14 June 2005

Wolff officially rules out Coliseum

It's not a surprise, but Wolff has dismissed the Coliseum as a potential ballpark site, due to the previously mentioned conflicts with existing tenants (Warriors, Raiders) and lack of available surrounding land. Of course, a quick drive down Hegenberger would make one skeptical about that...

When asked about the Oak-to-9th site, Wolff declined comment and didn't reveal information on any new sites. There are now grumblings from the those that believe Wolff is being less than upfront about his efforts, which could pave the way for an exit from Oakland.

While it's a bit disconcerting that Wolff isn't actively involving the public in the search, he does speak to De La Fuente every two weeks to update the situation. But even DLF can only do so much. As Don Perata once said, "No stadium project goes through without the support of the mayor."


Peanut Gallery said...

This is starting to get me concerned. Wolff was so gung-ho about the Coliseum and the larger development that could happen in that area. Now, he's abandoning that because of some power lines and potential complaints by the Raiders and Warriors? Those are trivial items for a big-time developer like Wolff. Don't you think he encountered way bigger obstacles in his huge Downtown LA developments?

I'm not making a prediction, but I won't be at all surprised if the next thing we hear is that the Estuary can't work because of traffic/clean-up costs/inability to work with Signature/some other combination of problems.

When he just lays down and dies on the Coliseum site in the face of the very first potential impediments, it just makes me wonder.

Marine Layer said...

I agree that the power lines/utilities issue could be mitigated, and that it was probably not the real reason. In actuality, Wolff probably polled other potential private investors and developers, and got a pretty unified "no" on building something at the Coliseum. That's because there's no momentum there, no buzz.

At the Estuary, it's different. You've got a developer that's got the legal issues for its project cleared away (Signature). Infrastructure is coming in the form of the redone 880 right next to the site. And transit infill can be provided through a number of means, as laid out in the BART-JLS feasibility study.

There's also another angle to this. The state's Tidelands Trust prohibits any kind of massive residential development from occuring on our waterfronts. However, it does not prohibit hotels from being built on waterfronts. (in fact, it semi-encourages them because they help boost tourism.) Don't be surprised if talks regarding a hotel/conference center entered the picture. The JLS project includes only a single 250-room hotel. Supposedly it will be a Marriott of four-star quality. Would Wolff be interested in providing some waterfront competition? It's all conjecture, but it wouldn't be surprising.