01 October 2007

Reality check

Today's Chronicle article by Carolyn Jones doesn't cover any new ground. Nothing should be expected out of either the A's or Fremont until the next session, which is a couple of weeks away. However, the article is good regardless of whether or not there is any news simply because it helps set expectations and exposes much of the positioning behind the scenes.

(Full disclosure: Ms. Jones contacted me for the article. I did not respond in time to contribute.)

Since the very beginning of formal discussions between the two parties, Fremont has had a very consistent stance on the project: cautious optimism. They're open to the concept and have even expressed a great deal of interest in helping to shape it so that it works in the long run. Nothing's changed except their growing frustration in the Wolffs' repeated delays in providing the development application. I alluded to this frustration in the recap for the last study session.

The process is a slow one and isn't very compatible with the 24-hour news cycle. Readers and commenters (including yours truly, admittedly) have a tendency to jump on every new piece of information to dissect and try to determine which way the wind is blowing. So for those of you looking for a quick approval for an upcoming groundbreaking, you're not going to get it. If you're a critic hoping for a quick knockout blow, you won't see that either. Even when the traffic/transportation study and the EIR come out, the issues that are raised in those documents won't immediately bring a verdict on the project either. Instead, concessions will be made and a decision will come after much study on whether or not to certify the EIR. Then and only then can they parties proceed to groundbreaking.

One thing's for certain: this ballpark business is a lot more CSPAN2 at 4:00 a.m. than primetime reality TV.


Jeffrey said...

I read this article yesterday at the prompting of some friends at work. They were telling me that there is "big trouble" in Fremont.

I read it and thought... there is nothing new here. I agree it is a useful piece as far as illustrating where the project is right now. It does seem the biggest hurdle is the Wolff development team right now.

Personally, I hope they get that application out soon if they really want Fremont to happen. The delay is starting to make people who have paid zero attention to date start to pay attention. That isn't good for the project if the perception is really that there is "major problems" causing a delay in filing.

Anonymous said...

You're right that there is "nothing new" in this report. But you're wrong if you think that this doesn't mean there is in fact "big trouble" with the project.

The report highlights that the traffic situation is still unresolved as this plan has no solution for the total LACK of CONVENIENT public transportation to get people in and out of the park and city. This project would add to the already overcrowded traffic situation by putting many more cars on the freeway. At the current site, at least folks can take BART in and out of the stadium without getting in their cars.

This does in fact spell "BIG TROUBLE." Don't trust wolff!!!

anthony dominguez said...

In your opinion, why has Wolff lagged on getting the development application filed? He has all the parcels in place. Even when this does get filed, based on what I've been reading, it doesn't make the ballpark a done deal either. IMO, groundbreaking in 2010.

Marine Layer said...

Keep spreading the FUD, anon. I'll wait until the traffic study comes out. Until then, please read my previous posts on the subject.

A traffic snapshot
Fremont's traffic situation

If you want to debate those, fine. If not, frankly you're not contributing anything to the discussion.

Jeffrey said...

What is FUD?

Marine Layer said...

I think it's largely because they're making changes on the fly to accommodate requests made by the city and to respond to market conditions. Is it understandable? Yes. Doesn't make it any less frustrating.

Despite this, I don't see groundbreaking being pushed back. There's still plenty of cushion.

Anonymous said...

You've become quite the advocate over the last year or so, ML. That does not detract from your credibility, in my eyes. It's a project you know well, and you've formed your opinion accordingly. However, one does wonder if you've gotten any paid work on the project, from team, City, or other project stakeholders.


Marine Layer said...

I have not been paid or otherwise compensated for any work done on this blog or even the dormant Chamber of Commerce Task Force site. I haven't been offered a position or other considerations down the line. I wouldn't accept such promises either. That's a line I will not cross.

FUD stands for "fear, uncertainty, doubt."

Anonymous said...

I'll keep up the "FUD" ... you keep up the "DCD" that wolff pays you do do.

(Delusion, Chearleading, Distraction)

Marine Layer said...

If you're not willing to debate the points I've made in those posts it reflects a lot more on you than me. Keep firing away if you like, I'll keep swatting 'em back.

Jeffrey said...

Maybe this anonymous poster should go as Elmer from here forward.


Is there anyway to show IP addresses of posters? Or disable anonymous posting?

Anonymous said...

I'm a different Anon and I'd support the ip address thing. But, keep anon comments.

SexFlavoredPez said...

I'm a little confused. Either something is happening or nothing is happening. The fact that things aren't happening fast enough isn't news worthy, is it? I'd prefer to read about what has or hasn't happened, not that things aren't happening fast enough. Opinion is not, in fact, news. Are there any competant journalists out there?

Jonclaude4 said...

Add another vote from here for blocking anon posters.

We come to this site ML because you do a great service (in my opinion) for all A's fans.

Lowest common denominator (I believe) takes away from your objective.

Keep up the great work!

Anonymous said...

I vote for having a moderator that is not in wolff's pants.

Marine Layer said...

^ Some anons keep building their credibility...

I wish there was a way to show IP's but there isn't according to the available options.

I may at some point go to the members-only commenting option but I'd prefer not to if at all possible.

anthony dominguez said...

Is the current housing market and crisis in subprime mortgages having any affect on Cisco Field/Village planning? I ask this because across the street from my in-laws subdivision in Gilroy, they are planning a huge residential development called Glen Loma Ranch. They were supposed to break ground in the Spring but not one ounce of dirt has been turned over. Also, the Shapell sales rep. in Gilroy is one lonely lady these days. Being that Cisco Field will be financed by the sales of residential units at Pac Commons, one might think the delays are due to the overall housing situation gripping our country. Your thougts?

Jeffrey said...

I vote for Elmer to start his own blog on this topic. That way I don't have to read bullcrap.

Marine Layer said...

Real estate sales are down everywhere in the region. No doubt they're factoring it in. No one should assume that the market will continue to be depressed in 2011, but you never know. Fremont is a little better insulated from the problem than other locales.

Jeffrey said...

Back to serious stuff:

I was having a conversation with a coworker today and he said to me that when HOK did a study for potential A's ball park sites a while back that they had stack ranked them. His recollection of the top 3 rankings in order was:
1. Uptown Oakland, now becoming condos.
2. The Coliseums Parking Lot, now staying a parking lot.
3. Fremont, Warm Springs but not Pacific Commons.

I vaguely remember this from reading it on OAFC's website. Does anyone remember this? Did the report talk about financing mechanisms at all? What was the stack rankings?

Marine Layer said...

You can still find the presentation there if you look around. There was no mention of financing. The ballpark cost was estimated to be $340 million, a reasonable estimate for 2001.

The one questionable item in the comparison was site acquisition costs. Estimates for those costs were provided by the respective municipalities. They looked so low, they were probably reflective of assessed values instead of market values.

Jeffrey said...

Were there stack rankings?

Anonymous said...

ML, I don't have a google blogger account and I don't want to keep one solely for comjenting here. I love the work you've done so far. I check it everyday. I'm from Oak, but I am willing to sacrafice that if our team gets a new ballpark
ps I'm the anon who said I was not the bad one.

Anonymous said...

check out the following link ... talks about revitalization of oakland ... too bad wolff is obsessed in moving the team from an urban center with existing infrastructure to a swamp wasteland with nothing but a starbucks and autorow ...

Marine Layer said...

I find it interesting that some are touting this article. It only proves the point that's been made repeatedly that Oakland is built out. The map of 10K projects covers a lot of downtown/uptown so it's difficult to find a single contiguous piece of land to build a ballpark, let alone something to help finance it. And the one site that I identified, Broadway Auto Row/27th, was shot down by Nancy Nadel.

The article is refreshingly glowing and is good reading for all Bay Area residents who may have negative opinions about Oakland. At the same time, the large amount of housing being built in the near future is subject to the same real estate market conditions being felt everywhere.

anon-a-mouse said...

I'd be a little surprised if they were delaying anything because of the sub-prime mortgage meltdown and its effects. Most analysts project that to affect real estate for no more than 24 months at the longest. Surely, none of the PC stock would come online until after 2009, right?

On the HOK study, I don't believe PC was even on the radar at that point. Also, there were other sites included beyond those mentioned above. I remember Pleasanton being considered, and I think JLS.

Anonymous said...

You know ML, you note often that Broadway Auto Row was "shot down by Nancy Nadel." Though academic now, this point is a non sequitur.

Nadel is a political joke. She can never get 5 Council votes for anything substantial, she has no regular Council allies, no political block behind her. Her best chance would have been to make common cause with Dellums, be his gal on the Council...but instead she chose to run against Dellums, and petulantly whined about him and the media for much of her Mayoral "campaign," which ended in humiliating defeat.

Nancy Nadel is quite literally the least relevant public official in Oakland. Doesn't matter that it's her District: If the Mayor or the rest of the Council wanted a ballpark on Auto Row, Nadel would get either trampled or (more likely) decide this was the time to work on banning donuts or ending City ties with Tadzhikistan instead.

As I say, probably academic, but you credit Nadel way, way too much.


Marine Layer said...

Nadel may or may not be a joke, but it is her district and someone in the public sector has to be the champion. In my brief exchange with her, she deferred to Oakland Redevelopment head Dan Vanderpriem. It was based on his information that she said there was "stuff in the pipeline" at that site. If even the RDA head isn't cool with the concept that says a lot.

But you're right, it is academic at this point.

Anonymous said...

Actually Broadway Auto Row is very unsettled. It may pique your general development/land use interest to read of the new hoped-for retail plan. But everything's still very much in play.

(And Vanderpriem hit the road before Dellums came in.)

Marine Layer said...

That sounds more realistic than the vertical mall concept that was being pitched last year. It will take some work to understand what the proper retail mix is but it's doable.

I've heard about the Target idea for a while. Target's one of the few big-box stores that really likes urban environments thanks to their demographics. However I suspect NIMBY-ism would run rampant and kill the idea.

If this is a direction Oakland is moving towards, one way to start is to relocate Barnes & Noble uptown. It'll take some kind of enticement but B&N would probably prefer it thanks to the concerted effort to bring additional retail to the area.

Anonymous said...

For all of the hot air about parking and traffic congestion surrounding the proposed location in Fremont, lets step back for a second and think about this. The A's only have 81 home dates a season. Of those dates over roughly a 26 week span, how many are weekend games? Without pulling out a schedule let's say between 30 and 40. So we are left with 40-50 evenings excluding getaway day games that produce congestion in the evenings. Hey, for the cost of a state of the art stadium, I'll put up with that, especially if the inconvenience lasts into October or early November!

anthony dominguez said...

Anon 9:42,
Concur with you wholeheartedly regarding traffic and congestion. One just has to look south to Dodger Stadium and Angels Stadium to see that good ole California traffic doesn't keep a stadium empty (just as long as the team on the field is putting out a good product). Would a transit connection be nice to Pac Commons? You bet, but void of one I'll put up with the traffic every now and then also. We live in auto-centric California...end of story.

logic said...

>We live in auto-centric California...end of story.

Let's say you stepped on your scale one morning, and your scale said: you are FAT!

Would you:

a) choose to eat better food, exercise and live a healthier lifestyle?

b) drive down to the mini-mart, get two cheeseburgers and the nachos?

Can't get enough of the good stuff?

Wolfe it down, Lewsers.

BleacherDave said...


C-Span 2 at 4:00 AM? I thought I was the only person watching Washington Journal at that hour!

And thanks for the full disclosure. Ain't it great?

But, of course, it wouldn't be me if I didn't have a quibble. You say that only after the EIR is certified or not, can the project proceed to groundbreaking. If it ain't certified, there will be no broken ground. And therein lies the rub.

Anonymous said...

"logic said...
>We live in auto-centric California...end of story.

Let's say you stepped on your scale one morning, and your scale said: you are FAT!

Would you:

a) choose to eat better food, exercise and live a healthier lifestyle?

b) drive down to the mini-mart, get two cheeseburgers and the nachos?

Can't get enough of the good stuff?

Wolfe it down, Lewsers.

10/8/07 12:57 AM"

OMG, "LOGIC"....that is HILARIOUS...especially in that there is NO LOGIC in this - there is nothing analogous to baseball here...

We want a bright and shiny new stadium. Transportation WILL come to it sooner or later.

Go Back to OAFC you Shril trogladyte...

Logic said...

Hi Brett -

I'm going to call you Brett, since you got me feeling like Jules.

Allow me to retort.

Shame you fell into my trap. A) and B) are quotes from two commericals which often played concurrently during A's radio broadcasts. Mixed message? Sure. Nothing analogous to baseball? Nope. Part of their broadcast; analog, at that. Open your ears, Brett.


That's right. A's can't even get their radio ads right. Of course there's another level to this metaphor. But if I had to explain it to you, you'd start saying "What?" and I'd have to shoot you in the shoulder. Damn.

"We want a bright and shiny new stadium."

Hear you loud and clear. That's a tasty burger. Mind if I have a sip of your drink?

But speaking for myself and some others, we'd rather be watching playoff baseball right now.

"Transportation WILL come to it sooner or later."

Okay, Brett - prove it - facts - back it up - I'll take the Pepsi Challenge - show me your stuff.

But before you answer, I'm gonna ask you: does Marcellus Wallace look like a bitch?

"Go Back to OAFC"

Brett, when you and your buddies start sweating, why you always blurt out that line? I don't give a crap about OAFC. My wallet says BAD MOTHERFUCKER. I think for myself.

If you don't know the difference between OAFC and BAD MOTHERFUCKER, well, you'd better watch your blogging behind.

But now that I think of it, you must be OAFC, in disguise. Because you're making it so easy for me to pick you apart. That "shiny stadium" thing - I see it now - we'll keep it on the quiet tip.


You know Brett, you got me there. Had to google it.

Now I'm guessing you're a fat little kid who spends too much time playing video games. The "fat" reference bugged you, right? Sorry about that, Brett, didn't mean it personally. But you should probably drag your ass out of the cellar someday.

Get out and play some ball, man. Oops, might be tricky. All your bases are mine. You've been pwned.

You ever read the Bible, Brett?

Esekiel 25:17. Blam blam.

Vincent: "I think we oughta leave now."

Jules: "That's probably a good idea."


FC said...

Hey ML,

Is there another work session scheduled for tomorrow night? KTVU ran a short piece this morning on the A's plan to build a school within village. They said that the plans will be presented to the City of Fremont tomorrow night. According to KTVU, the A's are considering a school with 2 or 3 story buildings.

Marine Layer said...

There is, fc. I got a notice last night and I'll post a quick note about it today. It's a presentation to FUSD though it's being held at Council Chambers. Not sure what role if any the City has in the discussion.

gojohn10 said...

I have to say that, even as a strong supporter of the Fremont ballpark plan, I've never quite understood arguments such as Anon 9:42 and Anthony regarding the transportation issue. I personally believe it is irresponsible to eschew the problem simply because we live in a state with few public transportation options. Not only that, but while you two might be willing to put up with the traffic to see a game, what about the average fan? I recently moved to LA and have become a casual Dodger fan (don’t worry, still a huge A’s fan – wearing my hat right now). However, I almost never go to Dodger games. Why? The traffic sucks.

For me, the single biggest question regarding Cisco field is whether the park will be served by a BART extension to Warm Springs. Unfortunately, what I’ve read so far about this issue has been discouraging.

Anonymous said...

Well....Hello there Jules...LOL...

That was quite some cyber beatdown you layed down on me...NOT.

You seem to be quite the keyboard commando...anyway debating someone with your skills is going to be goes:

Regarding your "points" A and B, it has no bearing if they come from an A's commercial that you take waaaayyy out of context, or from your own feeble imagination...they have NOTHING to do with a bright, shiny new stadium...

As to your question to MY quote:"Transportation WILL come to it sooner or later."

"Okay, Brett - prove it - facts - back it up - I'll take the Pepsi Challenge - show me your stuff."

I don't NEED to show you MY stuff...Go through THIS website and the reasoned analysis that ML has done here...Again, I dont need to show you, because its here on this blog...try a little bit of searching through the archives, "Jules" (snark)...

"Brett, when you and your buddies start sweating, why you always blurt out that line?"

Well, I dont know about any of us "sweating" but if you are currently NOT a part of OAFC, (which, btw, I sincerely doubt, as your post matches very closely a poster over there who hurls out cyber threats towards anyone who doesnt tow the Oakland line...)
I am merely "blurting it out" so that you might find like minded company with the shril vindictive people over there who attack anyone who disagrees with their Oakland Only platform...

"I don't give a crap about OAFC"

Umm, I think you do...clearly I touched a nerve there...but really if you dont, you should visit'd have a much happier time there, unless you just enjoy trolling about casting cyberthreats you can never back up..

"My wallet says BAD MOTHERFUCKER. I think for myself."

How old are you, fourteen? So you are saying that if one's wallet says BAD MOTHERF*CKER that it is a clear indication that he or she thinks for themself?

Personally I think it's a cry for help (and a new wallet)...

"If you don't know the difference between OAFC and BAD MOTHERFUCKER, well, you'd better watch your blogging behind"

Or What???????????? You're gonna call me names????????????????? LOL...Maybe "Lewser", OH NO!!!

Dont worry Spanky, I mean Jules, I think that Shril will let you be both a "BAD MOTHERFU*CKER AND, a valued member of the OAFC...

"Now I'm guessing you're a fat little kid who spends too much time playing video games."

Nope, 44 year old gainfully employed father of four...

"The "fat" reference bugged you, right?"

Uhh, No...five foot eight 154 pounds...always been a bit too skinny, Jules, besides, namecalling on the blogosphere doesnt bug me a bit...

Do I read the Bible, well, yes but this is a NEWBALLPARK blog...

Again, glad we wont be seein ya at our new shiny ballpark...have fun with Shril and the crew...