09 April 2006

This shouldn't surprise, but it will

Silicon Valley/San Jose Business Journal just posted their interview with Wolff that appeared in the April 7 print edition. Lots of non-answers to the questions that were posed. At some point these interviews will start to look like the lecture scenes in "Real Genius".

So my eyes weren't deceiving me when San Jose mayoral candidate Michael Mulcahy
appeared next to Lew Wolff in the first row on Tuesday. The Merc revealed that Mulcahy's cousins, John and Jason DiNapoli, are in fact part of the A's ownership group.

(pause to allow this to sink in)

Each adult member of the immediate Wolff family (that's five if you're counting) has given $500 to the Mulcahy campaign. You may remember my December post in which I mentioned Wolff selling a portion of downtown San Jose's Park Center Plaza to a group headed by two other DiNapolis. Naturally, the parking garage that's part of that block next to Hwy 87 has a Mulcahy banner hanging from the roof.

What's more interesting is the portion of the block that Wolff kept. In the southwest corner, across the street from the Adobe headquarters, is a rather nondescript, low-slung building with a sizable amount of surface parking. According to the Santa Clara County Registrar, this parcel is owned by a firm fronted by Wolff. Until recently the building held San Jose's first charter school, Downtown College Prep. In December, DCP moved into a more campus-like facility along the Alameda, west of downtown. The building found a new tenant quickly - another Latino-focused charter school called Escuela Popular. Unless Wolff is interested in allowing nonprofits to keep using an underutilized property in perpetuity, it's likely that the building will eventually be replaced. One of the biggest concerns San Jose residents have regarding the ballpark concept is the lack of parking, at the very least in relation to the requirements a new ballpark would entail. The 2-acre parcel could be extremely valuable at some point in the future. Wolff could build a 1,000-space parking garage (with Redevelopment's financial help, of course) there to handle the increased demand should a ballpark be built there. Or he could do a swap with Adobe, who's gunning for the SJWC property across the river/87. Or if he's bidding on the SJWC parcel and gets it, the school parcel could be a sort of gateway to the ballpark village. Housing may not be doable because of the SJC flight path overhead, but there probably aren't too many limitations on what could be done in terms of commercial use.

Going back to the DiNapoli-Mulcahy links, it's pretty obvious now that any talk of moving the A's out of state would have to come after all Bay Area opportunities are exhausted. With the combination of San Francisco interests (Fisher) and South Bay interests (Wolff-DiNapoli), it would appear that San Jose will have something to say about the A's future, whether by bringing the A's to San Jose or by pledging its support for Fremont.