13 February 2008

Anything new? Not really

Between commercials on the Ronn Owens Show (archive), the banter between host and guest and the Q&A bits with callers felt like a simple PR exercise, something of a Hey! We're still alive and working! session. There were nearly as many calls from fans wanting answers about the offseason personnel moves as there were about the ballpark.

As expected, Owens didn't challenge Wolff much, preferring to follow up when callers gave their questions. One caller in particular asked Wolff why the A's would leave Oakland for Fremont if they were clearly getting a better stadium deal in Oakland. Wolff replied that the team would in fact be getting a better deal in Fremont because, as stated here previously, the revenue from the ballpark village would help pay for the ballpark. I don't understand why the detractors continue to have difficulty comprehending this.

A few San Jose-based callers chimed in. One was so bold as to suggest that Wolff pull an Al Davis and simply move the team to San Jose, territorial rights and MLB be damned. Of course, we've seen what happened when Steve Schott tried to do that exact thing - it didn't end in success. The issue of MLB's antitrust exemption came up, and when Owens challenged Wolff to explain what it was, Wolff demurred.

Other "highlights":
  • Wolff said that the development team and city officials are in talks everyday regarding the traffic management plan, which is part of the EIR. When asked by a caller about a BART solution, he surprisingly didn't mention yesterday's good news regarding the Warm Springs extension. Instead he gave the same pat answer as he's done previously.
  • Owens asked Wolff if the residential portion would be a gated community. He said it would not. The initial conceptual drawings seem to confirm this.
  • Wolff showed Owens a new concept noisemaker that looks like a baseball and when opened, sounds (and looks) like a trumpeting elephant. Owens commented that it wasn't annoying enough. I sense a jump-the-shark moment for noisemakers...
  • The name issue is still up in the air, and Wolff again suggested that financing may help decide the name. While I certainly don't think it will mean a corporate-named team (AFAIK this is not allowed under the ML Constitution) there's still a great possibility of "Silicon Valley" or "San Jose" due to Valley powers throwing their support behind the project.
  • Speaking of San Jose, Wolff said the city is encouraging the Quakes to move forward with the FMC site. The Quakes are back this season, with SCU's Buck Shaw Stadium serving as their main temporary home. The Quakes will also play thrice at McAfee Coliseum during the 2008 season.
In hindsight, maybe they should have rescheduled so that it wouldn't run opposite the Clemens hearings, which were fantastic theater if nothing else.


Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

anthony dominguez

Someone buy that bold San Jose caller a beer! And for the record, it wasn't me Rob. R.M., another article today over at the Chronicle regarding the Giants proposal for a mixed-use ballpark village. While I'm not a fan of the Giants for obvious reasons, having an interest in urban development, I think their proposal for shops, entertainment, and housing is pretty cool (nice rendering over at SFgate). Question R.M., will the Giants, assuming their proposal wins out over other developers, make money off this venture? And if so, how? I'm interested in knowing the workings behind such a venture. Who knows, maybe this is something we'll see at Diridon/Arena in the future, minus a ballpark of course (ooooh the pain!).

Jeffrey said...

It was not all that enlightening, but I wasn't bored.

I liked hearing Lew Wolff talk about his feelings about the A's. It is pretty clear he is a fan.

Anonymous said...

Fremont breaks down shopper trends

Taking a different approach to the annual Retail Development Opportunities presentation, Fremont's Economic Development Department described for some 50 business owners last week what types of people are shopping in Fremont.

The presentation, entitled "Who's Shopping in Fremont Today?", is the sixth annual retail presentation to be held in the council chambers of Fremont City Hall.

Economic Development Director Daren Fields typically gives the presentation. But this year three different city staffers gave the overview, based largely on results of the 2006 American Community Survey, performed by the U.S. Census Bureau.

Angela Tsui, Fremont's economic development coordinator, presented demographics of the city's population. Of the city's 211,000 residents, she said 105,000 are women, and 101,000 are between the ages of 25 and 54.

Tsui said the median age for Fremont residents is older than 36 years. Additionally, she said there are 68,000 households in the city, with an average size of 3.1 residents per home. Average household income is $122,000.

Of those 68,000 homes, she said 32,000 of them have at least one child younger than 18 years old.

Breaking down ethnicity in the city, Tsui said 48 percent of Fremont residents are Asian, while 32 percent are white. Also, 14 percent are Hispanic, and 4 percent are African American.

As for education, 28 percent of residents have a high school diploma or less, while 27 percent has a bachelor's degree. Another 21 percent has a graduate or professional degree, 17 percent has had some college, while 7 percent of residents has an associate's degree, according to Tsui.

When it comes to employment, 82 percent of residents work in the private sector, 11 percent in the public sector, and 7 percent are unemployed.

During the day, Tsui said there are approximately 198,000 people in the city, including stay-at-home parents, residents who work from home, and residents from other cities who work in Fremont.

She added that equals about $2.7 billion in estimated retail potential each year.

Lori Taylor, the city's economic development manager, introduced the concept of psychographics a means that describes consumers on the basis of psychological characteristics.

According to Taylor, there are five major psychographic groups in Fremont.

Young digerati: This group makes up 28 percent of Fremont's population. Their age range is 25 to 44, and they are tech-savvy singles and couples, described as a blend of "digital" and "literati."

They shop at places like Banana Republic and Neiman Marcus, read the New York Times and drive BMWs.

Money and brains: This group makes up 22 percent of the population.

They are 45 to 64 years old, and are married couples with few children. They shop at places like Bloomingdale's and Costco; they drive Acuras, Infinitis or Lexuses; and listen to National Public Radio.

Bohemian mix: This group makes up 10 percent of the population.

Their age is 55 years of age and younger. They go to nightclubs and microbrew establishments for fun. They eat out a lot, and shop at places like Macy's.

Movers and shakers: This group makes up 8 percent of the population. Their age is 35 to 54 years of age with no children.

They drive luxury cars, read Fortune magazine, and eat at places like California Pizza Kitchen.

Blue blood estates: This group makes up 7 percent of the population. They drive Mercedes-Benzes, shop at Neiman Marcus, and are considered to lead the nation's second wealthiest lifestyle.

Taylor said the remaining 25 percent of the psychographic population is a mix of other smaller groups. Given these statistics, she added the majority of Fremont shoppers buy high quality, stylish and fashionable goods.

However, Taylor said residents, as well as the economic development department, would like to see more stores that offer men's apparel or sporting goods. More "quick dining" and take out establishments would be very successful here as well, she said.

Since 2004, City of Fremont has added 1.2 million square feet of retail, mostly along Auto Mall Parkway, according to retail development manager Leigh Boyd.

Currently, the successful shopping areas in the city include the Fremont Hub Shopping Center on Mowry Avenue, Pacific Commons on Auto Mall Parkway and the Shops at Washington West, along Paseo Padre Parkway.

Boyd said these shopping centers have brought in many retail stores that are in high demand in the city.

"(Pacific Commons) has done a wonderful job in shoring up apparel stores," she said. "It's a criteria that's been underserved in Fremont. It's established a very solid foundation for Fremont."

Boyd said the city plans to add more business to Pacific Commons, including a 14,000-square-foot Asian Pearl restaurant as well as the city's second Applebee's, a Dickey's barbecue, and the third Prolific Oven franchise.

Boyd said Fremont Hub also has done a good job in bringing more apparel stores to the city, including Ross and Marshall's Department Store.

Conversely, the Shops at Washington West brought more eateries to the city.

"The center really had a focus on food, not just for residents, but for city employees and daytime workers in the downtown area," she said.

The city is planning a total of 1.2 million square feet of additional retail in the future, including the proposed Oakland Athletics' baseball village project, according to Boyd.

Other projects in the works include the 4,000-square-foot Bayside Marketplace near Interstate 880 and Durham Road; a project at 5339 Mowry Avenue, the site of the former Jericho's Steakhouse; and Plaza Los Olivos, which broke ground last summer.

Boyd said the city is still interested in adding establishment stores like Nordstrom, Apple, Any Mountain and Cheesecake Factory.

"Not a day goes by where we don't get a call from someone asking ÔWhere's Whole Foods?'" she said. "We are trying; the message to us is that Fremont needs a specialty grocery store."

"These are all part of the retail we're ready for. We have the foundation, we have the profile, and we have the resources and shoppers," Boyd added.

Anonymous said...

Nordstrom will anchor the Ballpark Village part of Pacific Commons and Whole Foods will anchor a new " local residents " retail part off to the side .Take that to the bank. We tried to get Whole Foods to the sight back in 2003 but they wanted surrounding high density housing first ( which they now will have ) , like what you see surrounding their store in San Mateo.

BTW, Kaiser Permanente , which controls over $30 billion in real estate bought the pediatric group at the one corner LW doesn't own , catty corner from the stadium site , last month. They were in competition with LW for the site .They bought it like they buy all their real estate - ahead of an expected surrounding population boom .

James said...

SuperTarget, which features a large, upscale supermarket, will anchor the Bayside Marketplace at I-880 and Dixon Landing Road. Therefore, I think it's more likely that Whole Foods will go into the new shopping center that will be built on Mission Blvd at the Ohlone campus. Just my opinion.

anon-a-mouse said...

Target...upscale? Hard to imagine those two things going together. I like that Ohlone location for a Whole Foods though. That's the money part of Fremont.

Zonis said...

Something new; ML, what do you think about the new Florida, er, I mean, Miami Marlins Stadium aggreement?

Anonymous said...

We love Fremont. Do you? How about Oakland A's moving to Newark with
Newpark Mall? NO!!!!!!!!!!!! Moving to Fremont will be great. Stop hating Fremont. Soon Fremont will be turning Suburban into Urban and Newark is still Suburban.

Anonymous said...

just keep the name the same...

'the oakland athletics'

Anonymous said...

anon 1234,
Fremont/WS is only 4 miles from San Jose and over 26 miles from Oakland. San Jose has almost 1 million residents vs. Oakland's 400,000+. All of the corporate support for the new ballpark, including Cisco Systems, is located in San Jose and South Bay. San Jose A's!! Sorry, no more "Oakland Athletics."

Anonymous said...

No, not Oakland. San Jose A's of Fremont, Silicon Valley A's of Fremont, Bay Area A's of Fremont, South Bay A's of Fremont, or East Bay A's of Fremont.

Anonymous said...

Pacific Commons A's of Fremont or Warm Springs A's of Fremont

gojohn10 said...

Anonymous said...

anthony dominguez

If the City of SJ is encouraging the Quakes (Lew Wolff, John Fisher, SVSE) to move forward with the FMC site, then it's a safe assumption that the IStar rezoning in Edenvale will go through. So coupled with the FMC site, that's over 140 acres for a MLS stadium...WOW!!! Over the past year I've toned down my soccer stance and no longer view the venture as a bad thing (to bad soccer advocates couldn't do the same for the now-defunct baseball SJ effort). But still, 140+ acres for MLS/Earthquakes still blows my mind. It's still my belief that all that acreage, and the money it generates, could (or will) go to more than just a SSS...stay tuned.

Jesse said...

In the interview with Ron Owens, Wolff answered a question about their media and media coverage situation and Wolff said something like, we have some surprises for you for this season. What do you think he meant?