19 January 2006

Oakland at a crossroads

Wednesday's Trib had an article on rezoning in Oakland. While the A's and Wolff's August plan weren't mentioned, it's possible that an A's ballpark and village concept could be developed with the help of the city's recent changes.

The proposed guidelines offer a new zone classification — CIX-2 — that allows some form of residential development along Mandela Parkway in West Oakland, the central estuary and large parcels straddling San Leandro Street near the Coliseum complex and San Leandro border.
All of those areas are currently zoned for industrial and commercial uses, but the city is under severe market pressures to convert large swaths of industrially zoned lands to housing.

Wolff's August plan would have pushed this change to occur much faster in East Oakland than current plans would dictate. Wolff's new proposal would involve a smaller amount of land, but it would also call for the City/County to acquire the land first. That would force the City/County to issue bonds to purchase the land, which at this point has to be considered a non-starter because of the past Raiders' shenanigans.
If Wolff is actually serious about building in Oakland, it may be possible with these zoning changes acting as a catalyst. That's probably the only entitlement he'd be able to get, however. Infrastructure - not likely. Below-market price land - nope. We're only two months away from Opening Day, and it looks like everyone's back to square one.