12 October 2005

HomeBase (Coliseum South) fire

Local evening newscasts all have reported a seven alarm fire tonight burning at the old HomeBase (Coliseum South) site immediately to the south of the Coliseum complex. I took pictures of the site several months ago and compiled them into an overview (PDF format). The site has been vacant for several years and though it is fenced off, there are several openings in the fence for people to enter. I never saw anyone there when I walked around the place to take pictures, but it's probably a very inviting place for anyone that needs a roof and cover from police. The EDD building next door appeared to be threatened earlier, but reports as of 11:30 indicate that the fire is now under control. I sincerely hope no one was hurt or killed, though I have to wonder if this is somehow related to the displacement of a large homeless camp along the Lake Merritt inlet, next to the Oak-to-Ninth site. There weren't many places the affected homeless persons to go after the camp was broken up, and the HomeBase building certainly could have functioned as shelter. Posted below are the old picture montage of the site and an aerial view.

The flood control channel that surrounds the site may act as a buffer, but some of the peripheral structures at the Coliseum may be in jeopardy, such as a cell phone tower and the football seats (which may be installed in the Coliseum right now).

News from other projects

Some good reading from other cities where ballparks are in various planning stages:
  • Backers of a downtown Kansas City ballpark launched a new website yesterday promoting the concept. A Powerpoint presentation in PDF format is available on the site. The presentation goes over downtown resurgence in other cities: San Francisco, Cleveland, Denver, and Pittsburgh. Obviously, the numbers are spun to give as favorable a view as possible, and I've read as many articles that say the Cleveland redevelopment plan has failed as I have that it has succeeded. I also can't agree with the design, which looks too reminiscent of SBC Park and doesn't address SBC's main flaw: the left field corner seating on the second and third tiers. If you've sat there before, you know what I mean.
  • There's a great article in the Washington City Paper (weekly) about the me-too style and lack of innovation in the DC Navy Yard ballpark concept. If you want a primer on how to design a fan-unfriendly park, this is it. If you want something that makes much more sense for the suits, bleacher bums, and families, check back here in a few weeks. Note: the writer bases much of his judgments on the DC ballpark terms, which were published several months ago.
  • It appears that any hope for a Twins' stadium to be approved this year has evaporated, as state legislators have shown no interest in a special session to vote on non-emergency issues.
  • A key big development project that was planned for Las Vegas has collapsed, leaving it unclear where a future ballpark fits in. The news may be good or bad for Vegas depending on which new developer steps in for The Related Cos. Still no word on the cost of building a ballpark (domed or not?) and the unknown method of funding it, let alone what Mayor Oscar Goodman will do about addressing the gambling issue.