27 August 2008

Wolff/AN Part III - Funding matter debunked?

Part III is the meaty part of the interview, with a lot more insight into the process than had been previously available anywhere. Read it.

One of the items covered is a question about the credit crunch and whether or not it affects financing of the ballpark:

Blez: I've read where people have said that this project is becoming a bit more of a nightmare because of the downturn in the real estate market. Because so much of this project was dependent on the real estate built around it, and I know that you were planning on having commercial and residential around it to fund things. Is that an accurate statement to make?

Wolff: No, for a couple of reasons. We are not foolish enough to go into any long-term project with only one option in terms of how we finance it. Somebody thinks we are, then they're wrong. So the housing element was critical and interesting, and we don't know that if by the time we get going again that it won't be booming again. We've got some other options which I'd prefer not to discuss but they're logical business options. And we have our own resources. So we're not without capital if we need to do something. Listen 3,000 townhomes don't sell in 20 minutes even in a good market. So it's a matter of how you flow funds. The best part about us is that we can say if it takes an extra five years to sell these homes, we'll bridge it now and you can take us out when that happens. You know, things like that.

I can't tell you how happy I am to be wrong on this point. It's something that I opined about many moons ago, followed by the mainstream press picking it up. It's easy to get caught up in looking at the market as a problem since frequent doom-and-gloom coverage makes it convenient to do so.

There's plenty of additional grist in the interview, whether you want to talk about the A's leaving, territorial rights, why it didn't work in Oakland, etc. Comment away.

Fantastic work, Blez.