Coliseum City: The campus that wants to be a downtown

Quick – can you guess how many downtown ballparks are in Major League Baseball? Downtown ballparks?

Would you guess there are 18?

Well, you’d be wrong. There are 15 downtown ballparks, half of baseball. They are:

  1. AT&T Park, San Francisco
  2. Busch Stadium, St. Louis
  3. Chase Field, Phoenix
  4. Comerica Park, Detroit
  5. Coors Field, Denver
  6. Great American Ball Park, Cincinnati
  7. Minute Maid Park, Houston
  8. Nationals Park, Washington
  9. Camden Yards, Baltimore
  10. Petco Park, San Diego
  11. PNC Park, Pittsburgh
  12. Progressive Field, Cleveland
  13. Rogers Centre, Toronto
  14. Safeco Field, Seattle
  15. Target Field, Minneapolis

All of these parks have one thing in common besides being located in a city’s central business district: they opened in the last ~25 years. Some are considered part of the portfolio of new classics, such as AT&T, Petco, PNC, Camden Yards, and Safeco. The rest, while perfectly good venues, are outclassed in one way or another. Many were anchors of large-scale redevelopment projects. Some were wildly successful (AT&T) while others couldn’t quite deliver on their promise (Comerica, Busch). Some are on the fringes of downtown. Others were placed on land that had a hard time being developed into more common uses (residential, office).

Missing from the above list are the most iconic older ballparks and their replacements. Fenway Park is in the Fenway-Kenmore neighborhood, 1.5 miles west of Boston’s compact downtown or central business district. Wrigley Field is 4 miles from Chicago’s Loop. Yankee Stadium is 8 miles from the southern tip of Manhattan, progenitor of the term downtown. Instead, these parks are in established neighborhoods.

5.2 miles from the Coliseum to downtown Oakland

5.2 miles from the Coliseum to downtown Oakland

Having legacy parks built away from the urban core was largely an economically driven decision, since it was often easier for team owners to assemble land away from downtowns. A century ago up through the end of WWII, parking was not a major issue, so the complications of having huge parking lots or garages didn’t come up. It was the pre-NIMBY area, with no environmental impact reports or CEQA. To say it was a simpler time would be an understatement. The ballparks thrived, gave the neighborhoods character, and became the landmarks we know today. Some of them at least. More likely, peers like Brooklyn’s Ebbets Field or Crosley Field in Cincinnati were phased out because they were too small, lacked parking for postwar suburban fans, or other reasons. In those situations, owners often turned to big, modern multipurpose stadia, usually in downtowns. As those modern replacements turned into ugly relics, they were themselves replaced by “retro” ballparks that harkened back to that simpler era. But they were situated in downtowns, not neighborhoods, so they didn’t quite have that magical character Wrigley and Fenway have. To date there hasn’t been a neighborhood park concept developed anywhere in MLB during the modern era.

..

An early rendering of Coliseum City

An early rendering of Coliseum City

Which brings me to Coliseum City. Throughout this entire Coliseum City process, backers have been selling the idea of this new, exciting, urban landscape, marked by glittering venues and tall high-rises. It looks like a second downtown for Oakland, doesn’t it? That’s a sentiment I had been hearing a lot since renderings by JRDV were released. Today this was confirmed by Andy Dolich, who wrote in an excellent piece at CSN Bay Area that the A’s have a good bargaining position for a future Oakland ballpark. The thing that bothered me was this:

Oakland is a gritty yet highly competitive city with suburbs, exurbs, and even far away counties with fans, businesses and broadcast entities that will support a coherent stay-at-home strategy for the Raiders and A’s. The desolation of China Basin turned into the Miracle of Mission Bay with AT&T Park as its nucleus. That same dream can turn into reality in and around the Oakland Coliseum site.

Let’s be clear about something. Coliseum City is not China Basin. Any attempt to draw similarities between the two is fanciful. China Basin is less than a mile from downtown and only 1/4 mile from South Park, long the ground zero for startups in SF. Combine that proximity with the touristy allure of the Embarcadero and you create that “miracle.” Oakland has a lot of land available at the Coliseum, but it doesn’t have any of those factors. The Coliseum complex is more than 5 miles from downtown Oakland. That’s nearly the length of Alameda, or longer than the Bay Bridge.

Coliseum City was conceived as a grab bag of everything a city politician might want to see developed on his/her watch: high quality office space, high-rise hotels, a fancy transit hub, housing, and yeah, those sparkling new sports venues that will keep the teams from escaping to other markets. Other than the presence of the existing BART station, there’s little to truly propel development. The complex is not a downtown, it’s an industrial area, so convincing developers and financiers to take a chance on the project has proven exceedingly difficult.

Take a look at the road plan below. The complex is somewhat screwed, because it’s hemmed in by a creek, railroad tracks, and the Nimitz Freeway on three sides. The lack of streets feeding into it creates a handful of major chokepoints. Tying them all together is a new loop road that traverses the complex. Downtowns don’t have loop roads. They have main streets. A loop road is something you’d find at a campus development. The infrastructure in place in and around the Coliseum is more suited to a theme park than a downtown.

Road plan for Coliseum City

Road plan for Coliseum City

A true downtown has a spine, a major arterial road through which transit and cars run. That’s not part of the Coliseum City, nor can it be. The major streets are a freeway plus San Leandro Street and Hegenberger Road, all of which form the perimeter of the core (downtown) area. BART also doesn’t run through, and it only provides one stop that can only access the “downtown” via a new pedestrian bridge. Downtown Oakland is served by two BART stations, both of which can be accessed from various streets and directions. Downtown SF has four stations.

plan

An elevated concourse serves as the spine of the plan and provides open space

See what I’m getting at here? The lack of multiple ingress/egress points makes this a complete nightmare in terms of access. Imagine a dual-event scenario at the Coliseum in which both the stadium and arena are in use (you could also use a 36,000-strong sellout baseball crowd as a benchmark). Both have events that start at 7 PM on a weeknight. Now imagine two-way traffic added to the mix: a few thousand office workers leaving while another few thousand residents arrive. That’s bustling, right? There’s another term for it: gridlock. Established downtowns have a street grid that by its very design can help mitigate that gridlock. Coliseum City doesn’t, and it shows in the EIR’s traffic study. Only small mitigation measures are identified, and some intersections have no mitigation at all. As a result, the main intersections or gateways all end up with Level of Service (LOS) F grades, the worst you can get. Traffic is a dual-edged sword. When in a neighborhood it’s a sign of vitality. It’s also a major annoyance. Expanding BART at the transit hub would help encourage patrons to use transit, but that’s not going to be for everyone.

The spine is an elevated grand concourse that connects the BART station/transit hub to the football stadium and extends to the rest of the development via stairways. It could even run across 880 to near the Estuary. While it will deliver people from the hub to the rest of the complex, it will also serve as a huge wall separating the complex in two. I’m sure the idea is to evoke the wildly successful High Line in New York, a former elevated train line that was converted into a greenbelt on the West Side. The concourse is going to be much wider and serve more uses than the High Line, which at most points is rather narrow. The High Line snakes through Chelsea, a little piece of heaven in a part of Manhattan that lacks parks. The thing about the High Line is that people generally don’t use it as a main way to move between places. It’s a diversion. CC’s concourse is meant to be a main drag, so much that it has a streetcar embedded within. I’m going to guess that if the development doesn’t expand much beyond the Coliseum complex, that streetcar is a nonstarter.

Concourse at Coliseum City

Concourse at Coliseum City

The High Line in Manhattan

The High Line in Manhattan at dusk

There’s a philosophical question to ask about Coliseum City. If so many people are talking about it in terms of a second downtown, what does that mean for the current downtown? Oakland’s downtown/uptown areas have survived the recession, riots and protests, and have gotten funkier and cooler in the process. It becomes a matter of how Oakland balances out the needs of a downtown that grew up on its own versus a planned campus development designed to resemble a downtown.

When you look at old parcel maps of the complex, you can see dotted lines where streets were supposed to be laid out. Originally the area was supposed to become a subdivision, carrying over the street numbering convention found on the other side of the tracks. I can’t help but think that the project would be more feasible and ultimately successful if its proponents tried to make it a real neighborhood instead of a planned campus. That would be the truly retro move: a neighborhood that works in scale with a ballpark, that doesn’t have pie-in-the-sky planning goals, that echoes the growth of other neighborhoods in Oakland. Yes, there would be parking as that’s a necessary evil piece of infrastructure. The plan would be complementary to downtown instead of competing directly against downtown. Chances are it would be more egalitarian than Coliseum City. If Oakland really wants to stand out, to make something special, it should stop looking jealously across the Bay for something to copy like a waterfront ballpark. A neighborhood ballpark, done the right way, would be that unique plan. Oakland could do that if it wasn’t so starry-eyed. Honestly Oakland, what would you rather have: a second competing downtown, or Wrigleyville/Fenway?

P.S. – When we saw the plans, Jeffrey (Editor at large) and I talked over some of the possibilities. One thing that we agreed on was that Oakland might have the best chance of developing the whole thing if Coliseum City attracted one or two major employers to take much of the office/R&D space. Say that a growing tech company in San Francisco wanted to escape the ultra-high rents there, but wanted space to expand on their own terms instead of leasing multiple floors in different buildings. Coliseum City presents one of the few opportunities to build a campus close to SF. It’s a potentially great deal for Oakland: high-profile company relocates to Coliseum City, leases a large amount of space, has its own BART station. In a way that feeds into the idea that Coliseum City is really a campus, because instead of 12 or 20 different companies taking up different amounts of space, you have one. The company has its own big commuter shuttle buses and a fleet of private Ubers coming in and out, just like Silicon Valley.

106 thoughts on “Coliseum City: The campus that wants to be a downtown

  1. funny the oakland only fans use the coliseum site as one of the big reasons why the a’s should stay in that area since its “centrally located” in the entire bay area with access to BART and a major freeway.

    yeah?

    • I mean, it does have BART, Amtrak, airport right next door, plus 880? It has great transit but nothing around it.

      But I would have preferred a line similar to what SF did with the Third street/T going down International then cutting down San Leandro, stopping at Coliseum and heading to bay fair

  2. Whoa. ML, you just turned my thinking about the coliseum site on its head…in a good way. My big frustration with the site has always been that it doesn’t lend itself to the type of uniqueness or sense of place that define the truly great ballparks. You’ve shown us a strategy that uses the site AND theoretically accomplishes that goal. Nice work.

    • Phonebook park should not be considered near the SF downtown though (which is Van Ness/Geary,etc, att park is nowhere near that)

      • Van Ness is downtown? How come I have to go to Union Square for everything then?

      • @JeffreyAugust – you have a point – neither is close to the Giants ballpark though.

      • AT&T Park is walkable from Powell Street BART, directly adjacent to Union Square.

      • I would consider the Financial District to be downtown, and increasingly SOMA as well.

      • I agree with you Bartleby. Downtown SF is divided by Market Street and the heart is between New Montogmery and Powell Street BART with Civic Center and Embarcadero on either flank.

  3. The decision of where the ballpark goes is the A’s ownership not the City. Also, let’s note since we are looking at all of the ballparks, the average on site parking at major league parks is 7,800 not the 13,000 being touted by the A’s. On-site also includes structured in almost all cases.

    The A’s need to make a decision first to stay in Oakland; then where to locate a ballpark. At that point, the City and/or County can work with them on making a new ballpark a reality. Until then, everything is a waste of time speculating.

    • Mr. Kephart,
      The Raiders have made a decision to stay in Oakland. Please make it happen kind Sir! Thank you.

    • @ Floyd

      So, the A’s have to make a “choice?” That’s interesting, a choice that Wolff is more then likely hoping he won’t have to make. (with one arm tied behind his back by MLB) Well “IF” Davis has the will to stay, and you can come up with the money (investors), then the A’s may not have to make a choice, it would almost certainly be up to MLB to make a choice at that point wouldn’t? (San Jose) Choice, when to make them can be more important then actually making making them.
      It sounds like you need to push forward with the hope of working something out with the Raiders at the site, because not making a choice, is in its own way making a choice.

    • @flyod- the team you are trying to partner with doesn’t want the A’s at this site. For you and others in the city to try and conduct political cya by saying the A’s need to make a decision only further raises the risk that the Raiders are gone. Had Oakland focused on retaining one team in Oakland while ensuring the other 2 teams remained in the Bay Area the region could have had a win-win and oakland would have come out better economically as a whole. Instead this charade of a grand CC project with multiple teams all living together as one big happy family is one that you and others in the city continue to perpetuate when you all know it is not feasible. In the end you will lose at least 2 of your teams and the Bay Area most likely will lose one of their teams- in my opinion that is shameful-

      • @GoA’s – You are spot on. Floyd works for New City. New City is competing with the A’s for the site. New City’s project has given first priority to the Raiders so they can’t trash the Raiders, meaning the A’s are a much easier target.

    • I will always laugh at Kephart’s name being in ALL CAPS

      It makes me think he speak like Lil Jon

    • I love Neil Young. Cinnamon Girl is one of the best songs ever. The one note solo is innovative.

    • @Floyd – The A’s and MLB have already said that the Coliseum site, with full control given to the A’s, is the only option left in Oakland. The A’s have made their choice.

      I think the problem is that the A’s choice is in competition with the initiative you have been hired to promote.

    • Hate to say this Floyd, but your comment is almost completely off-topic.

    • “Also, let’s note since we are looking at all of the ballparks, the average on site parking at major league parks is 7,800 not the 13,000 being touted by the A’s”

      Mr, Kephart,

      As ML notes in his post, the majority of MLB ballparks are either in downtown or neighborhood areas. So, your parking comparison doesn’t seem to be applies to apples.

      The two most analogous situations I can think of (i.e. football and baseball venues sharing a site and lots) are in Philadelphia (21,000 spaces) and Kansas City (19,000 spaces). In neither of those situations are the teams sharing the site with offices, residences and other businesses with their own parking needs. Considered in this context, Mr. Wolff’s position seems more than reasonable.

      Notwithstanding, as a die-hard Raider fan I wish you nothing but luck in your efforts.

      • Thx Bartleby- was looking for those stats on Philly and KC- curious what the Reds have also- bttm line your pt is right on mark-

      • @GoA’s My source for these figures was baseballpilgrimages.com. Unfortunately they don’t seem to list figures for Cincinnati.

      • @bartleby

        Good home work.

      • Philly also has an arena (formerly two) on site. The one time I was there when there was baseball, hockey and concert all at once it got messy. But no worse than a sold-out Raiders game pre-tarp era.

        Just for comparison, Miller Park has 12,600 spots.

    • I did some research on this because something didn’t sit right with me. The most analogous stadium situation to Oakland is Philadelphia (a ballpark, a football stadium and an Arena in one complex). That site has 23,000 parking spaces.

      • @Jeffrey The source I found said 21,000, but close enough. See also figure for Kansas City at my response to Floyd Kephart 3/3/15 10:08am, above.

      • My source is the complex’s web site

  4. I respectfully disagree with you Floyd, given the lack of space available and the stance of the organization in the past, its pretty clear that the decision to stay in Oakland and the decision to pick the Coliseum are not mutually exclusive. I know you are trying to facilitate a deal to keep both teams at the complex, but its pretty clear from both parties whether through words or actions that neither has the intention of staying at the Coliseum complex without the other exiting. That we don’t have to speculate about. The rest of it is waiting for the JPA, City and County to choose which. However, your actions may facilitate a decision in short order. Agree most other actions are speculation until we get an answer on who wins out. Good luck with your work.

  5. Love the idea of the post-script RM. That makes a ton of sense. Its metro accessible, its close enough to both cities and is doable from SV too.

  6. I think it is important to distinguish between “Urban Ballparks” and “Downtown Ballparks.” Just being on the street grid within view of downtown does not define a ballpark as being “downtown.”

    With that in mind, I would contend that AT&T Park, Nationals Park, and PNC Park are NOT in the downtowns of their respective cities (Safeco Field may also be a stretch).

    At each of those parks, there is either a major man-made or natural feature separating the ballpark site from downtown.

    • You can get caught up in the definition of urban/downtown, but when the media and fans call the park downtown as it has in all of those cases, it’s for all intents and purposes downtown. I briefly alluded to that when I mentioned “fringes of downtown.”

  7. This just lends more credence to my 12 billion dollar plan of buying all 3 teams and building on the base in Alameda, then building a new highway entrance and BART station, as well as gondola from downtown Oakland

    1 billion for the A’s
    2 billion for the Warriors
    1 for the Raiders

    1 billion each for the new stadia/arenas (3 bill total)

    4 billion for a new bridge/connector/bart station/gondola/hyperloop
    2 billion to pay off Alameda residents/NIMBYs

    1 billion for unforeseen costs/statues to Rhamesis Muncada

  8. The thing is… There is something doable at the Coliseum site and it doesn’t require Oakland to write a massive check on behalf of the Raiders. That happened already (continues to happen) and the only people who don’t think its been mostly disastrous are the same people who sold the idea on the potential for half a football stadium to bring Oakland the Super Bowl.
    Odd that there will be a Super Bowl in the the Bay Area soon but not in Oakland, isn’t it?

  9. @ ML
    Your PS. Makes a lot of sense one thing that site has is space, even if it may not be enough to satisfy both Wolff and Davis together. A large and expanding company would be a great partner at the site. Oakland should really be trying to get one (two), big fish and not 12-20 littles ones, which would just complicate things more than they already are.

  10. re: “make a commitment” This apparently means the A’s must commit to sharing the site with the Raiders, regardless of whether that makes sense monetarily, or commit to the already-studied-and-dismissed Howard Terminal site that the A’s and MLB don’t want. What we need is for the city/county to recognize the folly of building a second $1 billion football stadium 30 miles from a brand new one and instead let the A’s make plans for the site. Give the A’s full control and they will do their best to commit. Trying to force them to shoehorn themselves into unfeasible circumstances won’t accomplish anything…FWIW, a 55,000-seat NFL stadium means no chances for any Super Bowls. And with the 49ers already having very few dates taken at their stadium (the Sharks game 10 days ago was the only event scheduled over something like a 3-month period), Oakland would be committing to a sparsely used facility. Oakland would go from the Coliseum site having a guaranteed 130+ events filled a year (81 for the A,s, 10 for the Raiders, 41 for the Warriors) to a whopping 10 events guaranteed a year.

  11. Completely agree with the comment saying that the Coliseum site is not China Basin. This has been used by the Giants and the Giants friendly media as an argument for why the A’s should be able to build in Oakland.

    That being said, I think there is potential at the Coliseum site. With or without any sports teams, this is a large amount of land in a decent location (at least commute wise).

    Anchoring the site with a sports team, I think helps a lot, but the key benefit to Oakland is in the ability to build a neighborhood like what ML describes. Re-creating downtown SF or creating a “fake” downtown with big box stores, isn’t going to distinguish Oakland.

    I think Oakland needs to seriously look at it’s options for using the land without a sports team. I don’t think a new Coliseum (whether it’s for the A’s or the Raiders) in the middle of the same parking lot really helps the city.

    Everyone keeps talking about choices. While kicking both teams out isn’t a politically popular choice, Oakland should evaluate this option.

  12. ML’s post suggests that the use the Coli site is really best suited for is a football stadium with a sea of surface parking. After all, that’s really what it was designed for.

    • @bartleby: It is time for Oakland to choose now: A’s or Raiders. It is too obvious that Oakland can’t keep both.

      If Oakland have a deal with the raiders and can get Davis’s signature on dotted lines, sign it now. Stop talking and start digging. As for the A’s, Fisher and LW can plead their case for SJ afterward. If MLB let the A’s move to SJ, it would be great because it is in the BA, if not, bye bye A’s.

      • @daniel I totally agree.

      • Oakland will NEVER concede the loss of any of the teams. Not until the first tip-off at the new Mission Bay arena, anyway. Remember when Oakland made statements to the effect that when CEQA or something of that nature stifled the Warriors in Frisco, that Oakland would have a slab of land ready for them? If the Raiders get a deal (still unlikely, I suspect), then a few acres of the site will be set aside for an A’s ballpark that the A’s won’t want to build. Or, Howard Terminal or some other studied-and-dismissed site will be resurrected.

      • @daniel
        Totally agree, it’s time for people to make a choice. Davis has the first shot, if Oakland can’t get his signature on an agreement, then stop dealing with the Raiders and turn your attention to the A’s.
        Come on Mark, as the old folks say “Sh*t or get off the pot”, either it can work for you in Oakland or it can’t.

  13. @pjk Oakland will never overtly concede the loss of a team by coming right out and saying “we have given up on [Team X].” But this is irrelevant; they will concede the loss of teams through their actions.

    They’ve already implicitly (and wisely) conceded the loss of the Warriors. Though in theory they’re still saying “we have a piece of land for you,” you hardly ever hear the Warriors mentioned in these discussions and anyone with a brain can see that’s not going to happen.

    Similarly, their actions generally suggest the first team that makes a concrete commitment will get first dibs on the land and the other team will either have to shoehorn themselves into that plan (unlikely) or leave. The Raiders appear to be actively working on a proposal while the A’s await the outcome of that process, so Raiders get first at bat.

    If the Raiders/Coliseum City present something viable the city will lock that deal in (as they should). Though they won’t say “we’re giving up on the A’s,” this action will be an implicit concession.

    • @ bartleby
      Thank you, I just don’t see how it will (should), go down any differently then you described.

    • “The Raiders appear to be actively working on a proposal while the A’s await the outcome of that process, so Raiders get first at bat.”

      Really? What specifically have the Raiders done?

      • They are actively in discussions with Kephart on a plan. He has indicated they are close to an agreement, but that it cannot be finalized until the city and county agree on a process for obtaining the approval of both government entities.

        By contrast, the A’s have said they want no part of this process.

      • They also just presented an update on Carson to NFL’s relocation committee

  14. It seems obvious that Oakland officials believe that the A’s have no options other than to stay in Oakland. Therefore Oakland will wait things out until the A’s agree to build their new ballpark on the Coliseum property. For that reason, I also believe that Oakland does not feel the urgency to negotiate a deal with the Raiders on a new stadium, either. I wouldn’t be one bit surprised that the Giants are feeding this information to Oakland elected officials.

    • When it’s time for the Raiders to kick the A’s out of the Coliseum and there is no replacement in sight for the A’s, then Oakland will learn the hard way that the A’s will not be forced to stay in Oakland. Oakland won’t pay for a ballpark and no one can force the owners to do it, either. Selling the team to someone else who can spend 7 years “studying” the matter would still leave the A’s with no place to play. I’m betting what would happen under these circumstances is the A’s get parked over at ATT Park until a new facility is developed in either the Bay Area or somewhere else. {This notion has been raised in here by others before). If the Giants don’t want the A’s in San Jose, then maybe Frisco would be a better place for them, for a long time.

      • @ pjk
        While Oakland is learning this lesson the hard way, let’s hope that Wolff is granted San Jose, because the alternative would be a hard lesson for Wolff as well. That being waiting out Davis, and still not getting approval to move to San Jose ultimately didn’t work.

    • The ironic thing is you will hear Bay Area media types say A’s will have all the leverage if the Raiders leave. Makes no sense as A’s don’t/won’t have any options other than Oakland. Optionality is how you get leverage- and MLB has limited this for the A’s-

      • @GoA’s
        Your quite right, the A’s will have a little leverage with Oakland if the Raiders leave, only because they will be the only one left, but the real leverage Wolff wants only happens if the Raiders stay, that leverage being with MLB in an attempt to get San Jose.

      • I wouldn’t assume the A’s have little leverage. If they have difficulty, I imagine MLB will come along and threaten to let them move to San Jose (whether they would actually follow through on that threat or not).

    • “For that reason, I also believe that Oakland does not feel the urgency to negotiate a deal with the Raiders on a new stadium, either.”

      If Oakland is at all serious about keeping the Raiders and they don’t feel any urgency, they are idiots. Unlike the A’s, the Raiders aren’t subject to any artificial restrictions on where they go and it is very easy to move an NFL team. If Oakland doesn’t act quickly to strike a deal, there’s an excellent chance the Raiders will be playing in Los Angeles next year.

      However, I do think Oakland feels urgency on this.

      • With NFL prioritizing oakland for its first market study for the 3 teams proposing LA and starting it this month, it says that Oakland better be serious. We already know what the market study commissioned by the raiders said and it wasn’t optimistic in terms of corporate support and PSL’s; which is why MD wants a smallish stadium. And the NFL is well aware of Oakland’s lack of action thus far and cited it in the recent article where they said Oakland has not been aggressive nor have they been concrete in terms of stadium plans for the Raiders.

    • @llpec
      You are so right, I’m sure these Oakland politicians are listening to the San Francisco Giants, and of course the SF Giants are the wisest council Oakland could listen to.

  15. ML I like your PS… BUT as I’ve said before Oakland is approaching this from an “if you build it they will come” mentality. Sure a couple of techs moving in could be the thing that makes your plan happen, but what if they don’t? That’s an awful big gamble with taxpayer money to make. If they do not come after it’s built you have a nine or ten figure ghost town and all of that money as debt that can’t be paid.

    The CC approach is “cart before the horse.” Show me the demand for all of this real estate THEN I’ll be a believer.

    Also, all of the commenters’ focus on teams committing one way or another is the obstacle… like it’s some magic pill that suddenly makes all of the money appear. I don’t get it.

    This bucket is full of holes no matter how you try and fill it. To me it’s obvious that the A’s ownership (Wolff AND Fischer) are saying and doing all the right things (aka Going Through The Motions) so they can say to MLB “we’ve done all we can even gone the extra mile and there’s nothing else we can do” and move to San Jose. The Raiders are broke and can’t do anything without serious help, thus the Chargers deal.

    • The City of Oakland wouldn’t be paying for construction of the ancillary development. The only money they’d be out if for infrastructure, which is necessary for the are to develop.

      • OK, good point, but still nine digits for a ghost town if nobody moves in and they still have to convince an investor to build empty buildings for the rest.

        Here is my prediction of what will happen within 10 years:

        Of the Raiders, Chargers and Rams, two them will be sharing a stadium in LA with the odd man out sharing Levi’s. The A’s will be in San Jose or somewhere not in California.

      • “still nine digits for a ghost town if nobody moves in and they still have to convince an investor to build empty buildings for the rest.”

        The project doesn’t get built and the teams won’t commit until and unless the financing is in place. The financing will be based on private commitments, so the office component won’t happen unless they have major tenants signed up up front or the developer feels confident market conditions justify the risk.

      • Generally speaking, market demand for commercial space in the Bay Area is such that building Class A office space at Coliseum City is probably not a bad risk IF the rest of the project comes together and has the necessary critical mass to transform that immediate area. They built Class A space in East Palo Alto and it seems to have done very well.

      • There’s also an IKEA and a Four Seasons in East Palo Alto. The dichotomy in that city is very strange.

      • Then where are the bulldozers? Where are the tower cranes?

        How long has this been in the works? Seriously. Time to fish or cut bait… looking like the latter to me. Admit failure and let everyone move on with their lives. (Not you, “the powers-that-be.”) But then again what are the chances of a politician giving up on anything.

        I seriously don’t think this is ever going to happen.

        You may think I’m being pessimistic, but I think I’m being realistic. If it hasn’t happened after this much effort and time, all of the repeated failures to launch… does anybody honestly think that it will happen without having ANY reasonable doubt?

        The teams (owners AND players), the fans, even the non-fan general public of the communities involved in this epic saga… we all deserve better than this.

  16. Wolff is ahead of the curve concerning building a stadium along with ancillary developments (entertainment, etc) many of the latest stadium proposals (including Kroenkes L.A. plan and the chargers SD plan also include plenty of ancillary development) the downtown stadium only ballparks, such as the giants, are becoming antiquated.

    • You might be the only person on Earth who thinks the new downtown stadiums are getting outdated.

    • Aren’t you overlooking that LW would prefer to build in downtown SJ where the infrastructure is established. The only reason he is considering a ballpark off of 880 with a sea of parking lots around it is because he has no other alternatives presently.

      • Wolff does own the fairmont
        Hotel in downtown SJ, among other local properties, however the Cisco field plan also includes additional development.

  17. We are at a point of no return.

    Wolff, Fisher. Please leave now. Even if you “wanted” to build in Oakland I wouldn’t trust you under ANY circumstances. Get the votes you need or whatever you have to do. Leave. Please leave and take all of this drama with you. You want SJ, so take it already. Get Manfred to understand you have ZERO, and I mean absolutely ZERO, chance of success in Oakland. Seriously. You have NO chance here. Take your team to the 10th largest city in the US and the most AFFLUENT area in the world. Quit playing the victim and get the friggin votes already and leave now. Right now. You are absolutely and thoroughly despised here. Leave now.

    Pay the G’s what they want because you will more than make up for it in the first 1/2 of the ceremonial season, by the All-Star break, what with the HUGE ticket demand and unlimited corporate dollars. Oh, and you’ll be paying into rev sharing to the tune of the Yankees. Yes. Yankees #1 and the SJ A’s #2 in payroll. Immediately. Oakland and the East Bay are income poor. And they have ZERO corporate support. In light of this Mr. Wolff, please pack up and leave as soon as you can to your paradise. Manfred WILL assist.

    In other words, GTFO. I, and many East Bay fans don’t want you so do what you have to do and get away from us stat. Please!

    Love,

    Not Your Supporters

    • I didn’t realize Mark Davis also posts here-

    • Hate to burst your bubble… the thing keeping the A’s from leaving is your city/county still trying to keep them where they are. As long as a plan is on the table, no matter how bad it is, they aren’t going anywhere. Well I take that back… if the only plan was Howard Terminal that might be enough to get the support to rent and load the moving trucks.

      Stop blaming the A’s owners and blame their landlords and their fans. Fans that love their teams fill their stadiums. Landlords that love their tenants do what it takes to keep them happy, or at least content.

      If I were the A’s ownership I would want to leave too. Zero support from their landlords for DECADES and perennial bottom-quartile in attendance year after year.

      I agree, time to get real and agree to go separate ways but the ball is not in the A’s court.

    • And if you think that guarantees the Raiders will stay think again… running the A’s out of town on a rail doesn’t fill the funding gap.

      • @DTP
        Oakland has no guarantees, and you can’t run someone out of town, that’s already ran away of there own accord. But I’m sure that’s what Wolff will tell MLB, as he continues to plead for San Jose.

    • @Djhip

      I can’t say I totally agree with you, but I certainly see where you’re coming from. I find it interesting that when we state the obvious, which is that Wolff would rather not build in Oakland.( that’s putting it mildly) And yes, when you say you would prefer to build in San Jose, that’s saying you would rather not build in Oakland. ( for all those that say, “But he didn’t say those exact words”)
      Then we say, well if he doesn’t want to build in Oakland let him go. (to San Jose) Oakland needs to concentrate on the Raiders, whom vary well may want to build in Oakland, we are told by some of the same people who claim Oakland must make a choice, that Oakland should not choose the Raiders, but allow them to leave for the privilege of Wolff considering to build at the site.(if that’s even true), Then we are told by some of the same people that “Well you don’t know that Davis wants to build in Oakland”, I respectfully say to anyone with this response. I would rather go with someone who might want to build in Oakland (Davis), then someone who has made it painfully obvious they would rather not (Wolff), then were told ” But if you choose the Raiders, Davis still may not get it done, and you could lose both teams” I respectfully say, if Oakland goes with Davis and he doesn’t get it done, that will result in the only situation that Wolff claims he will consider Oakland (the only team left), which we already know if ever built will be ushered in by MLB’s final refusal of San Jose, based on the fact that there would be no other teams left in Oakland. So, what was it again that Oakland had to lose in choosing to go with the Raiders?

  18. @ GoA’s – I hope you got a titillating rise from your, um, post. You read like a very intelligent and witty, very witty poster. Good luck.

    • Sorry djhip- couldn’t resist-,but man that was an overdose of whining on your part- DTP already addressed all the relevant points about your post- you guys need to quit playing victim and ask the city leaders to move forward with a plan – it was the NFL last week that called out Oakland for not being aggressive and not having a concrete plan- quit the political bs and pick a team to move forward with-.

  19. I would love a downtown Oakland ballpark site but Floyd is right it is first up to Oakland Athletics management to decide to stay in Oakland first then work on either a coliseum filled or a downtown Oakland ballpark field

    • The A’s have made it clear: They need the Coliseum site and control of it. If they won’t get that, then they will not be building in Oakland. “Commit to Oakland” cannot mean – surrender to whatever terms are being offered and be subject to what a third party developer wants. The A”s don’t need a third party developer.

      • re: downtown Oakland ballpark. The BRC spent 5 or 6 years looking for some way, anyway, to get a downtown ballpark done. It couldnt find any way

      • @pjk
        Kephart has already publically said he would have no problem stepping aside, if Wolff wanted to develop the area. The A’s could have control of the site, if that’s what Wolff wanted.

      • @Lakeshore – This is a business deal. Floyd represents New City. Wolf has said he wants full control which cuts New City out. Davis has said that he can’t do the development, which makes New City a life line. Ultimately this is a competition between Wolf and New City.

        Floyd, as he should, is looking out for the best interests of his employer. If you read the context of his statement about stepping aside, he’s saying it in a way to push support away from Wolf which only helps his cause.

        Up until a few weeks ago, Wolf has been locked out because of the ENA. The ENA gave the Raiders and New City first dibs on the site. Why is Floyd trashing Wolf for not having a plan when Floyd doesn’t either, even though he’s had significantly more time to put one together.

        If you can’t say something good about yourself, trash the competition.

      • @ Slacker
        I totally understand what you’re saying, but Kephart did say he would step aside, if Wolff wanted to develop the site. That was my only point with regard to what pjk said there…
        The ENA is worthless as its nonbinding, so it doesn’t matter. It’s not keeping Wolff from anything; he doesn’t want to be kept from doing. You said that this is business, that in fact it’s a competition. I think my issue is this competition is starting to look like one, which Davis can’t win and Wolff doesn’t won’t to win.

  20. Perhaps Wolff is still running the numbers to see if a ballpark on the site is feasible even with site control. If, in the meantime, Oakland turns over the property for a second $1 billion brand new NFL stadium in the Bay Area, then Oakland will have made its choice.

  21. Totally confused by what LSN is arguing. Wolff has signed a 10 year lease- davis has yet to sign a lease extension. Both wolff and davis have said the Coli site can host only 1 team and they have communicated this to oakland and ALCo. Both have said they want ample surface level parking rather than parking garages to ensure the fan experience is maximized- Davis is considering partnering with new city while Wolff Doesn’t need a partner and prefers to control the A’s destiny. How is LW or MD being victim’s here- they are in lockstep that only 1 of them survives at this site- it is oakland folks who continue to try to ignore what the 2 owners are saying by proposing they share the site- sure if oakland wants to pay for the stadiums then by all means share it- ancillary development is not necessary and they can have the philly or kc experience. Otherwise oakland needs to listen to its 2 remaining owners and pick one to move forward with-

    • re: pick one to move forward with-

      ..Won’t happen. Either NFL/Raiders or MLB/A’s will have to decide it’s over in Oakland.

    • @GoA’s
      “Totally confused by what LSN is arguing. Wolff has signed a 10 year lease- davis has yet to sign a lease extension”
      Re: Neither Davis or Wolff have committed to Oakland. Is citing Wolff’s 10 flexible agreement, somehow supposed to convince someone that Wolff is more committed to Oakland more than Davis is? We all know that agreement is for Wolff to have flexibility, in a situation where he is stuck in a place he doesn’t want to be, and at this point should not be considered in any way a statement of his desire, or will to stay and build in Oakland.
      I think the only circumstances that Wolff will consider building in Oakland are if the Raiders (Warriors already), are gone and he is the only team left, even at that if San Jose eventually wins in court, or MLB allows him to move to San Jose he will be gone regardless of whether the Raiders have built in Oakland or LA.
      With this in mind (and other factors), I say Oakland needs to choose the Raiders in this not so evenhanded “choice”. If and (or), when Davis fails that event needs to happen for Wolff to even consider the site anyway (IMHO), so Oakland not only should go with the Raiders, it has very little “choice”, but to do so.
      Aging if MLB allows the A’s to leave Oakland simply because Oakland and the Raiders have a workable agreement in place to build a new football stadium (if that happens), then Wolff will have gotten part of what he wants kicked out of Oakland, hopefully he will get the other part San Jose. It will be great both teams can remain in the Bay Area, but if he doesn’t get San Jose for whatever reason, he will be at least partially responsible (along with many others), in the Bay Area losing the A’s, biased on his “Wait Davis out strategy”

    • @GoA’s
      I also believe all parties have played the victim role, Oakland, Davis, Wolff, San Jose, SF Giants, Oakland-Only folks, some Pro-San Jose folks, and many others. I guess to an extent most have been, San Jose, and Robert Bobb definitely, some others to a lesser extent, and definitely not Davis.

  22. I don’t understand all of this “pick pick pick” talk. I can pick to be either Warren Buffet’s or Bill Gate’s sole heir to their fortunes. Doesn’t mean it will happen. Picking doesn’t make a bad plan work. Picking doesn’t fill funding gaps.

    The teams need to say here is what we want, here is what we can offer.

    Oakland/AlCo needs to say here is what have and here is what else we can offer.

    Pretty sure both the Raiders and the A’s have done that.

    Pretty sure Oakland/AlCo has done that.

    There is a great divide and neither side is budging.

    From the Raider’s perspective, it’s simple numbers… they just don’t add up.

    From the A’s perspective, it’s the fact they really want to be somewhere else but if someone gives them an offer that only a fool would say no to, then why not see if you can get it? It’s not like MLB is giving them what they want so what do they have to lose? They are stalling to see what the SCOTUS has to say or if MLB backs down when/if they take the case.

    • @ DTP
      I Agree, the Raiders are trying to make it work if you’re correct and they can’t, then need to leave, as you eluded to I think that’s the only way Wolff would build at the site anyway.
      Choice, choice, choice… Oakland gets to choose the team that is willing and able to build, that’s it.

      • @Lakeshore/Neil : it is past time to see the “plan”. If Oakland, New City and Davis have a plan, let’s see it. Oakland can’t worry about the A’s right now. The A’s are gone anyway if the raiders get a new stadium at CC. Davis is actively looking around but he claims he wants to stay in Oakland. Well, I want to see what Oakland,New City and the raiders have. I am so sick of rumors, behind the scene sauces etc..even a partial or near complete plan.

      • @ daniel
        I agree with you 100, that’s why I said earlier in this thread.
        “Come on Mark, as the old folks say “Sh*t or get off the pot”, either it can work for you in Oakland or it can’t.”
        I want to see Davis do something, or leave because he can’t.

  23. Everyone keeps saying the Raiders’ numbers don’t add up. However, if ML’s estimate of a $500 million savings from preserving Mt. Davis is even close to correct, the numbers could be made to add up pretty well.

    Current estimates for a brand new stadium seem to be in the $800 million to $1 billion range. If you really saved $500 million by keeping Mt. Davis, then $500 million from the Raiders and NFL would cover the difference (and maybe even some of the remaining bonds on the existing structure).

    Possibly some of the problems with Mt. Davis I identified earlier could be mitigated, either as part of an initial remodel or later on. As others have stated, the seats on top of Mt. Davis can and should definitely be removed and replaced with something else.

    In addition, I wonder if they could demo the seats above the walkway in the East Side Club so they could extend the Club outward and add glass walls to make it more of a true premium experience a la Levi’s Stadium. This would also create space for additional bathrooms, concessions or other premium amenities, and would eliminate the problem of narrow vomitories on the club level.

    Granted, this would eliminate a significant number of seats in the club, but they’ve had trouble selling those seats anyway. By reducing the number and making the club more of a true premium experience they might be able to “right size” for actual market demand and maybe charge a premium for those seats that’s more in line with other NFL markets. (Presumably they would be adding clubs on the west side anyway, so if more club seats were needed they could be added on that side).

    Maybe sightlines on the lower level east side could be improved by replacing the removable seats with permanent seats at a steeper angle. Of course, this would also have the effect of reducing the number of seats on that side, especially if they tried to also elevate the field above sea level (which seems a good idea).

    I’m warming to this idea a little bit, if some of the above fixes could be implemented so the stadium has the feel of a new stadium with true premium amenities rather than a half-assed rehab like last time. However, the more you mitigate the problems, the more you eat into any savings.

    I’m also skeptical of the $500 million savings estimate even in the best case. While I’m certainly no expert, my gut tells me that estimate is too high and the real number is likely to be somewhere in the $200-300 million range.

    The biggest obstacle to this plan however would probably be the stadium placement. It would seem to leave suboptimal locations for a A’s ballpark on the site. However, if one assumes Oakland is only likely to keep one team whatever they do and if Mark Davis is willing to go with this concept, it might be the way to go.

    • Nobody that matters seems interested in a remodel and why would Davis pursue that avenue when he can get someone else to build new for him in LA?

      • Nobody that matters may be publicly talking about a remodel right now, but that doesn’t mean the idea is completely off the table. Obviously Davis is going to go for a new stadium first if he can get it, but still might accept a really well done remodel that’s almost equivalent to a new stadium as a fall back if it can be done.

        Why would he do so? If you assume his sole objective is economic, he won’t. However,if this is the case he won’t accept a new stadium in Oakland over one in LA either. If he’s really sincere that he’s willing to take a less lucrative offer to stay in Oakland, then a “like new” remodel that pencils out is better than standing firm on a brand new stadium that can’t be financed.

        Can the Coli be made “like new” with Mt. Davis as a starting point? Well that was the subject of my post. I’m starting from a position of skepticism, but after further reflection am coming around to the idea it might be possible.

        Basically, ask yourself what are the essential elements of a new stadium that increase revenue and therefore make it worth investing in. Then ask yourself whether there are ways to improve Mt. Davis so it can achieve those objectives, or come close. The final question is pure cost/benefit: Do the improvements needed to make this idea work still allow for sufficient cost savings to make a difference in financing the stadium.

        Is Davis sincere when he says he would take a less lucrative offer in Oakland to stay there rather than go to LA? I don’t know, and nobody on this board does either.

        By the way I think you have it backward: In Oakland he would be having someone else build a stadium for him; in LA he would be in a joint venture with the Chargers and would presumably have to do at least some of the heavy lifting himself.

      • He doesn’t have to o any of the heavy lifting with the Chargers. They already did it all for him and he just signed on at the last minute.

      • “They already did it all for him and he just signed on at the last minute.”

        First, where are you seeing that the Chargers did all the work so far? This may be true, but I haven’t seen it anywhere.

        Second, the heavy lifting on Carson is only beginning right now. And the Raiders risk profile would likely be much higher for a shared equity joint venture in LA vs. a being a participant in Coliseum City.

      • The reports were that the Chargers were working on the Carson site for quite a while. When Kroenke announced Inglewood they accelerated. Just a week or so before the Carson announcement is when the Raiders signed on, well after the wheels were in motion.

      • Ok SMG,
        You (like others here) don’t want the Raiders in Oakland; we get it!

      • Are you incapable of intelligent thought Tony? Your shit is annoying and tired.

      • “Just a week or so before the Carson announcement is when the Raiders signed on, well after the wheels were in motion.”

        Ok. Either way though, I maintain that the bulk of the heavy lifting still lies ahead, and Davis will almost certainly have to shoulder a greater share of the effort and risk doing a JV in Carson as equity partner than he would signing on to a New City plan in Oakland.

      • The raiders organization likely is one of the least likely franchises willing to do a.stadium share, the raiders are staying put, with the PSL sales revenues included, the raiders have enough finances to build a new stadium in. It’s possible, as some media reports have suggested, that a raiders/Oakland deal 90 percent a done deal

      • The Raiders don’t have the money. If they did it would have already been done.

  24. Getting back to the original topic, I believe that prospective development investors are likely finding it too risky to develop a second downtown in Oakland. If anything, the way to add new acreage to a downtown setting is to expand Oakland’s current downtown to beyond its immediate current perimeter. The proposed Coliseum complex would still be located some five miles from Oakland’s downtown and would still be isolated by the surrounding industrial East Oakland wasteland.

  25. By the way, Victory Court could have been an ideal location for a new A’s ballpark. That locale could have been the setting to be part of Oakland’s downtown expansion.

  26. AT&T park is not downtown. It’s on the water fronts.

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