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16 January 2009

Warm Springs now 1A, Pacific Commons 1B

Matthew Artz at the Argus/Tri-City Beat blog confirmed something I had heard last week: Warm Springs is now the preferred Fremont option. Pacific Commons is now the "alternative." This has to be due to the continued lack of progress on the Catellus/big box front.

Update: New article here.

Let's be clear about what Warm Springs brings to the table. Its only real advantage over Pacific Commons is its proximity to the future BART extension. That's it. Pacific Commons is better as an integrated project. It's less expensive because it doesn't require additional land acquisitions. We can debate all day whether who's the more difficult party to win over, the big box stores or Warm Springs residents. It's not an enviable position for the A's to be in, which is why the commish is giving the green light for Wolff to explore elsewhere.

For those who believe Sacramento is that elsewhere, here's a preemptive no.

26 comments:

Jeffrey said...

I am a fan. I want the A's in the Bay Area. At this point, the A's should work with San Jose... If Fremont doesn't want them, and it is clear the warm springs folks don't, then move on.

Anonymous said...

It sounds to me like the death knell for Fremont has sounded. If they can't make PC work, what makes WS any different? I suppose Wolfe feels he owes it the city to go through the motions, but at this point I think the handwriting is on the wall. Not that I fault Wolfe at all, he's surely going to take a short term beating on the property he purchased.

It looks like Fremont isn't the best in compromise after all. Funny, but I think McGowan has screwed the Giants one more time. I don't think he'll get much of anything for his TR's when it's all said and done. I'm beginning to wonder if Wolfe didn't school Pete in a big way. Wolfe has made the league, the other owners, and the Commissioner do his dirty work for him. If that's true, I'll give Grandpa Lew a tip of my green colored cap.

Transic said...

Here's an article on it: http://www.insidebayarea.com/argus/localnews/ci_11475154

Zonis said...

Well, it looks like its the San JosA's.

With all the opposition to the move in Fremont, albe not coming from any of the Pols, but from neighbors who don't want their neighborhood to turn into the Coliseum, and businesses that don't want all their parking poached during gamedays (which WILL happen, btw, regardless of what anyone does-just look at BART at the Coliseum), San Jose is now the best option, since it is now on the board.

The EIR is already there, the land is already there, and the question is; will the existing Stadium Design fit there, or do there have to be changes?

Of course, this might lend credence to the conspiracy theory that San Jose was Wolff's goal all along; does the Fremont Stadium Plan (the Stadium, mind you) fit perfectly on the SJ property? No modifications necessary, or it somehow matches the exact dimensions, sort of thing?

Anonymous said...

Oh the irony. Congrats Anon 7:32PM. You hit the nail right on the head. Fisher hates MacGowan and his friends for issues related to their co-ownership of the Giants (which Fisher sold to help Wolff buy the A's). What a coup. Revenge is best served cold.

However, we shouldn't be surprised if Selig brokers a deal where the A's pick up the remaining balance on the end of season balloon payments the Gigantes have to pay their investors until that debt is exhausted....quid pro quo for Territory Rights to Santa Clara County.

Anonymous said...

Agree that Fremont is done---transfering the EIR to WS is to show that all options have been explored. The Merc quoted Wasserman as saying the oppositon to WS is a significant obstacle.

From my perspective, Wolff deserves an incredible amount of support for his efforts to keep the A's in the Bay Area. Under MacGowan, and with Selig doing nothing over the past 8 years to change it, the Giants tried to force them out of the Bay Area and make it a single team market.

There is no doubt that Wolff is someone who works to predict an outcome and not to react to an outcome. But even he, and San Jose, have benefitted from the perfect storm that now makes San Jose the front runner.

The June EIR report is a mere formality at this point. Look for Wolff and team to declare in the near future that Fremont will no longer work due to opposition at WS. My speculation is that separately he will work to retain the option to build housing/retail at PC when the economy recovers and thus---one component of funding for the stadium for San Jose could still lie in his ability to develop housing and retain in Fremont at PC--

Anonymous said...

oh yeah, you're right ... sactown is no because you say so and because of an out-of-date article. get a clue little man.

Marine Layer said...

Facts are facts. You can refute them, or you can continue to get deleted every time you put up yet another useless comment. The market in Sac has only gotten worse since I posted that article.

I'll be awaiting your usual eloquent contribution.

Anonymous said...

ML is absolutely right about Sacto--when compared to San Jose/Silicon Valley--
Fortune 1000 companies who buy the luxury suites, population, wealth of citizens, media market size on and on--are give Silicon Valley a huge advantage.

Silicon Valley is one of the most attractive sports markets going because of all of these components-

I know that Sacto can be passionate (or at least was before they tanked) about the Kings but Wolff would never devalue his franchise by moving it to Sacto---which by all standards would be a very small market

Marine Layer said...

Zonis -
Cisco Field has some unique design characteristics. Still, it only has the footprint of a square city block. Diridon South is definitely not a square city block. Making it fit will require some reconfiguration, nothing major.

The SJ Ballpark EIR was put together for a 45,000-seat facility that could be over 200 feet tall with light standards. A transplanted Cisco Field concept would undoubtedly be smaller and less impactful.

daveinsm said...

It will be very unfortunate if the city of Fremont misses this opportunity of gaining national recognition. I can understand why the WS residents are oppose to the idea but they cannot speak for the remaining citizens of Fremont.

If parking is a problem for the store owners on the pro logis land then why can't they just build more parking lots?

I went spring training in Arizona two years I met Wolff when the Padres hosted the A's. This year I will approach Wolff and ask him where is the "true" bottleneck.

Anonymous said...

I have a hard time believing that the Cisco field concept will transfer directly into SJ. First off, I rather doubt Wolfe will be satisfied with a 32K stadium when he can easily fill a 45K park to capacity in SJ. I'm looking for a new design with individulistic quirks unique to the site, something akin to Fenway.

JT said...

Put a fork in Fremont. It's done. Fremont was always a stupid idea and it appears residents and retailers have confirmed it. Ballpark village. No mass transit, massive traffic problems. Yeah, right. Or, gee, let's put this huge concrete monstrosity in a suburban neighborhood. Fremont is really just a suburb and it only got into the game because of the A's inability to work a deal with Oakland and their desperation.

San Jose could work, if Wolff and the A's actually get serious about this whole thing. But it probably won't, because it looks as if everyone involved is in the gang that couldn't shoot straight. Wolff plays games because he's a developer. He cares nothing about baseball or baseball fans. It's all about the next big deal.

Then there is the dismal state of the economy. Oakland can't do anything because of its woes. People in San Jose will watch like a hawk to ensure that none of their money goes into a stadium.

Too bad Oakland blew it by (1) spending lots of money the city couldn't afford to get the incredibly ungrateful Raiders back; and, (2) building loft apartments in Jack London Square rather than putting a neat, intimate waterfront baseball park in there. Gee, retailers, bars and restaurants already there. Anybody ever seen Camden Yards and the Baltimore Inner Harbor? Nah, you don't want that. It's better to have a baseball park out in some suburb somewhere, where there's no entertainment nearby and no mass transit.

The A's will stay in the Coliseum for a long time, certainly until the economy improves. At least they've got a BART stop there. But they'll ultimately leave the Bay Area entirely, primarily because Bay Area fans, especially those in the east bay, won't support two baseball teams.

But for now, there are few cities willing to front a new major league team presence. Check what New York City has kicked in for the new Yankees and Mets stadiums. And think of how local politicians and taxpayers now view these expenditures. Yeah, the team may SAY it pays for the stadium, but reality tells us taxpayers pay a whole lot of associated costs.

New A's ballpark? Oakland A's in the Coliseum sounds far more realistic.

Marine Layer said...

JT - I hope you stick around. In a few months it's going to get very interesting around here.

Anonymous said...

No doubt - an MLB ballpark goes to the city that is willing to PAY the most from its coffers to support ballpark operations.

For a city like New York - maybe this makes marginal sense.

For a city like Fremont that can't afford to respond to residential burglar alarms already or can't afford to repair its streets right now - - - - - YOU GOTTA BE KIDDIN'

Anonymous said...

We need to RECALL the MAYOR and CITY MEMBERS who vote A's to Warm Springs! We need massive protest on street!

Anonymous said...

JT--you have a point about Wolff being the developer who doesn't care about baseball---yes and know---having the baseball team is getting him no where in Fremont in terms of development---also remember--he took a risk in downtown San Jose when it was a ghetto way back in the mid-eighties and built the Fairmont hotel--since then he has added a second Fairmont in downtown SJ and built a Hilton next to the convention center in downtown SJ---these properties laid the foundation for what is a pretty nice downtown which will continue to evolve. And what will make these properties more valuable is the continuing evolution of downtown SJ---putting the team in downtown SJ not only helps his existing investments but also allows him to retain the development rights at PC while also probably getting a few more zoning changes in SJ--similiar to what he will get for the Earthquakes-

At the end of the day--he will make money as a developer--but San Jose will benefit and so will Fremont--

Also recognize that he is spending some money on the A's (Holiday, Giambi, etc) and he personally goes to many of the home games so baseball is a passion of his--

If I am a betting man--the San Jose A's will finally become reality---and Wolff will benefit from both being a developer and being owner of the San Jose A's---and from my humble opinion--more power to him--he kept the A's in the Bay Area and has positioned them to increase revenue streams and contend again on the field--

Anonymous said...

Fremont residents are a joke--recall the mayor and those that supported the stadium?? Show me a stadium in recent memory that has lowered the property values around it and I could agree with you----good luck in finding one---because they don't exist---you should be recalled as a resident for being as clueless as you are---and btw---I don't live in Fremont--I live in the San Jose area--and prefer to see them in San Jose---just ticks me off to see such clueless people ranting without any facts to support their claims--one last comment----some of the more beautiful and historical neighborhoods in San Jose are close to the Tank---property values have not declined because of this rather they have increased because of the development that occured to improve the overall general area---

FC said...

ML,

In his article, Artz notes that the A's will look to have an environmental report done on the WS site. He also says that the A's will have a pretty good idea by June as to whether WS will work. Just exactly what is covered in this environmental report? I assume it's not an EIR, as that would take 12-18 months to complete.

Also, in your opinion, do you think all of this effort on the part of the A's to evaluate the WS site is just a smoke screen. By this I mean do you think they are following "the process" so that they don't upset the leaders in Fremont, even though they know they will ultimately end up in SJ? Seems to me the only explanation why they are going to spend all this time and resources to evaluate a site which up until just a few months ago wasn't even considered. Maybe Wolff has to keep Wasserman and the council happy since he will have to approach them again in the future regarding the PC site.

Marine Layer said...

WS would need a project-level EIR that contains the complete site plans including parking. For the draft, they can only do a program-level EIR for WS. If the city decides that it's worth it, they can approve the draft EIR with the provision that the WS project-level submission is completed. Then they can go for certification.

The city isn't spending its own money on the EIR, the A's are. It makes sense to follow it through to its completion. San Jose isn't going anywhere in six months.

BL said...

ML,

What is your opinion on the recent California Budget crisis where the money for infrastructure projects, such as BART extension to WS, are frozen at this time and may either canel or delay the BART to WS? Without BART to WS, I am assuming that makes PC and WS sites on equal ground with respect to being close to mass transit.

Marine Layer said...

Woah! The infrastructure spending freeze is temporary until they pass a budget, which despite all of the bickering among the legislature and governor, will be resolved. Someone will blink first.

Once a budget is passed the state can start issuing bonds, which fund all of these projects to some degree. In most cases projects have multiple funding sources so it's possible to move money around to get things rolling. That's exactly what happened earlier this week as the MTC authorized $91 million in bridge tolls to be shifted from Dumbarton Rail to WS BART.

Anonymous said...

If you put a ballpark into a run down portion of a urban downtown area, there probably good research you can do (SF China Basin and SJ Downtown) that will indicate an increase in property prices.

But if you look at placing a ballpark in a suburb that is already very attractive and desirable (due to excellent schools, decent travel options, very good & quiet family neigborhood), then trying to predict an increase in property prices is far fetched.

Anonymous said...

Anon- On the surface you make it sound as if the ballpark is going to be dropped in a vacant lot between a few homes in a suburban residential area. The reality is that it is on the other side of the freeway not far from where a large manufacturing plant is located called NUMMI which is surrounded by mostly small industrial properties--none of which are all that desirable. Add to this that BART is being built to this area regardless of the stadium,implying that there will be significant development around the WS BART station to follow.

If this area is improved by a stadium and surrounding development I have got to believe that it is better than what is there now and therefore would at minimum not negatively impact residential area properties that are on the opposite side of the freeway.

Anonymous said...

Warm Springs would just be a stadium surrounded by parking. The Coliseum South -- totally unappealing. PC would have been a great place to see a game. Oh well, Fremont didn't work. Time to focus on San Jose.

Anonymous said...

Anon 2:25

I agree that PC would have/could have been cool--Santana Row on steroids with a beautiful ballpark-and as you said WS has the advantage of transit--but nothing more---it will be Arlington/Anaheim all over again--no atmosphere--BUT it would not increase crime, destroy the residential neighborhoods, etc etc as some of the NIMBY's are saying

At the end of the day---San Jose is and has been the best location--just need a few of those federal stimulus dollars to advance construction of BART and HSR as well as Autumn Parkway and I think SJ will become a reality--