new ballpark, one of the all-time greats in MLB history putting on a show, and even won a world series. The A’s also had poor TV and Radio coverage in those years and little media presence thanks to disinterested ownership that was publicly advocating relocation and a league that was publicly discussing the A’s as a contraction target.

    Oakland can definitely compete as an MLB market given a proper new facility. That much is obvious. Further, the Warriors are likely to leave Oakland proper freeing up more fan dollars for the A’s.

    The 49ers stadium is not an MLB stadium. There are so many market differences for MLB and NFL that the comparison is meaningless.

  134. anonsfan: If the East Bay is the fabulous sports market that you claim, why do we have the Warriors already announcing their planned departure, the A’s trying to leave and nobody knowing where the Raiders will end up? What are these teams all not seeing that you do see? You put an incredible spin on things, that’s for sure.

  135. And why has MLB spent nearly 4 years trying to figure out how to get the A’s in that horrible SJ market

  136. re: You ignored my Forbes-sourced statistics showing the Sharks as a money loser.
    …Historically, most NHL teams lose money. They have a collective bargaining agreement that says the players get something like 53% of all revenues. And the Sharks don’t really open their books for any analysis of where these annual losses are coming from. (Forbes numbers are all guesswork. ) The Sharks do not qualify for the kind of revenue-sharing that sustains the A’s in the East Bay. You ignore the fact that the A’s have had a pretty dismal 44-year history of attendance in Oakland…

  137. anonsfan: If the South Bay is as horrid a sports market as you say, then the Giants would have personally moved the A’s there themselves, and kicked in a large contribution to a San Jose ballpark for the A’s. But instead, we have the Giants fighting tooth and nail to keep the A’s out of San Jose. Why would they do that if you’re reasoning is correct?

  138. I find it fascinating, that a very successful businessman would spend $500M of his own money investing in an inferior market like SJ when Oakland is right there on his doorstep. I find it further fascinating that the gints are doing everything possible to keep the A’s out of that inferior market in SJ- really anonasfan- do you really believe what you are spewing?

  139. pjk – I did not ignore the bad years of A’s attendance – I addressed them directly and included the root cause of each.

    Warriors – San Francisco is the center of the SF Bay Area. There’s only one team in the Bay Area. They used to be called the San Francisco Warriors. They’ve never been the Oakland Warriors. There’s no reason they shouldn’t move to San Francisco for a new arena and Oakland fans don’t have a problem with that.

    Raiders – Uh, it’s the RAIDERS. Why use logic to explain their behavior? History shows they’ll go where the money is. The Raiders want a new stadium. If they can build it in the Coliseum parking lot they will. The A’s have to leave first.

    San Jose Market – I didn’t say it’s a horrible market. I said it’s NOT SUPERIOR to Oakland. Big difference, kiddo.

    GoA’s – Other than presuming that rich people always know what they’re doing – what’s your point? Wolff’s investment and development happens where is best for his business. What that means in real life is where he knows people and can get things done. Clearly Lew Wolff is not an Oakland guy and he’s smart enough to not try and work his routine in a town that doesn’t appreciate it. This says nothing at all about Wolff’s skills as a businessman or Oakland’s ability to function as a city.

    The Giants – The Giants are obviously going to defend their territory. It’s part of the valuation of the team. Why would they do otherwise? They have a region of nearly 2 million people that is threatened. They have a ballclub there and have surely spent years working to make the people in that area fans of their product. The Giants rightfully have no delusions about absorbing A’s fans. It’s not going to happen. If the A’s move from Oakland to San Jose the Giants lose. Now, since this is real life and not theory, let’s suppose that the kinds of things that tend to actually make a difference are involved. I’d guess that the Giants heavy opposition has to do with specific investments of specific part-owners of the Giants. There is a faction in that ownership group that cares. The reasons are probably selfish and probably have nothing to do with baseball. That’s usually how it goes in business. In american capitalism it is practically a sin to leave money on the table. The Giants are doing what they can to leverage the situation should it not work out in their favor. Angelos was able to extract major concessions out of MLB when the Nationals showed up in DC. You’d call the Giants irresponsible if they behaved otherwise. And I’m sure the A’s would do the same if the Giants wanted to build a ballpark in Pleasanton.

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