31 July 2007

Newswrap: Trading Deadline edition

If you've come looking for up-to-the-minute transaction news, you've come to the wrong place. In the world of stadia, there are a few items of note.
  • Detroit's city council is moving forward with plans to demolish Tiger Stadium, though it is unclear if any developer is willing and able to take on the task of redeveloping the northwest corner of Michigan and Trumbull. Legendary Tigers broadcaster Ernie Harwell has stepped in with plans to maintain and preserve important sections of the ballpark (with a third party). The concept includes a scaled down, 10,000-seat stadium and mixed use surrounding it. The field would be preserved for youth baseball use. Enough financial contributions have poured in to maintain the ballpark in its current state for the next year.
  • Washington Metro is considering a reduced "ballpark fare" to entice fans going to the new DC ballpark (opening in 2008) to utilize mass transit. According to the article, the fan mix is projected to consist of 49% that arrive via transit, 40% via car, and 8.5% via bicycle or on foot. The 49% figure is far higher than Oakland's 15-20% and even more than New York's 13-30%. The difference here is that the DC ballpark will have extremely limited parking at the outset whereas Oakland and New York already have 7-10,000 spaces in their respective vicinities.
  • The Twins are expected to break ground on their $390 million (and rising) downtown stadium on Thursday. There's still the outstanding matter of how much the land acquisition will cost, somewhere between $13.65 million (the county's pledge) and $65.38 million (the previous landowners' estimate). Opening Day is scheduled for April 2010.
I also wanted to address something in Barry Witt's article from last week:

While there's much to be determined about what would go into the village, a set of deed restrictions filed last month by Wolff, Cisco Systems and ProLogis - the real estate company that owns Pacific Commons and plans to sell the ballpark village site to Wolff - reveal uses that will be excluded.

Those uses include Goodwill stores, laundromats, card clubs, veterinary hospitals, funeral homes, porn shops, gas stations, massage and tattoo parlors, churches and beauty schools.

The explanation can be boiled down to two words: property values. Many of those types of establishments inhabit less monied neighborhoods. It's all in the interest of keeping potential housing prices high and profitable. Gas stations and churches don't quite fit the profile, and for those I sense the issue is space. There is an existing Shell station less than a mile away and two more just over the freeway along Auto Mall, so it's not as if the area needs additional petrol purveyors. As for churches, there's already a growing trend of new churches converting previously industrial land for their use, so perhaps they are the real trendsetters here.


Jeff P. said...


Can church's be excluded legally? I would thing religious organizations would oppose this type of zoning on constitutional grounds. Hopefully they are wise enough to drop this prohibition if it becomes an issue.

Marine Layer said...

The key is that it's not a zoning issue. It's a set of deed restrictions drawn up by the seller and the buyer. Big difference.

Zonis said...


Thats it, I can't support this stadium plan anymore.

Anonymous said...

I agree with Lew Wolff. The shouldn't have Goodwill stores, laundromats, card clubs, veterinary hospitals, funeral homes, porn shops, gas stations,tattoo parlors, churches and beauty schools.

I thick they have a massage should allow in the zoning issue.

Is sport Center or a Fitness Center allows in the zoning issue?

Is a Sport Bar allows in the zoning issue?

Marine Layer said...

I'm sure there'll be a gym because it suits the lifestyle center concept. I doubt it'll be cheap.

A sports bar is almost a given. An A's-themed sports bar would make the most sense.

Personally, I'd like to see Jack's, a brewpub in Fremont, represented in some way.

Jeff P said...

The thing that alarms me about banning religious centers is that this is the sort of thing that will antagonize community groups. Groups that are organized. Groups that can be counted on to vote. It just doesn't seem like a wise fight to pick if you can avoid it.

Marine Layer said...

Okay Jeff, let's go along with your argument. If they were to allow churches in, how would it work? How many churches would be allowed? How much land could they occupy? And how could one prevent the appearance of favoritism? Furthermore, the land would have to be sold to a church at a certain price. The developer could conceivably set the price too high for many religious organizations to come in. Then what? Would the developer be forced to sell at a lower price?

Deed restrictions aren't new. You see them frequently in master planned communities' CC&R's. This one extends that concept to non-residential ventures as well.

Jeff P said...


It's not so much an argument. I can understand that their are legitimate business reasons related to what they are trying to accomplish for taking this stand. But why state them in this fashion? Baseball is family oriented, much more so than the other major sports. Lew is building a community that one assumes is going to be marketed as family friendly. Articles of faith can be extremely touchy subjects with deep connections in individual families.

No one is going to take protests by the porn lobby for equal access to seriously. Not to many folks are going to be upset that Shell doesn't get to add yet another gas station to their block.

But making a statement that lumps Taoists, Christians, Jews, and Muslims in with other undesirable elements not wanted in the community could be viewed as inflammatory. I can't think of a faster way to piss a lot of nice civic minded people off right out of the gate.

All I'm saying is that maybe it would be wise not to mention the fact that religious centers aren't going to be accomodated in the new development. Maybe this is a detail that should have been left buried in the fine print.

On the other hand, what do I know? I happen to live in socially conservative area where this sort of statement would be heavily frowned upon by the community at large. Maybe it's different in Fremont. For that matter, for all I know there may be the same type of deed restrictions here too...but the developers are smart enough not to advertise that fact.

Marine Layer said...

You make excellent points Jeff, but I think you're overreacting a tad. Then again, that may be the lapsed Catholic in me talking, maybe not.

I agree that it could look bad from a PR standpoint, but it's a stretch say that the policy shuns religious organizations. I'll give you an example. I have an old friend who was a practicing Buddhist monk. He escaped Vietnam to avoid religious persecution and found his way here, eventually making a nice living here. A decade ago, he bought a second house just to turn it into a temporary home and temple for his former monk brothers. They don't have any signs or indicators that the house is a practicing temple, but it most certainly is. If he were to do the same at a home in the ballpark village, I doubt he'd be kicked out because of deed restrictions or CC&R's because the group's not harming anyone or drawing attention to themselves.

Churches, on the other hand, tend to be larger edifices that require a decent amount of parking. And I should've been more clear - the deed restrictions are likely referring to lessees. Churches don't usually lease property if they can instead buy some for cheap. Last time I checked I didn't see too many churches in shopping centers.