10 September 2007

Planned school site changed

Common sense has prevailed according to Matthew Artz's piece on the ballpark village. You may remember that the school being planned for the village was originally going to sit on a 40-acre Fremont-owned parcel, 3/4ths of a mile away from the village (upper left corner of pic below). For the school district that was considered a non-starter and they lobbied to have the school located within the community.

The school won't be placed within the shopping center portion of the village, and it wouldn't work adjacent to the ballpark. Chances are it'll go in the area that's slated for temporary parking, where the last phases of the residential buildout are planned. Obviously some homesites would be displaced, but it probably works for the city since many on the council want to see greater variety and higher densities in some sections of the village.

Out of today's luncheon at the Fremont Marriott (sponsored by the Fremont Chamber of Commerce) came this:

Many of the questions from the audience were about traffic issues, which Lew Wolff said were "not quite as serious as everybody says."

The team anticipates that 5,000 fans - about 18 percent of a sellout crowd - would walk or take public transit to games, Keith Wolff said. The same percentage of fans walk or commute to the McAfee Coliseum in Oakland, he said, even though it is next to a BART station.

Where does that 5,000 figure come from? I'm baffled. We know that right now 15-20% take public transit, and without a BART option that is just as convenient as is currently in place, that percentage will surely drop, perhaps precipitously. A mode switch to a shuttle could drop utilization to half of current levels, and that presupposes a Warm Springs BART station. Diesel trains could pick up some of the slack, but nothing close to what BART does (Caltrain accounts for 2% - correction, 4-8% - of attendees at AT&T Park).

As for walking, estimates could be optimistic. Let's say that half of those 5,000 would walk to the ballpark. So 2,500 would either be residents of the village or anyone who works in the vicinity. So to get to that estimate, slightly less than 1 person per residence or business would walk to the ballpark. Is that realistic? Sure, the village will attract fans who want to live near the ballpark. At the same time it's still market rate housing that will attract buyers for other reasons, whether it's the lifestyle center, Fremont's historically low crime rate, or proximity to Silicon Valley. Housing demand, even in this current market slump, won't allow for buyers to purchase based something as peripheral as proximity to a ballpark.

There'll be a chance to further analyze this when a traffic study is released, but if these are the estimates, they have to be immediately labeled specious.

It's been reported that the A's have been selected to open next season in Japan. The likely opponent will be the Boston Red Sox, whose roster contains two Japanese stars. Since the Sox sell out every game at Fenway Park and would leave a good deal of money on the table by forgoing a bunch of home dates in Japan, you can guess as to who will "take one for the team."


Anonymous said...


I didn't go to the Luncheon at the Fremont Marriot, is that the only they talk about is School issues?

Are people happy about having elementary school located next to or within a planned residential neighborhood?

Does people concern about having propose taller residential buildings fronting the stadium - three to four stories - to make the neighborhood more densely populated?

How can they be more convenient from Bart to the stadium is 1.5 miles away. Does Lew Wolff talking about having People Mover or Monorail from Bart to the stadium?

Anonymous said...

"caltrain accounts for 2% of attendees at AT&T Park"???????

where is your source of information? if that's true, then this means that at a game with 40,000 in attendance only 800 take the train???? have you actually been to a game at AT&T?? there are a WHOLE lot more than 800 fans taking the train.

your idle speculation is the reason alot of what you say here is very suspect at best in alot of folks minds.

Marine Layer said...

Mea culpa. I had transposed from memory the Sharks' Caltrain ridership figures to the Giants. The Giants actually get 1500-3000 riders depending on game and opponent, or 4-8% of an AT&T Park crowd.

I can forward the e-mail from Caltrain if you like.

anthony dominguez said...

The heck with school location and transit estimates. The most important question has not been addressed (or answered for that matter)...WHEN IN THE HECK IS THIS THING GOING TO BREAK GROUND!?

FC said...

Can anyone help me out here? Just exactly what is a development application, and why do you think it's taking so long for it to be filed? Is it something which would be difficult to amend once it is filed?

I realize that this is a very complex project, and is in no way a slam dunk, but these delays are starting to become somewhat frustrating. I maybe wrong but didn't Wolff say back in the fall of 2006 that an application would be filed in early 2007?

Anonymous said...

gee ... call you on one of the "facts" that you spew out and sure enough you're WRONG ... just calls into question all of the "facts" that you spew forth here ... come to think of it, alot of wolff's "facts" should be interpreted with similar doubt.

Marine Layer said...

Hey, I admit when I'm wrong and most of the time I verify things twice if not more before I post them. This time I mixed up two figures. You're entitled to your opinion. Then again you are anonymous. Takes a big man to criticize without accountability...

anon-a-mouse said...

Hey anon 9:09 - take a hike. You add nothing here. Meanwhile, ML investigates, reads, analyzes and presents more information on this project than anyone anywhere. He's been to all the proposed sites. He's researched background and availability on them. He has experience related to development. He knows what he's talking about.

If you are so afraid of the reality he uncovers that you have to make a federal case out of one simple, minor error...well, let's just say it says a lot more about your (lack of) credibility than it does about Marine Layer's.

Oh, and by the way, an increase in heavy rail ridership to games only helps the case for PC, so your lame inference that ML somehow did this to support his opinion about the site is completely illogical.

Marine Layer said...

The irony is that I was being critical of the Wolffs' estimates, saying they were unrealistic. Talk about not seeing the forest for the trees.

Anonymous said...

Interesting development - it was finalized yesterday that the A's have retained the political consulting firm of Terris Barnes Walters (TBW - their motto is "Political Media with Punch)to do public relations promotion in the Fremont community. The person assigned to the project is none other than former mayor Gus Morrison's daughter, Gloria Ritchie. . .

BleacherDave said...

Politics as usual. How is the O29? development proceeding in Oakland? Any effect from the housing downturn?

Anonymous said...

In every human transaction or interaction , " politics " is involved at some or every level, whether you are toddler in preschool or a developer. Everything in life is a constant give and take . Nothing is given to anyone.

Anonymous said...

Where is the development application that you said was going to be submitted at this meeting?

Marine Layer said...

This wasn't a city-A's meeting, it was a Chamber of Commerce event. I had received word that the A's should have submitted the application prior to the event, but that appears not to be the case. *shrug*

A week or two more, I suppose...

BleacherDave said...

Hasn't it been a week or two more until submission since the announcement a year ago?

It's starting to resemble the timetable in Iraq.

Jeffrey said...

On the development application tip- My uncle works for a home builder and has worked for many including KB Homes, Morrison Homes and smaller regional players in Seattle and California's Central Valley. I asked him about this type of development (a huge master planned community) and he told me that one way to ensure a development application gets approved is to iron out all the details with the people who have to approve it before it is submitted.

I am far from an expert on this, and my only view of the development process comes from 2 people (my brother and my uncle) so it is just a guess, but this is probably what is going on right now.

Lew Wolff is working out the details prior to submitting the application to ensure a quicker approval process.

Additionally, I find it funny that people are saying architecturally this is implausible, or actually impossible. I am referencing another thread here so forgive me. I guess someone should tell 360 and Gensler that this is impossible. They might want to remove their good names form the project :)

James said...

Why is everyone so blazing concerned about the development application? It gets filed when it get's filed. I'm sure it is a very complicated filing and involves imput from city staff, the developers, the architects, the construction lender, and probably umteen jillion other people. It's amazing to me that these anons who are opposed to this keep bringing this up, as if the fact that it hasn't been filed by now is part of some sort of sinister plot to blow up Alameda County. Some people simply need to get a life.

anthony dominguez said...

and correct me if I'm wrong R.M., but in order for the environmental impact report to occur, which has to happen before any groundbreaking occurs, the development application needs to be filed. Because the EIR will probably take up to two years to complete, the quicker this application gets filed, the quicker this thing breaks ground...and the quicker I can put to rest my eternal optimist San Jose dreams! RIP SJ Grand Prix. (Hey, wasn't it just two months ago that South Bay race promoters "were excited" about coming back to downtown San Jose next year? Talk about a lot of money and outreach going down the drain)

Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

New A's Foul Smell At Proposed A's Stadium Site.

Anonymous said...

This is starting to remind me of when Wolff was "working" with Oakland.

This ballpark in Fremont idea may never come to fruition.

Let's face it, right now, the A's are not a very marketable entity. A ballpark in Fremont does nothing to excite the fan base or the casual fan. A ballpark in Fremont, leaves the A's in no man's land and without any sort of identity. Are Giant fans in the South Bay going to flock to a ballpark in the middle of a suburban wetland? Are alienated Oakland fans going to be enamored with a ballpark in suburban Fremont?

It's sad that Wolff decided to turn the Oakland A's into the Texas Rangers. I'm talking about a team without any sort of identity to a city or community. That's what makes franchises like the Cubs, Red Sox, and Yankees so interesting. They, along with other newcomers like the Giants, Padres, and Orioles are all identifiable with their city and community. It adds to the aura and charm of these franchises. Wolff could have done the same thing in Oakland. Instead he dismissed the community as irrelevant and gave Oakland fans the back of his hand.

I say, enjoy your bland little bandbox located in the middle of nowhere and without any sort of identity, Mr. Wolff. You are going to have a heck of a time getting many people in the Bay Area excited about your little venture in that location.

anon-a-mouse said...

I hear you James. But it's the next big step in the process, so I can understand people's interest in its status. That doesn't excuse spinning it to support some folk's last gasp hopes that this deal will crumble. But it does explain why it's being asked about by others.

James said...

Tony and anon...

I don't believe that's true, but RM is probably better-versed in that arena than I, so I will defer to him.

My understanding is that the EIR would typically take about a year, but that in this case, a good bit of the preliminary work was already done in connection with the original PacCommons project, when Cisco was planning to build it's headquarters there. That should save some time.

The question to me is how much can be used from the first EIR and how much time can be shaved off of that one-year processing time.

Other than the parts that can be re-used, I don't know if the work has begun, but I would certainly think that if it was in Wolff's control, the ball would already be rolling on that.

BleacherDave said...

That's exactly what I think, Jeffrey. Smooth the way as much as possible before it goes public. This ain't Wolf's first rodeo.

Hopefully, this drags on long enough for Ninth to Oak to open up again.

James said...

Anon 9:14 said: Let's face it, right now, the A's are not a very marketable entity. A ballpark in Fremont does nothing to excite the fan base or the casual fan. A ballpark in Fremont, leaves the A's in no man's land and without any sort of identity.

James asks: What are you basing these statements on? Please back up your assertion with facts, because a lot of the folks I know are excited about the future of the A's.

Anon 9:14 asks: Are Giant fans in the South Bay going to flock to a ballpark in the middle of a suburban wetland? Are alienated Oakland fans going to be enamored with a ballpark in suburban Fremont?

James responds: I would say that a great many, if not a majority, of current South Bay/Silicon Valley fans who regularly attend Giants games may shift their allegiance when attending A's games involves a 10 or 15 minute drive, and when the name of their community is incorporated into the name of the franchise. (Anyone who thinks the site is in a wetland simply hasn't been to the site!) Many current Oakland fans may or may not attend games in Fremont, certainly the alientated ones probably won't. That's an individual call

Anon 9:14 spewed: I say, enjoy your bland little bandbox located in the middle of nowhere and without any sort of identity, Mr. Wolff. You are going to have a heck of a time getting many people in the Bay Area excited about your little venture in that location.

James responds: Whatever!! It won't be bland and it won't be in the middle of nowhere. As has been discussed ad nauseum (for you uneducated OAFCers, that means a lot) the park will be the most state-of-the-art facility in major league baseball, sponsored by one of the largest and most well-respected networking companies in the world. But for those of you who believe the world is coming to an end because the A's are moving 20 miles down the road, nothing will convince you. So you won't come to the games in Fremont. You won't be missed, because the new location and the new identity (that of the Silicon Valley) will bring on a new breed of fans. You can sit and bitch and gripe all you want, but the A's are moving out of Oakland. It can be 20 miles away or 500.

Oh, and give Lil my regards!!!

BleacherDave said...

"You can sit and bitch and gripe all you want, but the A's are moving out of Oakland. It can be 20 miles away or 500."

THis is where we disagree. There are no better alternatives outside of the Bay Area. It may be 20, but it won't be 500. At the end of the day, I'm hoping for 5.

James said...


I'm more than happy to debate this with you once you come up with a viable location within five miles of the coliseum (or even ten miles, which would put you right about at Southland Mall) that meets the following criteria:

1. The site must have enough land for an extensive ballpark village so that taxpayers don't have to foot a $500M stadium bill.

2. The site doesn't require emminent domain proceedings, which will tie things up for at least 7 to 10 years.

3. The location isn't a toxic clean-up site.

4. The site is one that is embraced and identifiable with South Bay/Silicon Valley fans, because that's the economic powerhouse of the Bay Area and that's the area underserved by professional sports (while the Bay Bridge barbell is saturated with pro sports)

5. The location is far enough from the Giants that it can compete effectively.



BleacherDave said...


We've been through this before.

1,2&3: Sit tight. When one door closes, another opens. Who knows what opportunities may arise over the next 5 - 50 years?

4: South Bay folks are well-trained in traveling north for their sports. For reference see: Warriors, Golden State.

5: Who cares about the Giants? The A's competition isn't the Giants, but their not-so-new park, the trendiness that goes along with the latest new thing, and Barry Bonds. All these factors are on the wane.

Anonymous said...


Anyone arrogant enough italicize Latin and condescend to "uneducated OAFCers" (of which I am neither) really ought to try to correctly spell ad nauseam.


James said...


1, 2 & 3) Why should Wolff wait five to ten years to possibly find a site (and given Oakland's urban makeup, it probably won't happen), then another five to seven on top of that to get the thing built, when he pretty much has a sure thing 20 miles away? Why would he want to when something may never come up in Oakland? And for that matter, why should he have such utter dedication to Oakland?... I know... history, tradition! But history and tradition don't pay the bills and they don't pay the exorbinant salaries that MLB teams have to pay to be competitive in getting top players.

4) Why should South Bay folks have to travel 40 miles north for a baseball game when San Jose is a city approaching one million people and is precluded from having it's own team within the borders of its own county? To carry on the "history" and "tradition" of the A's in Oakland?

5) How can you say the A's don't compete with the Giants? The teams are 15 miles apart and therefore they compete not only for customers but for corporate sponsorships. By moving the team to Fremont, the A's can gain the advantage of being closer to the largest city in the Bay Area and the largest commercial core in the Bay Area. You are correct that AT&T Park plays a major role in the Giant's success, but that brings us back to a vicious circle... how do we get a ballpark built in Oakland, when the city's own leaders don't want to play ball with the A's?


James said...

Anon 9:16,

If the best you can do while sitting behind your anonymous curtain is to attack my spelling, rather than address the points I've raised in my submission, then you've just confirmed to me that you cannot formulate a substantive argument and response to the questions I've asked.

BleacherDave said...


1,2&3: It'll take 5 years for the Pac Commons ballpark site to fall through.

4: SJ folks don't have to travel 40 miles north for a baseball game. The SJ Giants are right there in town. If they want to see MLB, the teams are in Oak & SF.

5: Commercial core? In Fremont? The South Bay is a suburb in search of a core.

The South Bay is built out - Coyote Valley is all that's left. The Bay Area's future growth is to the north and east.

Oakland's leaders shouldn't "play ball" with Wolff. It's up to Wolff to come up with a plan that makes economic sense for the City and County, just as he has done his entire career. The guy didn't get rich by waiting for someone else to come up with the deal.

James said...


1, 2 & 3) Wrong. If Fremont falls through, and I personally don't think it will, that will happen within a year and Wolff will begin looking outside of California. But in Fremont, the ball is rolling. In Oakland, even by your admission, it will take five to ten years for "a door to open." Add to that another five years to get the stadium built. So you're looking at some time between 2017 to 2022 for the damn thing to open, and the monstrosity that is the Coliseum will be between 50 and 55 years old.

4) I'll tell you what. Once the A's move to Silicon Valley, we can send the SJ Giants to Oakland. Would that make you happy? It's a pretty safe bet that in five yesrs, the MLB teams will be in San Francisco and Fremont.

5) Go back and read my post. I think I made it pretty clear that I was referring to the Silicon Valley commercial core.

The south bay is far from being completely built out. Go visit it some time.

And yes, Oakland should have been playing ball with the A's if the city wanted to keep the team. That's what Fremont is doing. That's what San Jose would have done but for the territorial rights. Municipalities do it all the time, and Oakland bent over for the Raiders. I agree that it's up to Wolff to find a location and make the numbers work. He says he tried to do that, and I guess the extent to which he tried is open for debate. But as you say, it's up to him to come up with a plan that makes economic sense for the city and the county. He's done that. I just so happens that the city is Fremont.

Questions still on the table that remain unanswered:

1. Why should Wolff wait five to ten years to possibly find a site then another five to seven on top of that to get the thing built, when he pretty much has a sure thing 20 miles away?

2. Why would Wolff want to wait?

3. Why should he be dedicated only to Oakland?

4) How can you say the A's don't compete for customers and corporate sponsorships with the Giants when the teams are 15 miles apart?

5) How do we get a ballpark built in Oakland, when the city's own leaders don't want to play ball with the A's? You've touched on this, so I'll rephrase the question... How do we get a ballpark built in Oakland when the city leaders won't play ball, but the City of Fremont is working very effectively with Wolff?


Anonymous said...

James, will you still support the move to Fremont if the A's keep Oakland in their name? Yes or NO, Please.

James said...

Anon 5:35,

Yes, I would support that, although I believe from a purely economic standpoint it would be wiser for Wolff to incorporate Silicon Valley into the name.

I think it will be easier to get corporate sponsorships and box sales with a Silicon Valley identity.


Anonymous said...

I support the A's move to Fremont. Why should Lew Wolff wait 10 years to build a stadium in San Jose?
They can't stay Oakland that long and they can't move to San Jose because of the Giants Territory.

We have to choose is Oakland A's Move to Fremont or Oakland A's move out of the States?

Anonymous said...

the least they can do to make up the distance from BART is to have dedicated bus lanes for the shuttles to/from the ballpark village. obviously people movers are way too expensive to build as nice as one would be.

it would suck big time if the people who take the shuttle from BART to the game have to get stuck in all the traffic of all the motorists clogging the roads around the park.