15 May 2006

Anaheim beats A's to the punch

Lew Wolff's concept of a ballpark village is about to look less innovative as housing giant Lennar and the city of Anaheim are about to embark on a massive mixed development project immediately to the west of Angel Stadium. According to a fresh-off-the-wire press release, the development will encompass 54.1 acres with up to 3,813 homes and nearly 200,000 square feet of retail/commercial space. The release claims that the project will be "Orange County's LARGEST urban redevelopment and FIRST downtown American ballpark community!"

The first thing that hits is the name: A-Town. I feel mildly offended since the Angels have been using the "A-Team" moniker informally for some time, yet there's only one true team called the A's. In actuality, it's a clever, ambiguous name. People can associate the project with the Angels or Anaheim, which could be convenient if Angels owner Arte Moreno follows through on his off-in-the-distance threat to move the team (which is highly unlikely).

The devil is in the details. To build the project, 54 acres of light industrial land called the "Platinum Triangle" is being cleared out and rezoned. Does that sound familiar to anyone? In this case, the Angels aren't involved in getting the project built. They apparently aren't partnering with anyone either (based on reports I've read so far) so they wouldn't see the proceeds, as the A's would for their ballpark village plan.

In essence, the project is simply infill housing with a "ballpark" brand affixed to it. The City of Anaheim has other infill projects in the works. The towers being built near AT&T Park make mention of their proximity to the ballpark, but don't use it as a chief selling point. Padres' owner John Moores bought much of the land surrounding Petco Park to build his hotels and condos. A-Town has some interesting similarities to what Wolff has envisioned. Conceptually, it's not as thorough since direct links to the team aren't there, but it should provide a reference point for those looking to keep track of such projects.


peanut gallery said...

Is this really an integrated basball village, or a large strip mall/housing/office complex on the edge of stadium's massive parking lot?

Marine Layer said...

It won't be an integrated village. Anaheim still has designs on a NFL stadium for the parking lot. It won't be a strip mall concept either. Strip malls don't usually come with 30-story condo towers. It's designed in part to create this grand boulevard between Disneyland and the convention center.

drummer510 said...

Wow they really did beat out Wolff, "first downtown American ballpark village." Will the village be suitable for pedestrian traffic to and from the ballpark? Most development in Anaheim is designed for the car not for people walking.

Georob said...

I'm guessing Anaheim's had this on the drawing boards for some time. Remember, they've been slowly re-inventing themselves to be a "destination" over the last 20 years.

Maybe Lew Wolff got his idea from them, so what? Let Anaheim work the kinks out and the A's can then do it right. And look for more of this type of redevelopment as older suburbs look to deal with the scarcity and price of available land. In short, they're evolving into cities.

Rhamesis, I'm surprised you were taken aback by the term "A-Town". Have you forgotten that Angel Stadium was referred(and still is by many) to as the "Big A" dating back to the 60's?

And Drummer, I'm sorry to be continually ripping your "Stay In Oakland" position. It's just that you're applying the wrong arguments to the wrong audience. Your points would be relevant if Lew Wolff was deciding between sites in Oakland AND Fremont, but the problem is that Oakland HAS NO SITE. You need to dedicate your site solely to LOBBYING OAKLAND CITY OFFICIALS, otherwise nothing else will happen.

As for "preserving our legacy" and singing "Kumbaya"? that's best left to the OAFC

peanut gallery said...

To add to Rob's comments on some of the Oakland arguments: most of them are blanket "Oakland is better" arguments. Saying things like Oakland is urban (which is true of some areas, but not all) and Fremont is suburban or that Oakland has better restaurants (without a doubt!) means nothing if none of the available sites in Oakland are actually in the urban core or near those restaurants. So let's start discussing/promoting specific sites within Oakland and stop writing Oakland Chamber of Commerce talking points.

Speaking of sites within Oakland, why couldn't Brown have gotten behind the Uptown location? That would have been perfect, just perfect. Sorry, had to lament reality for a moment there.

Jeff said...

Sometimes Rob is a little caustic with him comments, but he happens to be right concerning the Oakland issue. Most of the citizens are apathetic, if not hostile to the idea of using public funds to retain the A's. Those dedicated to the idea of keeping the team seem more intent on demonizing ownership instead of applying pressure where it may actually be useful....the politicians. In reality all they are accomplishing is hastening the teams departure. Every elected official knows that they will not be personally held to answer for the teams departure. All that is required of them is to wring their hands and decry the "foul" business practices of MLB. It couldn't be scripted any better for them.

Marine Layer said...

The reason: Payola. An expose by the East Bay Express showed how deep and multilayered the graft was. It included Brown and the Perata machine - Robert Bobb faced an impossible task.

I'm mildly offended at the A-Town concept, not overwhelmingly offended. I still think the best thing they could have done with the Angel Stadium renovation was to bring the big "A" back in view, towering over the rockpile.

Jeff said...

It would seem to me that the Angels enjoy a supreme advantage in their village concept. Namely the happiest place on earth being just down the street. I wonder how the tourism contingent will affect business in a "ballpark village" in Anaheim. Although most people are in the area to go to the park, will the Angels be able to siphon off some of those tourist dollars?