15 June 2006

OUSD site finds a developer

Oakland Unified School District is on its way back to being on its own feet, with labor issues put to bed and money that will come in from the sale of OUSD's 8.25-acre mini-campus near Lake Merritt. According to new reports, a partnership of East Coast firms Terramark and Urban America have put together the winning bid on the property. They intend to build a mixed-use development containing 1,000 housing units and commercial space. The district needs to pay off an emergency $100 million loan the state lent a few years ago, so it's likely much of the sale price will go towards that debt. The price of the land is expected to be between $55 million and $70 million.

OUSD had originally intended to share the space with the eventual developer, but it now appears that will not be the case. At the bottom of the district's memo (first link above) is a mention of moving into or building new facilities somewhere, including downtown Oakland. Unclear is the fate of the five (mostly small) schools residing on the campus, though the memo states that La Escuelita Elementary will be kept in the area.

Long-time readers may remember that over a year ago, I declared the OUSD site unsuitable for a ballpark due to its size and unusual "J" shape. So it's not as if there were some major opportunity to build a stadium on the OUSD site. The link is more tangential - it's less one prime site on which a decent-sized "village" concept could be built, even if it weren't co-located with a ballpark And if you're looking to get something like that done in Oakland, you'll need to assemble some decent, easy-to-acquire land to make it happen.

One other thing - thanks to those who have been responding with the latest news on the Oakland mayoral race. It looks like the final tally won't be out until the end of the week, and so far everything points to a runoff in November. That could reduce a key advantage Oakland would've had even though Dellums couldn't take office until January. Now he'll have to throw considerable resources into a fall campaign instead of lining up a transition staff well in advance. However, we should still remember that as important as this political jostling is, it doesn't supplant the two most important factors: Is there a good site? and Who pays for it? Everything else, including transportation concerns, pales next to those questions.


peanut gallery said...

On the other hand, the OUSD move means a little more Oakland capital might be available to offset the entitlements Lou has discussed. The city might not feel as pressured to make every last dime on another location, meaning they might feel more comfortable giving him development rights.

Marine Layer said...

Not likely. The district's finances and the city's are two completely separate situations. The city has had little control over what OUSD did with the land, though they will have some control over the eventual development scope (high-rises).

Georob said...

You know, it just occured to me that even if the uptown 20th and Telegraph site that everyone loves was still available, where do you put in a ballpark village?

Same with all the other Oakland sites that had been mentioned over the years, including Rhamesis' Auto Row site("The Ballpark At Biffs", as I prefer to call it) Even San Jose's Diridion South isn't swimming in vacant land.

I can understand Lew Wolff's preference of a "ballpark village" in financing a stadium, but is he still open to the concept of entitlements or other methods if Pacific Commons falls through?

If Wollf's position is now "ballpark village or nothing", then he's pretty much limiting his choices and what may have looked like good sites four or five years ago have been worthless from the start.

Georob said...

BTW, you haven't updated the attendance watch for awhile. Are we far enough into the season to draw some conclusions about closing the third deck?

Obviously our numbers are down because we haven't been able to sell 40k plus tickets for the Giants and Yankees. Another slow performance in April and May hasn't helped, either.

What I'f like to know is if we're seeing a drop-off due to a loss of walk-ups who'd buy third deck seats and move down. Based on comments I've seen, I'm sure a lot of them are still either PO'd or just not bothering to buy tickets in advance. I just wonder how many of them there REALLY are?

Bleacher Dave said...

Dellums wins! No runoff. IDLF conceded over the weekend. Dellums presser today.

The Ballpark at Biffs - I'm loving it.

Anonymous said...

Both Dodgers games this weekend were sold out. I was planning to go but there were no tix, so I watched on TV.

In general A's attendance doesn't pick up until mid-june, depending on when the school year ends.

As for a "ballpark village," previous he said he was willing to do a village and a ballpark, separate. Wolff just wants land to develop, the ballpark does not need to be right next to it.

LivingON said...

From ESPN MLB Attendance Stats Page:

We are down by around 4K (avg) compared to stats for whole of last year.

swirlinabc said...

According to the Sports Network

attendance to date after 36 home dates is 815,689 with an average of 22,658 in 2006. Compared to last year, attendance was 876,965 with an average of 24,360.

All in all, not too shabby to be only 1,702 average off from last year. Plus, we still have several big games yet to come.

Anonymous said...

anonymous 1:42 pm said:

"As for a "ballpark village," previous he said he was willing to do a village and a ballpark, separate. Wolff just wants land to develop, the ballpark does not need to be right next to it."

If the thats true, I wonder if Wolf would consider building the stadium at the Warm Springs site for the possible BART connection and build the rest of the village or something similar at the Pacific Commons site?