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.