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13 November 2006

A caveat, Olympics are dead, Santa Clara update

The sheer number of articles covering the A's-Cisco deal can cause anyone to miss a few not-so-minor details, including yours truly. The biggest one comes from Barry Witt's 11/9 article (emphasis added in bold italics):

Lew Wolff has said he would fund part of the expected ballpark's expected $400 million or more price tag through profits that would be created if the city agrees to convert Cisco's industrial-zoned land to housing uses. He gave no details of that plan to council members Wednesday, but in a September discussion with the Mercury News editorial board, he suggested those profits would be given to the city, with the understanding the city would become an investor in the ballpark.

As outlined by Wolff, the city would "reinvest the money in a ballpark, provided you guys build it, you guys take care of any overruns, and you guys run it with no obligation on our part for operational deficits."

"The city can continue to have the ownership, or the percentage they put into it," he said. "If they put in" $200 million "and we put in 200, it's 50-50."

In past interviews Wolff suggested that the city would end up owning the ballpark, and I wondered how that could happen on private land with private financing. Now it's starting to make sense. Once you start talking overruns and deficits you get into dangerous territory. Witt clarified the context in the quote. Wolff is speaking as a voice of the city, with "you guys" being the A's.

Elephants in Oakland interviewed Field of Schemes author Neil deMause about the A's Fremont overtures.

The effort to get the Olympics to the Bay Area in 2016 is already over before they could get started. The bid's anchor venue was supposed to be the new Candlestick Point stadium, but now that the Yorks have declared the project too expensive and have moved their focus to Santa Clara, the bid has blown up.

A source familiar with the discussions between Santa Clara and both the Quakes and the 49ers told me that the two projects are in fact not competing for the same land next to Great America. The 49ers are looking at the Great America parking lot while the Quakes may end up using another site nearby. There's plenty of open space in Santa Clara to do both as long as they aren't co-located.

7 comments:

bartleby said...

ML: Wolff's comment, taken out of context, is a bit cryptic, but when I read this I took "you guys" to refer to the A's. Surely Wolff doesn't intend for the city to run the ballpark, and he must know after the Raider debacle that asking the city to take responsibility for cost overruns will almost certainly kill the deal.

Marine Layer said...

I doubt Fremont's leaders will go for such a deal. Even the idea that the city would own the stadium after the lease ends (for what?) is hollow. Fremont residents will only go for the plan if the city's liability is minimized. This doesn't work towards that goal.

Anonymous said...

Wolff is saying Fremont taxpayers are going to foot the bill for inevitable overruns ... this is going to be another mt. davis debacle ala oakland. fremont = distaster.

Bleacher Dave said...

No, Wolff is saying that the A's will be responsible for overruns.

He IS asking Fremont to invest $200 million in the stadium and have an ownership percentage.

ML, are you agreeing with me that you consider that prospect unlikely to be a popular one with the council and the taxpayers?

Marine Layer said...

Not at all. Wolff's quotes clearly indicate that he's willing to give a large portion of the proceeds to the city so that they can be a partner in the ballpark. Yet the city won't be on the hook for overruns or maintenance. How is that a bad thing? If anything, it largely dispels the notion that this is simply a land grab deal.

There will be plenty of time to debate hidden costs. This ain't one of them.

Bleacher Dave said...

Marine Layer said...
I doubt Fremont's leaders will go for such a deal. Even the idea that the city would own the stadium after the lease ends (for what?) is hollow. Fremont residents will only go for the plan if the city's liability is minimized. This doesn't work towards that goal.

4:38 PM


Did I completely misunderstand this post?

How is it a bad thing? Because unlike in any other case, the proceeds to the city don't go into the general fund for use as the city sees fit.

It's a land grab. In essence, Wolff gets the land, a revision to the general plan, and rezoning in exchange for an investment by the city in the stadium. A stadium in which he controls the sole tenant, and which Cisco gets to use for its purposes. It would be just for the city coffers if he gives them a piece of the entire village, and not restrict their ownership piece to the stadium.

Anonymous said...

You know what, if this deal falls apart. Wolff gets the land to build his condos and shopping and make money off it because of the zoning.