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12 December 2006

Some Fremont details emerge

The Argus's Chris De Benedetti has a story summarizing a letter dated November 21, from Lew Wolff to Fremont City Manager Fred Diaz. It's only two pages, so obviously it's not a proposal, yet there are little bits here and there worthy of further analysis. The letter is PDF (Page 1/Page 2). My comments are in italics.

Project Goals (quoted in its entirety):
It is our desire to create a new home for the Athletics that significantly enhances the quality of life in the surrounding local community as well as the fan experience at the ballpark. Additionally, we seek to have a significant portion of the project funded through the development of the remaining vacant areas surrounding the ballpark. It is our intent to have the majority of this support funded by revenues and resources generated directly from the Ballpark Village development as opposed to receiving substantial direct subsidies outside of the project area (i.e. taxes) typically associated with new ballpark development projects.
Nothing new here.

Ballpark Village will contain:
  • 32,000-35,000 seat ballpark
  • a lifestyle center retail project within a mixed-used development at a level of quality equal to that of the award winning Santana Row project in San Jose
  • a residential community with a majority of multi-family units in a pedestrian-friendly village in proximity to the ballpark

This is the first official acknowledgment of the Village's resemblance to Santana Row. The idea that the remaining (majority) housing will be separated from the Ballpark Village is good. If well conceived, it'll provide the convenience that comes with living near an entertainment center, while providing a quiet and safe environment for raising children. That's a pretty tall order.


Ballpark:

  • Up to $500 million
  • In return for successfully completing the Ballpark Village entitlement approach... along with other real estate related financing tools... the Athletics would agree to enter into a long term arrangement (40 years including extensions) for the team to remain in Fremont for the distant future.
  • The A's would be responsible for building and running the ballpark, as well as cost overruns.
  • No City or County support required beyond the initial project support
  • If desired by all parties, the City or its designated public agency designee (think of a JPA like the Coliseum authority) could potentially own the land and the completed ballpark under our proposal.

Remember that if the city owns the land and/or part of the stadium, the A's won't have to pay property taxes on the city-owned piece.
40-Acre City Parcel (quoted in its entirety):

"In order to create the pedestrian-oriented Ballpark Village community and avoid having a typical "sea" of surface parking around the proposed ballpark, we would propose to enter into a lease or other arrangement for a portion of the 40-acre City parcel to the west of the Pacific Commons development. The term of this arrangement for the parcel would be equivalent to that of the Athletics' commitment at the ballpark. This parcel and other areas would be included in an integrated transit, traffic, and parking program for the new planned Ballpark Village community."
If you're wondering where this parcel is, take a look at the map below:

The map is based off the original Cisco development plans. Notice how office buildings are concentrated along a street and parking is on the outside towards the wetlands. The parking lots act as a buffer, and as murf mentioned in an earlier comment, a large buffer may be required. It could become a sticking point. The map also shows the planned Capitol Corridor/ACE station to the west of (below) the city parcel.

To make this work, the A's will have to designate some of their project land as parkland. That's going to happen as part of the residential development requirement, so it's potentially a fair trade. The land is not a great place for a park anyway. Why? The landfill is only a few hundred feet away, across the tracks (I'll have pictures tomorrow).

40 acres equals 5,000 parking spaces. Couple that with the parking I've targeted close to 880 and you've got 9,000-10,000 spaces. What will that integrated transit, traffic, and parking program contain?

4 comments:

Zonis said...

With the distance that the parking lot is from the stadium, could a peoplemover/rail system be put in that moved people from the Parking Lot to the Stadium?

If done and connected right, the rail could also form a sort of loop and connect BART as well, as well as possibly other parts of the village.

Jeff P said...

For all the knocks against Fremont being a "remote suburb", Wolfe appears to be building his own mini urban core for the team. A novel concept, if you can't locate in an urban core, build your own. If every obstacle is viewed as an opportunity, this could very well turn out to be one of the best of the new parks.

Anonymous said...

With all that traffic, nobody will ever want to go there.

Bleacher Dave said...

According to an article in the Merc, VTA will need to vote this week to authorize $185 million o to keep BART to SJ, and Warm Springs, alive. I think staff reccommended the expenditure be made, and the Board member(s) quoted sounded in favor. A community leader was quoted against it, and with the recent turndown of Measure A, Warm Springs may be a rail dream. If it gets on the fast track, BART may roll into SJ in 2016.

As quoted in the earlier post, ACE/CC is not going to get out front of this thing:

Preliminary discussions have begun for a possible Capitol Corridor/ACE train station west of Pacific Commons, where Auto Mall Parkway dead-ends by the Union Pacific Railroad tracks.

"Ridership on those trains (is) growing," said Blalock, who also sits on the San Joaquin Regional Rail Commission that operates service for ACE, the

8-year-old train system based in Stockton.

But Blalock added that to construct a new station at the site, it will take some heavy lifting from the A's or Fremont officials or both. "The city is awfully strapped right now, but they might come up with a grant or some construction money to build facilities there," he said. "We can work together with the A's and Fremont there. At the same time, we're not going to build a station out in the tules if there's no there there yet."

The most intriguing part of this concept is the high-density multi-family housing. Will upscale purchasers want to raise their kids in suburban condos? I suggest that families that choose to live outside of the urban core, go in search of a backyard and a white picket fence. Expensive condo couples seem to seek the culture and density of larger urban areas.

Does Wolff have his finger on the beginning of a new trend? While I don't think he will attract families to his high-end condos, maybe this project, if built, will find a market with those seeking faux urban living.