A new article by the Argus' Matthew Artz confirms a circulating rumor: the environmental impact review process will go the whole nine yards, pushing its completion until the end of the year. Nothing can proceed until the study is completed, reviewed, and voted upon. Tack on the normal construction time, and it makes 2011 unlikely. The A's were hoping that portions of the previous Pacific Commons study could be used, but the presence of the old document makes the review more complicated, requiring a comparison of projected changes to actual changes.
Those of you looking for a political angle may look at the study's availability after the November general election, when incumbent Bob Wasserman will face off against four-time former mayor Gus Morrison and councilman Steve Cho. Without even a draft, there isn't much substance to debate. That's not to say that Morrison won't feature the anti-ballpark stance prominently, it's just that he won't have any specifics to point to unless he wants to put together his own independent study. Meanwhile, proponents will have the Economic Impact study from last year as ammunition, which I covered in several posts last spring.
A simple economic angle also can't be dismissed. By pushing the opening back a year, investors may be hoping that they'll be an additional year removed from the recession and the housing market drop.