18 July 2005

Fremont Update

I had been playing phone tag with the folks at NUMMI, and I finally got a reply to my inquiry about the NUMMI property which has been discussed for use as a ballpark site. Follow me on this:

  1. According to NUMMI, they have no official position on a ballpark.
  2. There is no official position because the NUMMI Grimmer site is not being considered for a ballpark.
  3. The plans to build a warehousing facility on the site are not formal yet and are still under discussion.

Confused? Now you know how I feel. The problem is that no one recently (as of a week ago or so) opened up any discussions with NUMMI about a ballpark plan. So they don't have a position. That could change quickly if Wolff or Fremont's Mayor Wasserman gets the ball rolling, at which point NUMMI would have to render a new opinion on the matter. It may end up that a ballpark could be planned on land across Grimmer from NUMMI, which would limit available parking but should be big enough for a ballpark at the very least. I'll try to get a clarification on this over the next few days.


Anonymous said...

Here's an idea I always bring up, and it always gets a laugh! But it is a serious, workable idea:

floating stadium!

As far as construction goes, there cannot be anything more expensive than onsite, custom, one-off construction. Note that the new Bay Bridge is being cast in sections -off-site in Stockton and floated to the site off Treasure Island. A floating stadium could be all constructed out of tall, thin, floating "ships", largely in the manner of "segments" in an orange or grapefruit, that are repetitious and joined to make a complete circle. They could be constructed in China and floated/towed here. Of course, the playing field itself would be a series of flat barges bolted together, and the "bleacher" segments would differ from the "foul pole-home plate-foul pole" types. But you get the idea.

Here are some benefits:
A floating entity would -not- be subject to earthquakes, so the structure (especially the higher seating) would not need to withstand a huge potential horizontal load (I personally felt this on the 25th floor of a 40-story SF building in 1989). In fact, the stadium could serve as a headquarters/relief center/staging area WHEN (not if...when) the next big East Bay faultline produces an 8.0 quake.

Building in China or another foreign country would drop labor/material costs by an order of magnitude. Concomitant with foreign "shipbuilding", there used to be (still is???) a provision to support US shipbuilders, where any quote to foreign builders would be met, with an additional "cash back" to the ship-orderer, to keep US shipbuilding facilities viable.

There would be a cost to moor the stadium near Jack London Square, and dredging costs. But -no- ongoing property taxes!!

There are further benefits, but I didn't want to spend too much time on this right now today. Perhaps others can add to this thinking.

Anonymous said...

how feasible does anyone think fremont is with their phobia for public funding for the ball park.

imo A's shud'nt go the giants way of private funding for the ballpark

living on a prayer...

Marine Layer said...

Interesting idea. It would be similar to the floating military base idea that's been tossed around the Pentagon for a while. Once inside, there would be little to indicate it wasn't just a regular, monolithic, foundation-grounded structure. There are some issues, I think, with land usage. While the "platform" (barges) the stadium sits upon wouldn't sit on any assessable land, anything along the shoreline is still tied up in the state's Tidelands Trust regulations. I think a stadium is an agreeable use of Tidelands Trust lands because of the tourist value, but any stadium would have to undergo an even lengthier environmental review process than a land-based stadium, partly because of dredging. It might also set a potentially dangerous precedent: Could other commercial developments be built in the same manner?

Then there's also the issue of materials to be used. Would such a ballpark have more structural steel used in its "platform" than a regular ballpark? Reinforced concrete? Precast?

Anonymous said...

There is now a "flexible concrete" using carbon fiber that makes for "thin shell" construction. Do a search on "carbon fiber" and "cement" and you'll see some of it.

Doesn't rust. Good for seawater.

Anonymous said...

As far as "Tidelands Trust", it may make no difference, but the Oakland Ship channel off Jack London Square did not exist before it was dredged out to "deep" water. So it is not like original habitat is being ruined.

Waves used to break on the beach in Berkeley!

For dredging, I think you'd actually have to turn some current "solid shore" into "water".