24 March 2005

Coliseum Site

So far, only the Coliseum has been mentioned as a potential ballpark site. This may change based on economic conditions or property availability. Wolff has said other sites within the city are being considered, but did not elaborate.

Site Overview: Unlike the use discussed in the HOK study, the site being considered is not the Coliseum's existing north parking lot. Instead, it is the gravel lot immediately south of the south parking lot, and potentially site adjacent to it. The size of the combined properties is around 25-26 acres. The ballpark's footprint would take up about 1/2 of the site. The rest would be used for mixed development uses and parking.

Advantages: Existing infrastructure. Land may be easily acquired, and once funded, development could occur without too much red tape. Among the plusses for the site:
  1. 10,000+ parking spaces already available. 6,000 adjacent to ballpark in the south lot. Another 4,000 in the north lot on the other side of the Coliseum complex. Small amounts of parking may be available on the project site, but those spaces may be reserved for residents and shoppers.
  2. Proximity to BART. Close, though it's about twice as far a walk as the distance on the BART bridge from the station to the outfield plaza.
  3. View of Oakland hills returns.
  4. Little-to-no expected impact on other Coliseum/Arena events during construction. This is important because proponents will want to minimize friction from Raiders owner Al Davis as much as possible.
  5. Little impact on other neighborhood businesses during construction.
  6. Alignment along planned Airport People Mover route (Hegenberger).
  7. Low cost of land acquisition and preparation.
  8. No restrictions on ballpark shape, size, or field orientation.
  9. Minimal new infrastructure required.
Disadvantages: East Oakland location is not exactly prime real estate.
  1. Project may have difficulty attracting name retailers and restaurants.
  2. May pull limited redevelopment resources from other neighborhoods or projects that have more pressing economic needs.
  3. If project has a large public financing component to be paid using a TIF-based structure, there is a greater risk of revenue shortfalls because of site's location in a less highly-prized market. This may in turn affect bonding efforts.
  4. Electrical transmission towers that run through site will need to be moved. Cost is unknown.
  5. Other Oakland sites may have better views, development opportunities, or integration with urban surroundings.

Conclusion: While the Coliseum may be the best option due to its few conflicts and built-in infrastructure, it is also the least sexy/interesting site in the bunch, and is not without risks.