06 January 2006

Plan B: Two new sites and a different financing plan

From the Chronicle: Chip Johnson's Friday column substantiates the rumor from a couple of weeks ago in which Wolff scrapped his original vision for something smaller. That's the good news. The bad news? He's not funding the project entirely himself.

The City of Oakland came up with the two site alternatives, both of which amount to 30 acres each.

The sites:
  • Coliseum North Jr.: Between 50th and 66th Avenues along I-880/San Leandro St. I am coining it Coliseum North II because it essentially is a smaller version of Wolff's original site. It may be pieced together from land in which the City found willing sellers. What's not known is how the site is situated along that industrial stretch. Its proximity to Coliseum BART will be key. The site is in the lower right quadrant of the picture below.
  • Tidewater/Oakport/High St. Estuary: This is essentially across the Nimitz (I-880) from Coliseum North. It's an industrial area with one intriguing fact: 11 acres of it is owned by the East Bay Regional Parks District. PG&E has a 15-acre facility across the street. The site is obviously not very close to BART. The site is in the upper left quadrant of the picture below.

The financing:

Here's where it gets tricky. These two sites' size makes the idea of private development being used to completely foot the bill for stadium construction not feasible. Wolff has proposed that the City/County/Coliseum Authority acquire the land, while the A's would put at least $25 per square foot towards the cost. That equates to $1 million per acre, which is below market value for industrial land in the Bay Area. The hope is that surrounding development could help pay for land acquisition and construction, but there's no illusion that it will provide all of the necessary funds.

Wolff's new plan sounds reminiscent of the DC ballpark plan, in which the District acquired the site, designated a portion of it for the ballpark and the rest for developers. In its haste the District controversially went the eminent domain route, which I wouldn't expect for this effort, especially during an election year. The hard part is figuring out how much public money has to be raised for it, which someone at the City Center will have to figure out. Having local pols back the plan is another issue altogether.

Of the two sites, the Tidewater site looks the most intriguing. It's waterfront, there are fewer property owners, and one large piece is already owned by a public agency. The EBParks land won't be free - Oakland/Alameda County/Coliseum Authority would have to buy it - but if a deal could be worked out that provides open space or parkland, it could be beneficial to all parties. The PG&E site's a different story. It's not a substation like the situation in San Jose. It's a local operations center, complete with a vehicle yard, dispatch, and customer service. If the City can find a large, suitable piece of land on which PG&E can relocate, it could work, but the costs associated with that land acquisition/swap and relocation costs have to be factored into the total cost of the plan.

One last interesting factoid: Coliseum North is in Larry Reid's district, while Tidewater is in Ignacio De La Fuente's district.


Georob said...

True to his word, Lew Wolff is not "negotiating through the press". That's the only reason I can think of why there's been no formal announcement from the A's about this change.

Interesting too that "Coliseum South" and even the Coliseum parking lot are not being considered(or re-considered) at this time. Perhaps they are possibilities if all else fails.

Also interesting is that Wolff is willing to consider sites with no reasonable BART access(and I think you can put Fremont in that category should it come to pass)
That could end up being a blessing as you'd have one less public entitity to deal with. However, could this be compensated for by use of shuttle buses from BART?

BART is such an asset of the current ballpark, and as public-transit oriented as this region is, Wolff's gonna have to find some way to work around it.

Anonymous said...

I thought Pat Kernighan was the Council Person along with Nancy Nadel. Also, with O-2-9th in design review stage, I can't imagine that they'd want to start planning a ballpark around that. The issues with traffic flow are already a nightmare and the costs to re-do the DEIR would be astronomical. I think that you'll find they stick with areas closer to the Colliseum and BART.

Kenny said...

Would the waterfron site attact NIMBYism from Alameda?

Thw Fernside Ave area of Alameda ia pretty affluent area of an affluent town.

Anonymous said...

georob: Wolff not negotiating through the press? The entire Tuesday Trib article was triggered by statements from A's spokesman Jim Young, words surely pre-approved by mangement. Without that, no article. The Friday Chip Johnson Chron piece was just a reply by City officials. Wolff demanded a response from Oakland by April, and started complaining by proxy to the Trib in January. Whatever else might be true, he's clearly happy to use the press.

And a crisp new dollar says the A's, if/when officially presented with the San Leandro Blvd. or Tidewater sites, find them inadequate.

Anonymous said...

ML, why wouldn't the "Coliseum North II" location work? And if he builds the stadium there without the surrounding development, would'nt he still have the opportunity to develop elsewhere in the city? Because if I remember correctly, a part of his plan in August was to build the stadium, and if he couldnt develop there, develop in other parts of the city.

Marine Layer said...

Lots of good points. The estuary is split among Kernighan, IDLF, and Reid. This part's IDLF's. I'd be concerned about all this development happening along the water without proper infrastructure to accompany it. It could become a regular nightmare getting in and out of there.

Considering the fact that Fernside is about two football fields away from the Tidewater site shore (closer if you count the boats), NIMBYs could be a problem. One thing that could help at that site is that the field couldn't be oriented towards Alameda because then it would be facing west. It would have to face 880.

The split development idea doesn't make much sense. The whole idea of the village is for it to be a destination with self-contained retail and entertainment. If Wolff were to accept such a split deal - say a ballpark near downtown and the village in West Oakland - how would the land deal work? I'll believe it when I actually see a proposal based on that concept.