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31 July 2008

Wolff: I still think it's going to happen

The Merc's Lisa Fernandez got some clarity from Lew Wolff today.

Wolff is troubled about the length of time it's taking to satisfy major property owners near the proposed 32,000-seat Cisco Field and to complete an environmental review.

"I still think it's going to happen," Wolff, a major South Bay developer, said today from his office in Los Angeles. "Otherwise I wouldn't be doing this."

Still on the EIR. Okay...

Fremont Mayor Bob Wasserman said Wolff asked him at Tuesday's A's game to talk to nearby property owners ProLogis and Pacific Commons to appease them about various concerns. Wasserman wasn't clear on the details. But he thought the obstacles concerned ownership of some land and parking. Pacific Commons operates a large retail shopping center next to the proposed A's ballpark site.

Three of the larger Pacific Commons retailers have expressed concerns with the A's parking plan, team co-owner Keith Wolff said. Although the retailers can't block the project, the team wants to make sure they're satisfied. They want clarification and mitigation, Wolff said. One possible solution, he added, is a pedestrian bridge over Auto Mall Parkway that would link the ballpark to the largest parking lot.

The first big retailers are an easy guess: Costco and Lowe's. The third is probably Kohl's. They are the closest big box stores to the village site and have vast parking lots that could be easily poached by stadium goers (*cough* Coliseum BART *cough*) if an effective parking plan were not implemented.

ProLogis, the owners of the Pacific Commons site (and sellers of the village site) have been trying to broker a deal that protects the stores' parking during games and other events. Apparently, these talks haven't been going that well. A big box store's business model is heavily dependent on free, abundant, adjacent parking. That allows shoppers to stay in the stores for lengthy periods without worrying about inconveniences such as validation or time limits. IKEA, for instance, has taken this to the extreme by purchasing their own sites and in many cases, building parking garages.

If you're a big box store, your stance is simple: Don't make me have to change anything. That probably rules out validation. Time limits probably couldn't be imposed because they have to be enforced, which costs money. Either solution may be a deterrent to shoppers, and that won't wash with the retailers. You're also not likely to run into a situation in which ballpark goers combine a game with a trip to Costco on gamedays. It's simply incompatible.

On the other hand, there are plenty of smaller businesses, such as area restaurants, that are positively interested in their proximity to the ballpark. The big box retailers, however, have the big sway. They are major sales tax providers to the city, and as such deserve to be accommodated.

What would be the best way to allay the retailers' fears? The A's may have to consider not charging for parking at all. The way the parking plan is coming together, the non-preferred lots are further away from the ballpark than the big box stores. If the A's force fans to pay to walk a greater distance, it will invite parking poachers to Pacific Commons. There still may be poachers because of those lots' proximity, but at least there won't be a monetary reason to do it. This would hurt the A's because they wouldn't be able to rake in some $12-16 million in annual parking revenues. That loss could be offset somewhat by a potentially larger number of visitors to the area. Of course, that policy could be a double-edged sword. If the place becomes too popular (Valley Fair/Santana Row), patrons could - that's right - poach Pacific Commons parking if the village parking isn't plentiful enough. That's not a likely scenario since ballpark parking at other times could serve as overflow, but you never know. Even implementing completely free parking requires patrons to be on the honor system to prevent poaching. Free parking would also not go over so well with environmentalists, as they might see it as tacit approval of driving over transit.

Moreover, the fact is that some of the ballpark parking is somewhat remote and will create pedestrian traffic. That's an intended effect, as the A's want people milling around the area before and after the game. However, there is one major intersection in the area that, if not planned properly, will cause ingress/egress delays due to massive amounts of pedestrian traffic going through there. I wrote about this last year:
Second, since Joe Fan won't get to park that close to the park, he may be forced to use the lot across Auto Mall from Pacific Commons (the uppermost "P" above). It would behoove the A's to build a pedestrian overpass over Auto Mall Parkway. A full lot there would equate to over 5,000 fans walking from the lot. Not putting in an overpass would be borderline irresponsible, as Auto Mall Parkway is 9 lanes wide in this area and only one side has a usable crosswalk. The best thing to do would be to build the overpass and stick some flexible electronic signage on it. The signage can direct traffic on event days. It can also show advertising on other days/hours.
Is this deal complex? You bet it is.

48 comments:

Anonymous said...

Now this makes a lot of sense. There is indeed an issue in the EIR that he is trying to head-off. This tells me that the powers that be really want this deal to happen. Wolff is "crying flux" because it will get those powers involved to settle this parking dispute with a few retailers. Good for him. The guy really does know how to make a deal work.

Anonymous said...

No wonder there are traffic and parking problems ... what did he expect when he chose a site inaccessible by public transit??? irresponsible.

Marine Layer said...

anon clearly has a reading comprehension problem. Next time try something original.

Jeffrey said...

Wow. Reading the Tri Valley Herald this morning (aren't they and the Merc owned by the same company) you wouldn't get the idea that Lew Wolff said anything like this. Can Inman (who I find to be completely full of shit on regular basis) has already made it seem the plan was called off by Lew.

Could it be that Rick Hurd took an offhand comment, a true one as in flux means in a state of continuous change, and wrote about it. In a sort of offhand way, as I recall it was buried in game notes but I could be wrong, and now it has grown a life of it's own?

See you all at the ball yard in 2012.

Tony D. said...

Rhamesis,
I guess it's safe to say that those of us who drive up to Cisco Field from SJ will have a very, very long walk from parking to ballpark; am I correct? I'm still rather fit for my age, so I can handle the distance. I don't recall, but how far is the proposed ACE/Capitol Corridor station from the ballpark? That might prove to be the best option from SJ.

Anonymous said...

Anon 8:06 not only has a reading comprehension problem, but he/she/it also has never heard of busses, which are most definitely "public transportation."

AsToFremont said...

I can assure you that all is well with the proposed Cisco Field/Ballpark Village. Lew is a passionate man and would like to break ground on this project tomorrow if he could. I have been working very closely on this project as the Chairman of the A's To Fremont Support group. The Fremont Chamber of Commerce has just given their formal endorsement to the project! We would like things to move faster, but there is a process that we must honor and follow and the Environmental Impact Report takes anywhere from 12 to 18 months to complete. That is why there hasn't been a lot to report on the project or gives the impression of a delay. We are anticipating to have the report completed by the end of this year or early next year. Once completed, it will have to be put on the Fremont City Council's agenda to review and publiccomment. For more information and to show your support, sign up for the A's To Fremont Support group at www.AsToFremont.com The A’s To Fremont Support Group is the official support group recognized by the Owners and Executives of the Oakland Athletics Baseball Company. As a member of the grassroots A’s support group, you are at the forefront of an important effort to preserve Major League Baseball in the East Bay, and the catalyst for creating a new, one of a kind community asset for Fremont – Cisco Field, Home of the A’s. Integrated into a visionary community village, the stadium and mixed use development will provide a significant source of pride for Fremont and the region.

As a member of the A’s To Fremont support group, members will receive information on upcoming events, special meetings and private social functions planned for the near future. It is our hope that this up to date information will help members to become more informed on the progress of the Cisco Field Ballpark Village proposal.

Anonymous said...

Buses??!!??

What a freakin' joke!!!

yeah, buses, that's the ticket!!

a ballpark with buses as the only means of public transit, that's the ticket!!!

how does that marine world kook aid taste folks???

what a joke!!!

Anonymous said...

Wolff is doing his job in the montrealization of Oakland baseball. Like a true 'wolf', he is posturing for the kill.

Anonymous said...

oh, thanks mr. a's to fremont ... if you say so, it must be right.

oh, and how do you loonies propose to solve the little thing called transportation mess?

how do you loonies propose to fix the real estate debacle that is causing this mess to be at a standstill?

never mind, as long as you say it'll all be ok, that's enough for me.

:-)

Marine Layer said...

It saddens me that the OAFC types have to resort to the same old tired, hackneyed arguments over and over again. Worse, they don't even have any originality, they just cut-n-paste. Come on guys, introduce something new to the discussion please!

Marine Layer said...

There's a certain elitism in discounting certain forms of transit in comparison to others. That's shameful and unnecessary.

Anonymous said...

shameful = planning a ballpark in an area with severe traffic congestion already without access to convenient and reasonable public transit options

shameful indeed.

Anonymous said...

Why is it so hard to build a light rail line between the Warm Springs station and the village? They could even make a line follow the capital corridor tracks and intersect with the rest of the light rail network at the Santa Clara Golf and Tennis Center.

Marine Layer said...

Severe? The PM 880 commute is not even among the Top Ten in the Bay Area. Try again.

As for light rail, the problem is that someone has to purchase the land for it and run it. Who would do that, the A's? Fremont? AC Transit? Also, NUMMI would not approve because it'd tear up the streets surrounding the plant, which they use for trucking.

Anonymous said...

wow ... no wonder the credibility of this site is so low ... when one cannot admit that traffic in that area of 880 is quite high and when one cannot admit that a new ballpark in the south bay should be in close proximity to BART (AS WOLFF HIMSELF PROCLAIMED WAS A NECESSITY FOR ANY LOCATION TO BE CONSIDERED VIABLE WHEN HE STARTED LOOKING FOR A SITE!!!!!!!) you really have to wonder.

UNBELIEVABLE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Marine Layer said...

I present facts. Do you dispute them? If so, where are yours?

And try not to yell. It doesn't look very rational.

Anonymous said...

And the inability to read continues. Dufus says "inaccessible to public transit." Person with a brain says: busses = public transportation thereby proving that dufus is indeed a dufus. Dufus comes back saying that they are too good to ride a bus and thinks this is some kind of logical argument about the general population not being able to access this site with public transportation. And the OAFC continues to embarrass itself. Congratulations!

Anonymous said...

In the reality-based community, this is an exceptional site for information on the A's stadium effort. It might not be considered credible in borderline illiterate communities like the OAFC, but who really cares what they think about anything?

Anonymous said...

I'm curious ... why in the hell do people here think that anyone who talks about the traffic problems and lack of convenient public transit options are members of the OAFC???

In my case, let me assure you nothing could be further from the truth! In fact it's truly amusing to think this ... I can't speak for the other posters, but it simply amuses me that folks (the 2 or 3 regular posters here, not alot of traffic obviously) think all of their opponents are OAFCers!!

amusing!

Marine Layer said...

Not everyone. There are plenty of reasonable arguments regarding the traffic and transit issues. But as I said before, too much of it is intellectually lazy cut-n-paste, verbatim from the generally dormant OAFC board. I didn't catch on until I checked it out one day. Someone's doing it, either an OAFC member or a surrogate. Either way, it's pathetic.

And just so you know, I've stricken about 20 raving, insult-filled comments from this thread. I'm all for real discourse on this. The track record for many critics is that they have no interest in it. I'd like to be proven wrong.

Danny said...

trolls are out in force today!

I'll wait till the EIR is published before freaking out.

CA1650 said...

Here is a suggestion:

Make bus-only lanes (for use during gamedays only, otherwise open to all) that will transport people from Warm Springs BART to the stadium. The only way people will be willing to take the bus from BART is if it is free and quick. The bus-only lanes will give the buses a traffic-free way to make the trip to the stadium.

Anonymous said...

Thats a great idea 1650. I wonder if the A's could work a deal out with Capitol Corridor or ACE and either provide addentional trains (unlikely) or maybe they could try to work out a discounted for A's fans. I am in Oakland so I think I will be taking the train for day and weekend games to the ballpark when they move to Cisco.

reztips said...

If you wish to assess the level of literacy attendant to OAFC'ers who come to this site to proffer their long refuted rants on why it would be so terrible for the A's to leave "lovely" Oakland for a new stadium built a mere 20 miles down the pike (they'd prefer the A's leave the region than relocate south of Oakland), check out the following post representative of commentary on OAFC:

"Congrats to Wolff and Beane--For making a fun promising year and turning it into a shitty one, we had to trade harden one of the best pitchers in the game then throw in gauden who has been magnificent also.

"We couldnt sign a bat or go after offense have to play barton who is either a bust or not ready , i know we prob wouldnt have made the playoffs but lets just rip the fans heart by constantly trading good players for minor leage stuff.

"we should have been buyers not sellers sorry but if haden is able to keep injury free he will win 3-4 cy youngs and we will be the Boston redsox of 1996 letting Clemens go ect....


"were now gettin our teeth kicked in bye everyone incl. KC

"i think we should have signed Bonds early and been agressive we could be right in the middle of this thing with the 7 wons he would have given us by now "

Anonymous said...

Interesting screeds today. I'm left pondering a question. If the OAFC crowd is truly apoplectic about the lack of public transit and perceived traffic snarls, why aren't they tickled pink that the A's are leaving Oakland and thereby freeing up their freeways?

If I lived in Oakland and felt that way, I'd be giving them a kick in the ass to get out. Another question, why is their tone so stridently bitter?

This site receives props from many other forums devoted to the A's. Always good information to be found here. I don't post often, but I visit at least three or four times a week. I know of a lot of other folks who do the same. Keep up the good work Marinelayer, it's nice to have a voice of reason who is actually quite non partisan about the relocation effort.

If the OAFC crowd is responsible for the anonymous diatribes, you guys would do well to stop posting here. You only hurt your cause when you let your fingers fly.

Anonymous said...

Dimwit 12:08-

You really don't get it. Any South Bay park must be close to BART? Why? Clearly, for any Fremont park, South Bay and/or Fremont residents will be more than half the customer base. For these people (as well as many in Dublin and other parts of the East Bay) BART is entirely irrelevant. You could build the ball park right on top of the Fremont BART station and it would benefit the target customer base not the slightest bit.

Bear in mind, BART is only a minor benefit to the current customer base. Only 15% ride it to games right now. Again, this figure would drop precipitously even if it were possible to build a Fremont ball park right next to BART.

The Fremont ballpark is about the South Bay. BART is therefore irrelevant. If you are mourning the death of the A's as an East Bay team, that is rational and understandable. But all this garbage about BART and traffic is pure tripe.

Anonymous said...

The free parking issues, "parking poaching".... and the site next to the existing Coliseum was "nixed" because "a power substation could not be moved"?

Moving a power substation seems a lot more straightforward than what is going on with the Fremont quagmire.

Jeffrey said...

Wow. Now people are calling each other names. It must be getting desperate.

Quick question, does anyone know how far of a walk it is from the BART station to the coliseum? I am interested in understanding the difference between the proposed Cap Corridor/ACE station.

Additionally, the whole "in flux" Rick Hurd firestorm has had me thinking. What other realistic options are there for a stadium in the East Bay that take into account all off the myriad complaints? Traffic? Funding? etc?

Anonymous said...

Jeffrey,

You're right, name calling is uncalled for. As poster anon 12:09, I apologize for the "dimwit" remark. I just have little patience for folks who post in all caps and with 30 exclamation points, particularly when I think their comments are disingenuous.

LeAndre said...

jeffrey,(and everyone else)

I'll be perfectly honest with you, the Oakland Army Base is without a doubt the best place in the bay area to put the A's...The reason I'm so against Fremont is because I know the Army Base is where the A's should be...I'm not part of any OAFC, or any anti-Fremont organization, I just honestly believe Wolff could easily avoid this controversy and make everyone happy by taking advantage of the Army Base...

Pros:
*Close to West Oakland Bart,
*Close to the 880 freeway and the 580(theres no place in the East Bay with the advantage of being close to both, Wolff says everyone drives to the game, this would be the best access)
*The EIR is already finished!!!
*Mayor Dellum has said the city of Oakland would support a ballpark at that location.
*Plenty of space for commercial business and parking.
*Amazing view of either the new Bay Bridge(which would be finished by the time the ballpark is built) or the Oakland skyline/Oakland hills.
*Free advertising...the ballpark would be right next to the busiest bridge in the world, people would constantly be reminded of the A's...Selling out games for decades to come.
*My favorite Pro, A's and Giants playing directly across from each other with only the Bay Bridge between them. A dream come true.

Cons:
*Much like Fremont, that part of the 880 can get very congested, with a ballpark there,the only advantage would be the 580, fans can spread out to two freeways instead of just one.
*The land probably would cost more, don't know this for a fact, but I'm assuming it would be.
*Probably isn't the best location for housing, however depending on how its developed it could be...I wouldn't think so though, but with the way the market is right now, I say we just stick with commercial/retail...providing lots of jobs.
*Location might have to compete with Emeryville a little bit...but as long as you provide what Emeryville's shopping center doesn't, it wouldn't be that bad...in my opinion a ballpark as a shopping hub is a lot more appealing than a movie theater as a shopping hub.

Just to point out...Wolff did say the Army Base didn't "Pan out.." I don't know why...and when I go to city councils in Oakland I ask some members and they say they don't know either...In my opinion i think the Pros out weigh the Cons...Now lets all respectfully debate this, no name calling, just valid points, and lets try not to pick sides please...ML, I would like your opinion too...tell me why the A's can't, or can move to the Army Base, and I'd like to remind everyone that the EIR has been done since Dec. 2006, all that "stalling" we're going through now, can be avoided...

http://www.business2oakland.com/main/oaklandarmybase.htm

...sorry for the long post...

Marine Layer said...

Thanks for the comment leandre. Every so often someone will bring up the Army Base. It is a large piece of land that is available. However, it's not great as a ballpark site for numerous reasons.

1. The EIR is complete, but that's not for a ballpark. Building a ballpark would require a brand new EIR due to purpose and related impacts.

2. It's not as close to West Oakland BART as you might think. The area that's been designated as the commercial core is on the northeast part of the base, near the maze. That area is 1.25 miles away from the station. They would have to run shuttles at the very least.

3. The Port is getting a large slice of the land for operations expansion. They've made it abundantly clear that they won't have housing anywhere nearby because it's incompatible (the Padres and the Port of San Diego are running into this very problem now). They could refocus on commercial, but the only commercial interested is big-box, and the rents from those businesses won't cut it.

4. When I asked about OAB in the past, Nancy Nadel was opposed. Now I know that isn't considered a big deal to many, but it is her district after all. Maybe Dellums trumps that, I don't know. It's up to them.

The rest of your points are quite valid. OAB is a decent site, but it's not without challenges.

Jeffrey said...

the way I see it, the Army base only satisfies one of the complaints about Fremont. That being that the A's are still in Oakland. The area around the bridge is horrible for traffic... 580 is especially nasty, unless I am thinking of the wrong portion of 580. Isn't it right around the maze?

Zonis said...

One of the biggest knocks against the Army Base for a Ballpark Location is the expected huge cleanup cost.

Also, I remember reading something about how military property can not be used for residential housing...

Anonymous said...

It would allow the team to stay in Oakland and it would be awesome to have a stadium on the water with a view of the new east tower of the Bay Bridge. But...

Traffic-wise that's a worse location. That whole area has the worst or second worst traffic in the Bay Area year after year. BTW, Fremont also has a second freeway: 680. Also, the distance from West Oakland BART to the Army base is very similar to the distance from Warm Springs BART to Cisco.

So I don't think either of those represent an advantage over Pacific Commons. But it's an interesting option to ponder. Good post!

Jesse said...

ML, in your opinion, are there any places in the east bay that you like other than the current Fremont site? That you think could actually work out well?

FC said...

ML or anyone else,

I'm not very familiar with the southbay, but while driving along 237 just west of 880 I noticed a large parcel of open land north of 237. Is this area part of SC county and therefore off limits? Seems to me there's enough land there to build a ballpark and then some.

With its proximity to 880 and 237, I have to believe traffic would not be as big of a problem as in Fremont. Not really sure about its proximity to lightrail.

LeAndre said...

True, the proposed Warm Springs Bart station would be around the same distance as the West Oakland Bart for the Army Base...difference is, the Warm Springs Bart doesn't exist yet...and if I'm not mistaken, I remember Wolff saying that it wouldn't be finished until at least a few years after the ballpark...if you think it takes long for an EIR...wait until they try and build a bart extension...

Also, the 580 isn't the only other freeway the Army Base is close to...because the location is next to the maze, it can direct us to virtually any east bay freeway instantly, bringing everyone from all over the east bay,the 880, 580, 24, and the 13...the distance from the Fremont site to 680 is like the distance from the coliseum to 580, maybe a little closer...but roughly the same...

Comparing the two transportation challenges, I still think the Army Base has a slight advantage...anywhere next to the 880 will be confronted with traffic, that comes with the convenience of close freeway access...but with all the other freeway options, it spreads congestion...

Even if you can admit the only advantage the Army Base can offer is staying in Oakland, at least that eliminates the splitting of fan base that is occurring right now...no matter who's side you agree on...its still a problem. And I'm not quite confident that the dominating Giants San Jose fan base will just give up or there team just because the A's are a little closer, even if you brand the team "Silicon Valley"...I know I wouldn't abandon the A's if the Giants moved closer to my house...

Marine Layer said...

fc, did you have a window open while driving through there? If you did you'd understand why a stadium would be a horrible idea. It's downwind from the waste treatment plant.

leandre, Warm Springs BART is dependent on Santa Clara County passing a tax hike this November. No telling if that's going to happen. If it does they'll start construction on WSX next year. Service would begin in 2014, either 1-2 years after the ballpark opened.

Unfortunately, I don't think splitting the fan base is that big a deal to ownership. Either they're going to get it now as they plan or later when the ballpark opens and the big ticket price hikes kick in.

MikeTeeVee said...

Marine Layer said... "Warm Springs BART is dependent on Santa Clara County passing a tax hike this November. No telling if that's going to happen. If it does they'll start construction on WSX next year. Service would begin in 2014"

The Alameda County Measure B money for BART depends on a funded extension into Santa Clara County. If the new Santa Clara County tax fails, they still have enough money from their Measure A to build and operate BART to Berryessa, if they give up on the full extension to San Jose/Santa Clara. That's sufficient to free up Alameda County's Measure B funds.

If the new tax passes, they still won't have enough to build and operate the full BART extension to San Jose/Santa Clara.

Either way, BART is moving forward with Warm Springs using other funding. They're assuming Santa Clara County will settle on a funded project after November.

P.S. to LeAndre: Bay Area locals don't say "the" 880 and "the" 580. We just say 880 and 580.

Jeffrey said...

Mike Teevee... where do you find such info?

LeAndre said...

wow, thanks Miketeevee...I guess I wasn't born, raised, and live in Oakland like I thought I was...

...its people like you that turn this blog into just another poo flinging contest...

Marine Layer said...

Everytime I write something about BART-to-SV I expose my own ignorance about the issue's complexity. I imagine VTA Watch will chime in sooner or later.

BTW, what about the federal matching funds?

MikeTeeVee said...

Jeffrey said... "Mike Teevee... where do you find such info?"

Regarding BART: Alameda County had a meeting a couple weeks ago in Fremont to talk about their Measure B projects. One of the BART Warm Springs planners was there.

Warm Springs isn't using any federal money because the cost/ridership figures wouldn't qualify. Santa Clara County is hoping their new sales tax (barely enough to not quite cover the BART operating fees) will be enough to qualify for federal funds.

Regarding freeway names: Mr. Roadshow in the Mercury News had a column a few weeks ago about how people in SoCal say "the 405" while people here just say "880".

(Confidential to LeAndre: No flinging or offense intended. I should have added the appropriate emoticon. It just looked funny to see it called "the 880".)

LeAndre said...

Miketeevee,

Now everything makes "hella" sense...

mojowrkn said...

Waiting for the EIR and the appeals to that document are the only thing anyone can do right now. That will take at least another 9 mos. even with the expedited appeal process (enviro attorney here).

Whats wrong with buses, I grew up taking buses up to the stick from Burlingame. Works out great no driving hassle, no parking etc....

Im in Piedmont and am on the fence at to pro/con on this argument. I just want to see the team retain there excellent fanbase. The only negative to this IMHO is that Fremont is such a boring burb. i cant see it attracting more enthusiastic fans.

Anonymous said...

Fremont may be a " boring burb " , but last I looked , the current A's ballpark is not exactly in one of the many pockets of very well-to- do boring " leafy " or " yuppie " Oakland up north or hillside , but the more "iconic" ,gritty industrial concreted flatlands ,poorer
Oakland that the world , fairly or not , sees on TV.

EastBayTeam said...

Why don't they just build a pedestrian gate around the ballpark so that people parking at Lowe's and all those big box stores can't just amble on over to the game?