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20 January 2009

Don't want San Jose info? Then don't read this.

Over the past few weeks, I had been working on a lot of San Jose-related material, after sensing a tidal shift. While I'm not counting out Fremont, I'm also not nearly as optimistic about it as I had been at this time last year. The real estate market and the retail economy make prospects difficult at Pacific Commons, and Warm Springs has myriad issues of its own. So I started going into my San Jose archives, as there was so much detail there that I needed a refresher. This is the first of many posts to explain what the San Jose option is and what it represents. Keep in mind that while San Jose is considered by many in the media to be one of the commish's "other communities," no official outreach has been made by the A's to San Jose.

Fortunately, Katherine Conrad at the Silicon Valley/San Jose Business Journal has already taken care of some of the background work that I had scheduled for myself. In her piece on San Jose's readiness should the A's attentions move south, she pointed out that only a few acres remain of the Diridon South ballpark site to be purchased. SJ Redevelopment project manager Bill Ekern noted that the city "assembled about 12 acres of the 14-acre site needed for a ballpark."

I sent requests to both Conrad and Ekern to find out which parcels remained to be purchased. Conrad responded, saying that she had a map and would furnish it tomorrow. I'll update the maps below accordingly once I get the info. In the meantime, here's an overhead view to get you (re)acquainted with the area.

Diridon Station (Caltrain) is one of only two real, multi-modal transit hubs in the South Bay (the other is Mountain View). While BART will brings additional hubs, Diridon is set to become one of the most heavily used transit hubs in the nation with the promise of BART, increased Caltrain service post-electrification, and high speed rail. That's in addition to Amtrak, Capitol Corridor, ACE, plus VTA light rail and bus service. For a better sense of what the area might look like once HSR is up and running, check out the video below, put together by the CAHSR Authority. The point-of-view is from the new neighborhood to the west of the tracks, with the camera moving north along the tracks. At the midpoint of the video, the northern edge of the ballpark site is visible to the right.



The parcels are laid out in a sort of jigsaw puzzle look. I'll add another map identifying the parcels that have been acquired and remain to be acquired. The grey areas are Autumn and Montgomery Streets, important one-way thoroughfares through the area. The city already has plans to convert Autumn into two-way, four-lane Autumn Parkway, which will eventually connect north up to Coleman Ave. Currently, Autumn Street dead-ends at the Union Pacific tracks north of HP Pavilion. The project has already been identified by SJ Mayor Chuck Reed as one his leading long-term stimulus construction projects.

Conrad's article also clarifies an important point regarding the EIR. Minor modifications would require an affirmation of traffic and noise impacts. This would incur a comment period, which would subsequently bring out of the woodwork many of the initial critics of the ballpark plan and EIR. In 2006, the EIR was certified with little fanfare or complaint because the Fremont plan was in its initial, positive stages. Many down here felt the EIR was a lost cause, albeit smart for the city to keep it in its back pocket. Should the A's officially focus on San Jose, those same parties who felt threatened in a vague way will be spurred on since they'll probably feel threatened in a real, specific way. That's not to say that the outcry back then (or in the future) is anything like what Warm Springs residents are unleashing upon Fremont. Sometime in the next several weeks I'll rehash the EIR and my observations about the process.

41 comments:

Anonymous said...

Is there a better location in the Bay Area? State of the Art transportation, high income fan base, downtown ballpark with built-in infrastructure, and no public money for stadium construction. Let the digging begin!

Jeffrey said...

On the surface, it is hard to argue with San Jose. It seems that is would be lunacy to let "territorial rights" stand in the way of what is best for the environment, team, league, etc.

I would have liked Fremont to happen, but it really appears to be intractable at this point. Some of that is due to misinformation, but even if the misinformed are educated... Fremont is not as good of an option as San Jose.

I think anyone would be hard pressed to find a site anywhere on the planet that offers what San Jose offers now and will offer in the coming years.

daveinsm said...

I agree with you Jeffrey

I wonder why hasn't Sabean or any Giant executives have commented on the possibility of the A's moving into San Jose. Of course these are all speculations but even the Mayor of San Jose has said, "we will be ready"

Anonymous said...

They haven't said a damn thing because they've been told not to. The Giants expect something out of this, albeit it will not be nearly what it could have been two years ago. Selig has probably told the Giants that he has the votes to ride rough shod over them if they put up much of a public spectacle. One thing we should remember about Bud, he will not act or comment if he doesn't already enjoy enough support to enact his stated aims. Rest assured, should any of this come down to a vote among the owners, it's already predetermined what the outcome will be. I'm guessing 29 to 1.

Anonymous said...

"The real estate market and the retail economy make prospects difficult at Pacific Commons " WHAT??

The problems at Pac Commons had little if anything to do with EITHER of the retail economy OR the real estate market. The concerns of the retail operators in Pac Commons were clear to anyone with a half ounce of common (local) sense - and confirmed by recent discussions with those retailers.

How is it that your description of the problems at Pac Common can be so misconstrued or misunderstood ?

Marine Layer said...

Anon - There are three, count em, three big box retailers who don't support the project. Many of the smaller retailers and restaurants actually support the project because it can bring them additional business. Imagine that! Problem is the small fish don't have a veto as the big fish do. They only have leases. This distinction hasn't been made clear in the local media.

Try looking at the project from more than one perspective. Having a Santana Row with upscale housing in Fremont sounded good last year or two years ago. Now we don't know if/when the market will hit bottom. The A's and their investor partners have to take this into account when deciding to plunge more money into the concept. The reality is that the deal goes well beyond the scope of an EIR.

NoAsWS said...

When you look all the facts and economic analysis, Fremont location is a lose-lose situation for both the A's and Fremont. (that's why the Giants are ok with it). But downtown San Jose will be a big win-win for both the city and the A's. (sorry, Giants;-(

Anonymous said...

The Giants have no say with regards to Fremont, NoASWS. It is in Alameda County, within the A's territorial rights as they currently exist - whether they are "ok" with fremont or not, it is irrelevant.

NoAsWS said...

The Giants did say "Wish the A's good luck in Fremont".

(quoted from Gus Morrison's comment:)
"Look at the successful stadiums around the country, starting with AT&T in SF, Safeco in Seattle, Coamerica in Detroit, Jacobs Field in Cleveland, Petco in San Diego, Coors Field in Denver - all are successful because they are part of a larger whole, the downtowns of the cities they serve." ... "Baseball stadiums do best in an active, urban setting, surrounded by supporting/complementing businesses."

Jeffrey said...

Gus is a revisionist... an example: when AT&T was built there were no "complimenting" businesses in the area. All of that followed.

Coors Field was also built in an area that needed significant development around it to make it part of the urban core.

As long as there is land around a stadium to be developed (a la Pacific Commons) the same could happen in Fremont. I am not so sure about Warm Springs, unless those warehouses and such were redeveloped.

Other "successful stadiums" (I am not quite sure what he means by that, as in what measurement did he use to gauge success) like Angels Stadium and The Ballpark in Arlington are not part of a downtown core.

NoAsWS said...

The Wolffs said several times about their "downtown ballpark plan" and "one ballpark doesn't make it downtown". Neither places in Fremont is a good fit. Existing public transportation and downtown infrastructure will make a ballpark much more successful.

As for Warm Springs, it is much worse location than Pacific Commons. It will have severe impact to many established suburban residential neighborhoods (and NUMMI). It's ridiculous any city planner would even consider putting a stadium in such location. They use BART as an excuse only because they couldn't reach agreement with the big retailers in Pacific Commons.

Keep in mind BART is still a few more years away, and extension to south bay is still nowhere in sight (could be delayed more, even with measure B passed). One BART station won't make it a downtown either. It will just become another place like the current Oakland Coliseum (or even worse). This is certainly not the best use of the land.

Anonymous said...

NoAsWS- I can accept that you believe that downtown SJ is a better location for the A's. Not only do I accept it but I also endorse it as I would rather see them in downtown SJ. But what I have a hard time with is your arguments as to how a stadium at WS will be no better than Oakland. If that is true than it is more a reflection of Fremont being no different than Oakland than a stadium causing blight.

The WS area is a horrible looking manufacturing plant called NUMMI surrounded by a bunch of horrible looking industrial properties. The area currently looks like Oakland. A ballpark surrounded by commercial buildings and supported by a major transportation link, would be a heck of alot better than what is there now--and as to its impact on residential neighborhoods which are on the other side of a "beautiful" freeway---you have no logical proof that this will occur.

As far as BART goes--keep in mind that a stadium is a few years away--in fact construction timeframe in WS would most likely have both projects winding up around the same time- 2013-

Your comment that an extension to the San Jose is on where in sight and most likely delayed again is factless. In reality the expectation is that econmic stimulus package could accelerate the development of BART to complete it prior to the current 2018 timeframe.

Like I said, I want the stadium in downtown SJ, but it does annoy me when there are so many emotional rather than logical arguments made by NIMBY's--

NoAsWS said...

This is not just a NIMBY issues. We don't think Pacific Commons is good either. Do you know how bad the traffic it is now on 880/680 during weekday late afternoon (4-7pm)? Imaging you put extra 10000+ car on the already congested highways. This will affect all the commuters between east bay and south bay.

Please don't ignore the fact the a stadium will bring extra traffic, crime and security concerns, which will be a big drain to the city resource.

We are not only concerned about the game days. The whole area will be wasted during non-game days. This is certainly not the best use of our land in Fremont. We'd rather see business park, high-tech companies, high-end retailer stores, which are more "transit-oriented" developments.

As for the timelines:
Ballpark: possibly 2012;
Warm Springs BART: likely 2014 or later;
Bart to San Jose: 2018 maybe; could be delayed more with the current state budget cut. I'd say 2020 if we are lucky.

- Fremont residents

PS. Remember the golden rule in real estate: "location, location, location". Right location, good returns. Bad location, disasters;-(

Anonymous said...

NoAsWS- Great--so I take it that anyone working or shopping at these preferred hi-tech companies and high end retailers will not use a car---and how many days a year will these business be open with people driving to and from at all hours during the day? And if high end retailers are coming to Fremont what has held them back from moving in years ago--unless of course you consider Lowe's and Costco high-end retailers.

You are right---it is all about location--but my point to you is that your NIMBY attitude- whether it be about PC or WS--makes all of your arguments emotional debates not based upon fact or logic. And when you do attempt to introduce fact into the debate you exagerrate the fact to support your point i.e- BART to WS wont happen until after 2014 or that BART to SJ won't happen until 2020.

These are all contrary to the current focus which is working towards accelerating their development rather than delaying it.

Personally I would have more respect for your arguments if you just admitted that they are not fact based but an emotional reaction to not wanting change in your neighborhood.

Anonymous said...

News on Jan 17 Mercury News: California budget delay stalls transportation work in valley, Bay Area (http://www.mercurynews.com/ci_11473978). Excerpts:
......
Without a balanced budget, California's bond rating has sunk, resulting in the freeze on using bonds to pay for work that is ongoing or ready to get started.

That includes the BART extension to the South Bay — $91 million was to be set aside in a couple of weeks for the Fremont-to-Warm Springs segment. Work could begin later this year, if all pieces of the funding puzzle are in place.
......
"We're this close to breaking ground on BART to San Jose," said Alameda County Supervisor Scott Haggerty, "and now we may have to pull the plug."

The work on I-680 is also in jeopardy. Bay Cities Paving and Grading is the lead contractor on work now under way, but the state is a month behind paying its bills to the company.

gojohn10 said...

NoAsWS,

You don't speak for all Fremont residents so please don't act like you do. I for one would love to have a ballpark in Fremont.

-John (Fremont resident)

Kyu said...

you guys should all face the facts and come to realize that the a's aren't going anywhere for sometime if ever at all. oakland is where they've been for years and where they will most likely stay. do you guys really believe with the way the economy is and the california budget crisis that we can worry about the a's moving...and to san jose out of all places??? even fremont for that matter...especially with how much crime rate has already gone up over the last few years!!

i'm one the biggest a's fans out there who attends almost 50 games a year and am pretty certain they aren't moving for quite some time. if fremont was going to happen...don't you think they would've done something by now besides all this talk, discussions and meetings that have gotten no where besides gettiing everyone all jazzed up? it's been about 3 years since the public announcement now and still nothing has happened. my guess is that wolff just doesn't want to come out publicly at this point to admit that they're not going anywhere and that the possibility of them staying in oakland and eventually building a park near the port of oakand/jack london area (which we do still have plenty of land) will be there last option.

and for all of you NON-oaklanders who tries to talk about how bad our city is can kiss our asses. some of you people are pretty ignorant to the fact that our city is one of the largest, diverse, populated, and strongest cities in the entire bay area. i mean more people would rather live in oakland than in fremont!! even san jose isn't all that compared the city that is pretty much right smack in the central of the bay!

Marine Layer said...

Before this turns into a "my city is better than yours" pissing match, all potential commenters should know that I will delete any further comments that take potshots.

Kyu, getting anything large built anywhere in this state is difficult and time-consuming. It doesn't matter how big the city is. It's silly to pooh-pooh other cities then claim that somehow Oakland will be able to pull it out. I appreciate the passion, but it has to be grounded in reality.

NoAsWS said...

John, thank you for speaking out. We should encourage more residents to speak out and have more debates like this. But have we seen any debates or town hall meetings in the past two years? (even the A's tried to keep it quiet during election) I'm surprised many Fremont residents still don't know the Oakland A's is moving to Fremont, and even seriously consider Warm Springs.

Some business groups might think a ballpark is good for the business. But most residents don't really support such ideas. Please encourage more people to look at their plan. Is their plan feasible? Will it really bring the "imaginary" revenue to Fremont, or disaster? Should the city of Fremont take the risk?

Tony D. said...

R.M.,
Has Conrad got back to you with an updated map of Diridon South? Curious to know what 2 acres are left.

Tony D. said...

Another ? R.M.
Assuming SJ does come back in the picture, will "public outcry" over a ballpark be lessened if the capacity is 32K vs. 45K? You'll probably have your usual suspect Willow Glen, Rose Garden "60 years +" residents who are determined to have a quite, small-town downtown. Other than that, I think a vast majority of SJ residents, including urban core condo and loft residents, all in favor of a ballpark at Diridon.

Anonymous said...

I'm a South Bay resident, however I feel Kyu is dead on ... in this economy, how can anyone expect a new ballpark to be built ANYWHERE!!??!!

The Giants ownership has been quoted many times that they were able to secure the funds to privately finance their ballpark due to a "perfect storm" kind of environment. How can Wolff expect to secure this kind of financing, which would include corporate and individual support today or in the near future? I know that the company I work at which is very profitable, is seeking to get out of all sorts of sponsorship agreements, advertising, etc. This is indicative of many, many companies in the bay area.

I'm afraid that I agree that the A's will be in Oakland for the time being and well into the future ... in the Coliseum.

Anonymous said...

Anon/Kyu- you may be right---but if Wolff feels he can do it---than why not let him move forward.

Certify the WS site in Fremont, or open up downtown SJ and than let Wolff deliver on what he has said he can do. My bet is that he knows how to get it done---if not--than we can play the role of monday morning quarterback all we want---

Stadiums take 2-3 years to build once the construction begins. I doubt that in 2012 or so that our economy will be this distressed and I would rather be ready to take advantage of it with a new stadium than still talking about a new stadium and playing at the Colisieum

Anonymous said...

Gosh Marine Layer - I asked how you could suggest that the demise of Pac Common had more to do with real estate and retail economics than with the many obvious and insurmountable problems associated with this site.

In response you appear to want to suggest that the economic interests of a few dozen restaraunts servicing a few hundred meals eclipse the economic interests of the 3 major retailers who service hundreds of buyers EACH HOUR ?????

My gosh if yours is an example of the kinds of "business" thinking that is going on in the pro-A's camp - I can see why so many feel that this projects' planners exhibit little concern for the larger community.

Your response seems to suggest that the economic interests of the major retail sales organizations in Pac Commons are subordinate or even on par with the economic interests of food service folks . .. . . we can do the math - and it ain't even close.

Anonymous said...

Anon 6:01---you just confirmed for me why I would never live in nor visit fremont--its heart and soul are big box retailers at PC---surrounded by some auto dealerships that are just about done---Wow!!way cool----now there's a city that I can't wait to go hang out in and spend some of my money.

The most desirable cities in the bay area, Palo Alto, Los Gatos, SJ/Willow Glen, SJ/Santana Row, Los Altos, all have downtowns like Wolff proposed at PC---mix in a beautiful ballpark and you have a destination city with atmoshpere that will generate far more investment and revenue than three big box retailers. And you claim the A's lack vision??

Marine Layer said...

Anon - Thanks for taking two days to respond.

First off, the three big box stores through Catellus admit that the parking issue at PC is not insurmountable. If the A's were to move the ballpark further away from their respective locations, they'd be amenable to the change. Who knows exactly why the A's don't want to do this, but in any case it's an impasse since the A's don't want to budge from their site plan. But it is not, as you say, insurmountable. I covered this in December. Did you not pick that up?

Second, I was pointing out that the smaller retailers and restaurants don't have a say other than to send letters of support or criticism. They have about as much say as a random Fremont resident. You tell me if that's fair.

Keep looking at things with tunnel vision and you'll spend the rest of your days driving to Paly, SJ, Dublin, and the City for anything fun. Now if you're okay with that, fine...

Anonymous said...

Yeah - "further away" = several miles.

The POINT IS that the proposed PAC COM location doesnt work because WOLFE and CO (Wasserman) didn't THINK about and consider the manifest problems associated with this location.

OOOPS !

It has to do with logistical problems - - - - NOT the feakin' real estate - -it's because the PLANNERS have not considered the larger community !

Marine Layer said...

No, they meant the southern edge of the property. They asked the A's if they would consider this, the A's didn't budge. This is a big mistake on the A's part.

Marine Layer said...

Anon - I'll publish your comments as long as you bring something to the debate. Argue the points I brought up or move on.

Anonymous said...

THE POINT that I made that YOU REFUSED TO PUBLISH was that the big box retailers and their economic interests go well beyond those of the restaurants in Pac Commons. . . .


But you refuse to consider that prospect.


You want to suggest that the economics of a few restaraunts serving a few hundred meals in an evening somehow eclipse those economic interests of the retailers who service hundreds of customer each hour.


Not even close M.L. - - - - I made a point pertinant to this debate - You dont have the courage to consider or print it !

Anonymous said...

I would be interested in whether or not a poll has been taken to see if comments like NoAsWS and Anon 8:25 represent a majority or just a vocal minority.

I have to believe that most Fremont residents would welcome more than $1B of economic development in their city.

Wasserman himself noted that by "volume" the WS opponents were large---If a poll has been done I would like to see the results---because ultimately this may end up in a vote in Fremont, and if that is the case Wolff should push to do it sooner than later--

Marine Layer said...

I regret even getting into this here, considering this is a San Jose oriented thread.

What I refused to publish was "guess pro-A's faction need any possible modicum of personal assault you cn muster" and "Have some guts!"

Have some guts? That's rich coming from an anonymous commenter.

Don't know if you've noticed, but in this very thread I've criticized the A's for not being willing to compromise with the big box stores. In fact I saw this coming in July when I first wrote about it. Does that sound "pro-A's" to you?

My point is that the big box stores had wiggle room that you claim they don't. Then you ascribe your own reasons for disliking the plan to them. That's not right or fair.

Jeffrey said...

wow. the uninformed, emotional bullshit that is flying on this post rght now is something we haven't seen here in a while. Sweet.

daveinsm said...

emo annoy,

make an account so we know who we are talking to :)

Anonymous said...

I can't wait for the San Jose A's. Finally, they'lll be able to compete again.

Anonymous said...

Yes, three big box retailers egged on by an employee of the property owner have put their petty desires ahead of the community they sever and have killed off a world class development for Fremont. The vast majority of smaller retailers wanted the A's project, but that means little to some. These retailers say they want the A's, but they double speak.Now property owners separated by a massive and elevated freeway see the A's ballpark as a problem for their neighborhood. All will be Femont's loss and some other city's gain if such self interest is not over ridden.

Anonymous said...

From the Mayors conference that included Reed of SJ, Wasserman of Fremont, and Mahan of Santa Clara-

Wasserman predicted that there will be significant local opposition to the new site the Oakland A’s are looking at for a ballpark, across from the planned Warm Springs Bay Area Rapid Transit station.

“But that new location holds a lot of promise,” he said, adding that he is optimistic about making it work but frustrated by the length of time it is taking.

“When you deal with a 900-pound gorilla you need to have special handling gloves,” he said. “We are trying very hard to make this happen and believe that it will.”

Obviously, any Council approval, at some point in the future will be forced to a referendum--with lawsuits--and delays--

Regarding the '49ers---Mahan said they are on track for the November ballot--as I recall it will authorize the city of SC to invest $130-$160M in a new stadium.

Anonymous said...

Fremont residents are being denied by three carpetbagger national big-box companies ( Costco,Kohl's,Lowes) of a potential nationally recognized $1.5-2 billion development ( Pac Commons Ballpark Village ) .
Last I looked , they're the same set of three stores located at about every 3-5 urban freeway offramps througout the whole country .
Lest everyone here just got off a plane or boat from overseas , if you look at a major real estate trend of the last 10-15 years , it's about building entire new from the ground up " fake " urban villages consisting of more walkable "front porch" neighborhoods with mixed use retail/entertainment . It's developers' cleverly ironic , cynical " anti-sprawl" in suburban sprawl , but has been very successful and profitable !
It's happened all over the country in the burbs of Denver, Houston.Austin,Atlanta,Orange County,Minneapolis,St. Louis , Columbus , etc., etc., etc., and always in an empty greenfield site in a " Fremont -like " faceless suburb - not in an old established leafy " downtown" area like San Jose,Los Gatos,Palo Alto equivalents .
When this world economy rebounds- and if you don't think it will you should be buying radiation sickness kits, ammo , food and staking a claim to a cave NOW - the lack of close-in new "affordable" housing will again rear it's head in the Valley . The Pac Commons site is in the Silicon Valley with a BIG advantage : not having to slog over the Sunol Grade or worse, Altamont Pass , esp if gas prices restabilze at $4-5 gal in a few years . Fremont city officials have said it will only allow housing at Pac Comm if a stadium is built. They have turned down housing developer requests to take over the 160 acre Cisco property ( which Cisco knows is a corporate albatross , having committed to a 30 yr land lease in the dot-com boom times of 1999-2000) ) because of drag on city services with no net revenue, unlike the $2B development and it's tax potential.
LW and his investors are first and foremost, developers ( also carpetbaggers of a different sort,yes-but no diff in SJ as LW lives in Bev Hills ) ) - the 225 acres of raw land at the strategic Pac Commons site they control is too lucrative in it's mixed use/housing scheme to " walk away " from .
I know this is an A's stadium blog, but look at it from THEIR perspective , not from " Joe A's fans" 's .
At the end of the day, the PC Ballpark Village will be what is done , IMO, as it is very easy to set up parking lot control on gane days to protect the PC big box carpetbaggers .

Anonymous said...

Anon 10:23-

Agree with your comments about the big 3 but to label Wolff a carpet bagger because he wants to invest $1.5 to $2B in a community and give it an identify makes no sense to me---

Also, I would have agreed that PC would happen if the economy and housing hadn't tanked and . . . as important if not more so...Selig hadn't opened the door to San Jose and SC voters hadn't approved the BART extension---the game changed completely in November and December---

Fremont is falling apart on many levels with the ballpark---but keep in mind--those same big box retailers have said that they support the proposed housing and retail without a stadium.

I don't think it is any coincidence that SJ continued to acquire the ballpark property with the understanding that if all else failed it could support corporate expansion.

I know that there are alot of people out there who say the economy is horrible and nothing will be built---but the reality is--when the economy is horrible, and land, construction materials and labor are all low---that is when you want to be building---with federal stimulus dollars soon to be available for "shovel ready" infrastructure projects you can bet that Wolff wants this project to move forward---albeit--in San Jose---

Anonymous said...

If LW builds stadium in SJ, how will he and is co-investors make anywhere near the potential profit from the 225 acres of PC to pay for it ? Even if he gets ,say , 40-70 acres of buildable land somewhere else in SJ as part of a SJ stadium deal , I don't see how that will get him and his partners the $500M they need just to build their privately financed stadium .

Fremont will not allow housing at PC with just a " Santana Row " w/o stadium - won't be enough tax revenue . I.e., LW won't ever be allowed by the City of Fremont to develop that land they control there to fund SJ stadium . Don't forget , they have invested probably $20-30M in non-Cisco land there plus the deal they struck 18 months ago in assuming Cisco's onerous 30 year land lease , so it will cost LW and his investors a lot to " walk away " from PC!

Anonymous said...

Anon-- you seem to forget that they (A's and Fremont) have already said that PC is no longer their first choice for a the "ballpark" and that WS is their focus--note that in the mayor's summit Wasserman didn't even bring up PC--rather he talked about WS and its challenges but indicated he felt that they would ultimately be successful.

The model for finance of PC fell apart when housing and retail collapsed---the only way to build the ballpark was to pay for it upfront and wait until the housing/retail recovered to build the "downtown" around it--n one debates this---it is wait and see---as far as Wolff being able to build the vision for PC without the ballpark--it would still be a $1B to $1.5B investment in Fremont--nothing to snub your nose at--especially when you have the support of the existing retailers-

A bit further south, in SJ the city just established a downtown district and raised the occupancy tax of the downtown hotels to generate $300M for the expansion of the convention center--Wolff happens to own 3 of these hotels---there are several other finance models that are out there---and Wolff knows them all---he has been at this a long long time--