Numerous San Jose Earthquakes fans are expected to attend tonight's San Jose City Council session. Towards the end of the proceedings will be an open hearing, when Quakes proponents will make their desire to keep the team in town loud and clear. Today, reports emerged that the fire training was too small to hold a stadium, and I'm sad to say there's a lot of truth to this.
I visited the fire training site over the weekend, and yes, it is small. I was able to get a couple of mockups going that got stadium capacity to the 16-17,500 range, but that's too small for a SSS (soccer-specific stadium) these days. The preferred capacity for a SSS is 20-25,000, with some 20-30 suites, a stage at one end for concerts, and amenities one would typically find at a new ballpark or football stadium such as club seats and wide concourses.
It wouldn't be so bad if the site were square, but since it's more or less an isosceles triangle, shoehorning a field and stands into the space is quite an effort. Instead of 5 acres of available space, it's really less than 4. There's a possibility that a portion of a grandstand could be built over Los Gatos Greek, but that would trigger a potentially lengthy environmental review process because of the removal of some portion of the riparian corridor.
Unfortunately, we may be getting into a situation where soccer fans and baseball proponents end up fighting over the Diridon South site. Worse, the city may put together a proposal where the two teams share a stadium, an idea that goes against both MLS and MLB guidelines.
Interestingly enough, there is a piece (or pieces) of land nearby which, if the city invested in them the same way the are with the ballpark site, would make an excellent site for a 20-25,000 seat SSS. It would leave the fire training site open for the public park originally planned for the area. Where is this site, you ask? I will probably reveal it at the city council session tonight.