18 May 2006

SJ's PG&E bill: $30.8 million

And so the price tag goes up on the Diridon South site acquisition. Not that it wasn't expected to expensive. But to put it in perspective, in Barry Witt's Merc article the city is spending $17.6 million on three acres. The PG&E substation site takes up only 1.25 acres. Unfortunately, it is a crucial 1.25 acres, since it provides extra width to fully accommodate a ballpark, even a smaller 35,000-seat design.

If the land were not acquired, the ballpark could be reconfigured with a short right field porch a la AT&T Park. The substation provides power to Willow Glen and portions of downtown, so it can't be eliminated. It would have to either be moved to the south end of the fire training center on the other side of Park Ave, or it would have to be reconfigured to run north-south along the railroad tracks that front the western border of the site. Due to restrictions in the types of equipment that have to be used and arranged, and the need for vehicular access, the reconfiguration can only go so far. Depending on what the available land would be, this may be the best option because at $21.6 million it's cheaper than the full relocation, and the land to the south would remain available for a park.

Regardless of how the PG&E substation is addressed, it would have to be the last acquisition to complete the site due to its substantial cost. Should the A's stay in Oakland or move to Fremont or elsewhere in the East Bay, the site would be made available for housing, based on the original Diridon/Arena plan. Soccer supporters had rallied to get the site considered for a new Earthquakes' stadium, but that would require a different EIR to be drafted.


Anonymous said...

Sorry if you covered this previously, but does San Jose have any sort of legal ground on which to sue Major League Baseball for restriction of trade by not allowing the A's to move to the city? Or, does the antitrust exemption pretty much make such a case worthless?

Kenny said...

The teams of MLB are franchises. MLB is technically not a monopoly because technically, anybody with a enormous amount of cash can start their own major league. Franchises go whereever MLB allows them to. It's like McDonalds or Starbucks.

You can't sue Starbucks so they can open a location closer to you.

Marine Layer said...

That's a bad analogy. You can't sue Starbucks to open a new location, but you can find a competitor who might be more interested such as Peet's or Tully's.

San Jose could sue and they might have a really good case, but it would be very costly and could take years to adjudicate. During that time the A's fate could already have been settled. Considering how intense the focus is on City Hall and its high-spending ways, this isn't very likely. For those reasons, I've called this the nuclear option.

Jeff said...

No, you can't sue Starbucks to force them to locate a franchise closer to you. But, Starbucks isn't allowed to prevent another coffee house from opening in your neighborhood either. MLB's territorial rights issue is outrageous. Especially considering that MLB has singled SJ out as the only city in the USA perpetually forbidden to have a MLB team. I don't agree with ML that it would take years to resolve. The mere act of filing a suit will cause MLB to rescind the TR's of the Giants. That would not mean that SJ recieves a the A's will most likely be in Fremont and the market will have already been "served". It is possible that SJ could file suit and demand an injuction against MLB from interfering in their economic development. My bet is that they would recieve the injuction and could compete for the A's directly.

But based on ML's analysis of the state of BBSJ, I doubt that any of this will come to pass. Their base is to fractured to present an organized front against MLB. Again though, I have no doubt that SJ would prevail.

Anonymous said...

A more appropriate analogy in regards to Starbucks would be if a franchisee was prevented from opening a Starbucks in a certain location by corporate headquarters - in order to protect an existing Starbucks franchise 30 miles away from the proposed location!

Couldn't the city justify using the "nuclear option" to clarify the potential uses of property that the city is already spending tens, if not hundreds, of millions of dollars to acquire? The potential benefits of a victorious lawsuit would seem to justify the legal expenses - and the A's may be willing to share some of those legal expenses.

Georob said...

Why is it when we get on the topic of San Jose that so many assume that their residents are all "gung ho" for baseball and that MLB's unfair territories are the only thing that stands in the way?

Not the case. We've seen the polls(not good), but what we haven't yet seen is the public outcry when SJ citizens start thinking that tax dollars are being spent to build a stadium despite the fact that BOTH the A's and MLB say they're not coming to San Jose.

Argue all you want about little tax money being involved. Just listen to talk radio long enough and you know that when it comes to taxpayers, just the mere hint of public waste can get a whole lot of people "up in arms"

And like their counterparts in Oakland, San Jose city officials don't want to be subject to even the THREAT of a recall.

And if you've forgotten what a recall is, ask Gray Davis.

San Jose Native! said...

I live in San Jose, so I can tell you what most people would love to have Major League Baseball in our city...however, simply stating that they want baseball is about as "gung ho" as most people will get. They won't go to public meetings, they won't spend time on blogs, won't read Barry Witt's articles (or the Merc for that matter). Everday life for many San Jose citizens (work, family, etc.) takes precedent over "lobbying" for a team. Unless you actually live in San Jose Georob, please don't speak for us...thank you.

Baseballfan said...

I dunno, Native. It sounds like you agreed with what Rob was saying. If you're that upset that he was speaking for San Jose people maybe you should not be here

Jeff said...

Rob's points are lucent. If the average citizen of SJ is not going to be enraged at what MLB is doing, then it's pointless for a politician to make an issue out of MLB's actions either. There's no political future in doing so. There is no doubt that the city could force a cease and desist order against MLB. They could easily argue that by not issueing the order the city will suffer immidiate fiscal harm due to MLB's policies. They will get their order....of that I have no doubt. But, as is the case with Oakland, there is a clear lack of political will. It just isn't going to happen.

FreeSanJose said...

As a longtime SJ resident, I think I can safely say that given a simple choice of having a MLB team or not having one, most residents would rather have one. That's pretty much any city in America, though. Also, if the question is "should MLB bar the A's from moving to San Jose?" you'd get a more passionate response: No one likes being told what they can or can not do.

That said, I don't get any sense at all that SJ residents are willing to spend hundreds of millions of dollars on MLB. They'll go to games. Support the team. Do all that stuff. But when it comes to their tax dollars, I just don't get any sense that people are falling over themselves to lure the A's to town.

And I say this as someone who REALLY wants the A's to move here.