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09 April 2006

This shouldn't surprise, but it will

Silicon Valley/San Jose Business Journal just posted their interview with Wolff that appeared in the April 7 print edition. Lots of non-answers to the questions that were posed. At some point these interviews will start to look like the lecture scenes in "Real Genius".


So my eyes weren't deceiving me when San Jose mayoral candidate Michael Mulcahy
appeared next to Lew Wolff in the first row on Tuesday. The Merc revealed that Mulcahy's cousins, John and Jason DiNapoli, are in fact part of the A's ownership group.

(pause to allow this to sink in)

Each adult member of the immediate Wolff family (that's five if you're counting) has given $500 to the Mulcahy campaign. You may remember my December post in which I mentioned Wolff selling a portion of downtown San Jose's Park Center Plaza to a group headed by two other DiNapolis. Naturally, the parking garage that's part of that block next to Hwy 87 has a Mulcahy banner hanging from the roof.

What's more interesting is the portion of the block that Wolff kept. In the southwest corner, across the street from the Adobe headquarters, is a rather nondescript, low-slung building with a sizable amount of surface parking. According to the Santa Clara County Registrar, this parcel is owned by a firm fronted by Wolff. Until recently the building held San Jose's first charter school, Downtown College Prep. In December, DCP moved into a more campus-like facility along the Alameda, west of downtown. The building found a new tenant quickly - another Latino-focused charter school called Escuela Popular. Unless Wolff is interested in allowing nonprofits to keep using an underutilized property in perpetuity, it's likely that the building will eventually be replaced. One of the biggest concerns San Jose residents have regarding the ballpark concept is the lack of parking, at the very least in relation to the requirements a new ballpark would entail. The 2-acre parcel could be extremely valuable at some point in the future. Wolff could build a 1,000-space parking garage (with Redevelopment's financial help, of course) there to handle the increased demand should a ballpark be built there. Or he could do a swap with Adobe, who's gunning for the SJWC property across the river/87. Or if he's bidding on the SJWC parcel and gets it, the school parcel could be a sort of gateway to the ballpark village. Housing may not be doable because of the SJC flight path overhead, but there probably aren't too many limitations on what could be done in terms of commercial use.

Going back to the DiNapoli-Mulcahy links, it's pretty obvious now that any talk of moving the A's out of state would have to come after all Bay Area opportunities are exhausted. With the combination of San Francisco interests (Fisher) and South Bay interests (Wolff-DiNapoli), it would appear that San Jose will have something to say about the A's future, whether by bringing the A's to San Jose or by pledging its support for Fremont.

18 comments:

Anonymous said...

I don't like that fact that now Wolff is starting to make references to areas outside of California.

gojohn10 said...

anonymous-

Very scary indeed. It is threats like these that make me second guess whether I should support a move to SJ. If it is San Jose or the highway, I'll guess I'll take SJ. I suppose my reaction to such threats demonstrates one reason why they are used in the first place. Blech.

Marine Layer said...

It's a leverage play. It's not the first time and it won't be the last.

Genaro said...

John DiNapoli is a part-owner huh?

The same guy who testified durring the Gregory hearing that he wasn't a fan of baseball?

I had written about that along time ago and I didn't hear anything new about the DiNapoli's and the A's until now, and I can't say I'm surprised. I always thought they would be involved one way or the other, but not as a high as part-owners.

The Chavez-3rd District Mayor angle is an intreguing issue; if she loses the election, she may move against an A's move.

Jeff said...

Oh my, those "coincidences" just keep adding up. Are SJ politics always this intriguing? The "Dinapoli" family name is beginning to sound suspiciously Sicilian...lol. The interview link was interesting. Why the continued silence of the part of Mcgowan? Surely he cannot be unaware of the speculation taking place concerning SJ. Surely he can't be anticipating a nice little payoff can he? Interesting that Wolfe states that there are several sites he is pursuing in Fremont. Lest Cisco get to greedy.

Care for a readjustment on the odds of the A's landing in SJ?

Team moves to Fremont- 40% and holding.

Move to SJ- 40% and rising.

Oakland 15%...and fading

Other 5%

Marine Layer said...

I'm looking forward to the second part of the interview, in which Wolff talks about the future of Downtown San Jose. Those of us who live in SJ may already have an idea of what he'll say, but you never know. He might surprise.

gojohn10, I'm not going to assume it's a SJ-or-bust stance. To do that would severely limit their bargaining position.

genaro, I remember the exchange we had about the Gregory-DiNapoli issue. True to form, most memories are quite short.

I'm still not handicapping.

Jeff said...

ML,

Do you know if the A's are engaged in talks concerning the Warm Springs site? Does the WS have advantages over the PC site? I realize it is smaller, but is it so small that it would preclude Wolfe's ballpark village concept?

Marine Layer said...

Warm Springs has always been on the table. The problem with it is having a willing participant. I'm basing this on information I gathered last year, so I don't know if GM/NUMMI has softened their stance. They were opposed to residential development on the grounds that they'd elicit complaints from those new residents about traffic around the plant during the late night/early morning hours. They also said they might want to have a warehousing facility there, but costs associated with building and maintaining such a facility may be prohibitively high.

Anonymous said...

Would it be possible to put the stadium on the Warm Springs site which would be good as far as possibly getting bart and having the freeway, and only getting part of the PC site and using that for the retail and housing part?

tony d. said...

Hey All,
I know exactly what Wolff will say in his second interview regarding DSJ..."You know, I don't know what the deal is with San Jose's EIR and ballpark planning crap! San Jose and my good friends the DiNapoli's are just wasting their time if they think I'm going to even consider their town for my A's! They should all know better...they belong to Magowan and the Giants!" Seriously, we'll probably hear the exact same stuff we've heard over the past 6 months...I myself don't expect any bombshells (but it would be nice for this San Jose partisan). Is it just me, or do all of Wolff's interviews sound the same? Can someone please interview John Fi$her!

Marine Layer said...

I suppose it's possible to separate them so that the Ballpark Village with stadium and the housing portion are separate. I don't know how the deal would work since it would involve multiple dance partners.

Anonymous said...

I figured that idea may be "out there". I have been pulling for the Warm Springs site (basically because of the Bart factor). Is that site big enough for what Wolff wants to do?

Marine Layer said...

WSX is big enough for the Ballpark Village and some parking, depending on how much of it is acquired.

Anonymous said...

When can we expect the Baseball Fremont site to get launched? Are they waiting for a done deal?

Marine Layer said...

Soon. That's all I can say for now.

Anonymous said...

Thanks ML. I uderstand that sking such a question may have put you in an akward position. I appreciate you always answering my questions and all the work you have put into this site. I visit daily and much more knowledgeable on this topic because of you.

Jeff said...

Maybe this is a dumb question, but if they build on the WS site, can't the ballpark be situated in a position that provides a buffer bewteen the plant and any residential development?

Marine Layer said...

It's possible, but the residential component couldn't be too isolated. The road system there is set up so that all traffic goes on two or three roads. It can only be controlled so much. The amount of noise would also depend on what land is actually used and how the ballpark is configured.