20 August 2005

Coliseum South = Plan B? + Transit struggles + As the baguette turns

The CoCo Times' Guy Ashley mentions an important nugget not previously reported from the 8/12's JPA meeting:
Though Wolff said the team is open to all possible alternative sites, the preferred one appears to involve a compact new A's stadium in the Coliseum's north parking lot, and a massive new parking facility on the south side of the Coliseum near Hegenberger Road.

One East Bay official at the center of the A's ballpark initiative said the site repeatedly comes up as the most logical Plan B for the stadium project.

"It's his fallback position," said Oakland City Councilman Larry Reid, who spoke with Wolff about the Coliseum scenario days before Wolff went public with the baseball team's grand Plan A to transform a tired swath of land along I-880 between 66th Avenue and High Street.
While it's not the major development plan proposed at the meeting, it's a reasonable fallback should acquisition of parcels within the preferred site prove difficult. However, it does pose issues involving financing. Limited acreage makes the investment potential at the Coliseum North/South lots far less. There's also a question of whether such an option, which places the ballpark on the north end and extra parking along Hegenberger, makes sense. The Raiders don't want garage parking. They want surface lots for their fans to tailgate. It makes more sense to put a ballpark on the Malibu lot and build other parking along Hegenberger, so that interference with the Raiders' interest is minimal. They'd also have a chance to further develop the Hegenberger land, which would be a short walk from the ballpark itself. Whatever Plan B actually is, it's good to know that at least there is a Plan B.

Another item of interest is the fallout from the federal transportation bill (Fremont Argus). While San Jose Congressman Mike Honda inserted language that will help the BART-to-San Jose project, other projects were hurt because they didn't receive federal matching funds that are desperately needed to complete them. The BART Warm Springs extension and the BART Oakland Airport People Mover are two local projects that received nothing. The Metropolitan Transportation Commission may have the ability to shift money around to get some of 10 projects on the list going, but they're going to need to be creative. If something doesn't happen to bridge the funding gaps for each of these projects, they could be delayed at least two to four years, or even indefinitely.

The final item today is a report from the Chronicle on the closure of the Parisian sourdough bakery in San Francisco. An institution for 149 years, Parisian was swallowed up by Interstate Brands (Twinkies, Wonder Bread) several years ago.
Interstate Brands, which filed for bankruptcy protection last year, is shutting down two San Francisco bakeries as part of a cost-cutting move, an effort "to right the ship,'' said Interstate Bakery spokesman Jason Booth. The second bakery, on Bryant Street near San Francisco's Potrero Hill neighborhood, made Wonder Bread, Twinkies and Ho-Ho snack cakes. It also closed Friday. Interstate said neither plant was profitable.
The point of all of this? Interstate is keeping their Oakland bakery open. In a previous post, I noted that this is the landmark Colombo bakery, which just so happens to take up several acres of the land Lew Wolff is trying to acquire. There are a couple of possibilities here. Since Interstate has two factories that they would have to liquidate, it may be possible for Councilman Larry Reid to ask Interstate to relocate their Colombo operations to San Francisco, if that's feasible. Of course, that's probably not an appealing notion to workers at the Colombo bakery. There's also the possibility that because Colombo is a healthy brand and may have some special strategic importance to Interstate, that they may be unwilling to sell the property. Everything has a price, but there are certainly valid arguments for making it either more or less difficult. Only when these parties are engaged will we know for certain. Add to that the fact that negotiating with every individual company or landowner is a unique set of circumstances, and you can start to appreciate the effort that will be needed to pull this deal off.