19 May 2005

Ballpark concepts continued...

Fleshing out last night's news a little more is an article from today's Oakland Tribune. Along with talk of design and the architectural players involved, is more information about potential sites: the Estuary site and the now shutdown Oakland Army Base. At some point I'll try to take pictures of the base and the surrounding area. In the meantime, here's a snippet from the article including quotes from Michael Ghielmetti (the president of Signature Properties who met with Wolff over a month ago), regarding the Estuary site and Oakland in general:

Oak-to-Ninth has been discussed as a possible site because of its waterfront location. And Wolff met with Michael Ghielmetti, president of Signature Properties, the firm that owns Oak-to-Ninth.

"Oak-to-Ninth has challenges because it is not very close to transit, and the access to and from the site is very difficult, but I am not going to be the one that says absolutely not," Ghielmetti said Wednesday. "When we met with Lew and his son, we were talking in broad concepts about a variety of locations in Oakland and reasons to stay in Oakland."

Signature has a unique perspective because they've done or are completing 5 separate housing developments in Oakland of varying sizes. Since they were picked to develop the Estuary site, it isn't clear whether they are more interested in building their housing plan (which still has yet to be fully approved) or sharing the site with the A's (which hasn't formally been brought up as an option yet). The key may be Oakland city mandates regarding affordable housing. Debate surrounding minimum amounts of low-income housing are stalling the Uptown deal, and it looks like they might stall Signature's plans as well. For more on the Estuary including a mockup, check out my mockup plan and photo overview.