14 February 2009

It's all fun and games until somebody gets hurt

I'm pretty meh about the Raiders-Oakland talks. They're talking about renewing the relationship. Great. Ignacio De La Fuente is talking up the potential of the Coliseum redevelopment area. Fantastic. At some point in the next year or so, they'll need to bust out the details. How's it going to be financed? What will it look like? Will they preserve Mt. Davis and rebuild the rest of it or start from scratch?

Kudos to Amy Trask for not using her boss's old tricks. Twenty years ago, any major sports franchise had tons of leverage over cities and counties throughout the nation. These days the tables have been turned. While LA has emerged as a stalking horse, they'll have to get in line behind the Chargers, who have started their own marketing push throughout the basin.

Let's say that the two parties are able to come up with a new stadium plan at the existing Coliseum. To finance it, Oakland gives the Raiders development rights to the Coliseum (~60 acres), the Coliseum South area along Hegenberger (20 acres), and additional land between the complex and the BART station (15 acres). That puts the total available land at around 95 acres.

First and foremost, they have to implement a plan to preserve parking. Oracle Arena stages 100 events per year, over 40 them being Warriors games. I'm not aware of a specific parking requirement for the Arena, but most large indoor arenas tend to have at least 4,000 spaces in close proximity to the venue. The W's will undoubtedly ask for more to be preserved. At the outset, that makes the Coliseum complex's C and D lots, which flank the Arena, off limits.

As I understand it, the power lines and other utilities that supposedly make it difficult to build in the parking lot run underground beneath the center "mall" area. Preservation of the facility will have to be done. It's a good idea anyway because the complex was designed with the mall in mind. Landscaping and beautification are natural fits for this area.

That would leave the A and B lots for development, along with the land along San Leandro St. (which is privately owned and would have to be acquired), and Coliseum South, which includes the gravel "Malibu" lot. Conceivably, a large transit-oriented mixed-use development would be appropriate here. It's not a place for high-rises, but it can accommodate 4-5 story buildings with ground level retail. The difficult thing about this kind of development is that you'll have additional parking requirements. Residential development has parking requirements. Let's get rough minimum estimates for parking:
  • Residential - 3,000 spaces for 3,000 units
  • Retail - 1,000 spaces for 300,000 square feet of floor space
  • Stadium - Replacement of 5,000 spaces from A and B lots
Parking replacement for the stadium would have to be done with garages. That means no more tailgating, folks. If the C and D lots don't have garages built on them, they'd be the only surface lots in the area, which means they'd be the only possible place for tailgating.

The construction cost for all of this would be at least $1 billion depending on the actual stadium cost. Besides the one major problem of how to finance it, there's another issue to deal with: the Raiders have known track record when it comes to development. Al Davis's experience with the vertical passing game means bupkis when it comes to building anything. Even he admits that he's not a stadium builder, and this would be much more than a stadium. Davis, a football man who is not the billionaire type who views his team as a toy, has far less resources at his disposal than other incredibly rich owners like Jerry Jones, Paul Allen, Daniel Snyder, or Robert Kraft.

Do you think the Raiders and Oakland could pull something like this off? If they don't, what happens next? It seems likely that the two will limp along with a short-term extension at the Coliseum until the next move is determined. Beyond that, unless someone drops off a bag containing a billion dollars at either party's doorstep, it's hard to see how something this ambitious gets done.


Anonymous said...

The way this gets done is with the Oakland A's also jumping on board and creating the best regional sports/entertainment/shopping/ and residential center in the Country. The Oakland A's, the Oakland Raiders, the Golden State warriors, and the San Francisco Forty Niners could all be investors and at the same time have access to the best venues in all of sports. It makes perfect sense from a filling as many dates as possible for this complex. This is the only way that these franchises will ever be able to build new venues. It has to be a shared venture with these pro franchises as investors.

Also, let's not forget the available lots used for auxiliary parking on the west side of 880.

Tony D. said...

Any reason a joint Raiders/Niners stadium hasn't been discussed for a revamped Coliseum? I would think it would be cheaper than a from scratch stadium in Santa Clara. No community opposition, closer to SF for Niners, and excellent access for football Sunday's (880, BART, Amtrak).

Also, if somehow the Warriors can get their butts down to HP Pavilion prior to 2017, you'd have the current arena site for potential development also.

Marine Layer said...

Cost to add a ballpark: $500 million plus 10,000 additional parking spaces to cover those instances in which football and baseball would be played simultaneously.

I'm not saying it can't be done. I'm saying that it's a lot to ask for an area that A) unlike other urban renewal projects, isn't a downtown locale, B) is far more financially risky for the private entities than other alternatives, without the return potential.

If someone can pencil it out, I'm all for it. It's beyond my meager grasp of the subject matter.

Oakland Sí said...

couldn't some (ie, non-tailgate) of the parking needs be met through building a multi-story parking facility?

Marine Layer said...

Absolutely. The problem is that the ballpark itself will take away a minimum of 12 acres. That correlates to about 1,500 spaces of surface parking lost. A garage can cost as much as $15,000 per parking space in construct cost. So to only make up for lost parking due to land use, someone will pay $22.5 million for a garage.

Then you have to add additional parking for the A's. Let's say that somehow the A's only need an additional 5,000 spaces. How much will that cost? $75 million. Already you're at nearly $100 million, just for parking garages.

Anonymous said...

Tony, all you want to do is move everything to South Bay.

You're quickly losing credibility here

Tony D. said...

I'm suggesting a joint Raiders/Niners coliseum IN OAKLAND!, yet somehow I want everything to move to the South Bay? Huhh? Go figure.

Anonymous said...

I think if we include the auxiliary parking lots west of 880 in the development, a baseball park, along with the required parking spaces, could be accommodated.

I agree about a downtown location. A baseball park for the A's would be much better in downtown Oakland around the Auto Row/Uptown/Lake Merritt area.

Marine Layer said...

That area is around 20 acres, which translates to 2,500 spaces. That area is already factored into worst case parking scenarios because it already gets used for Raiders and A's games. It gets you part of the way there but there's a long way to go.

Oakland Sí said...

Thanks for the info on parking garage costs. Reportedly $15,000 per parking space was the high end esstimate in 1996, with the low end being $4,500:

Even though that estimate is over a decade old I don't know whether the type of parking structure needed would necessarily be on the high end. In any event, shouldn't a parking agarage eventually pay for itself?

Marine Layer said...

Cost is governed by steel and concrete prices, plus labor. I recently spoke with someone in a construction industry trade association, and he said that contrary to recent reports, construction costs are not going down as a trend. A major concrete supplier recently raised prices, and union officials are under a lot of political pressure to hold the line on labor rates. In other words, the cost isn't going down.

Any savings people think they'll get due to the lack of construction starts will evaporate as the shovel-ready projects in the stimulus plan get started.

Garages area a necessary evil. If there weren't parking requirements in municipal code, many of them wouldn't get built. If you're in Manhattan you can make more by building a garage than by building residential. In this scenario supply will always outstrip demand except on certain occasions.

Jeffrey said...

This will be fun to watch play out. If Al Davis is able to get the City of Oakland to pay for a new stadium they should all be flogged.

Of course, if Al Davis is able to get the development done and a new stadium built with the proceeds it definitely makes Lew Look a little disingenuous about his original Oakland plan(even if the circumstances are wildly different).

On the other hand, if he isn't able to get it done it make Lew look a little bit more like maybe all the "Oakland Only" crowds criticism is a bit hollow.

Lastly, I don't think that there is anyway the Coliseum site becomes home to the Warriors, A's, 49ers and Raiders simultaneously. I am not rooting against it per say, because it achieves my main goal as a fan. It keeps the A's in the Bay Area and playing, presumably in a new yard that kicks butt.

I heard a blurb on the radio recently about the Kings losing 25 million this year and being on the "for sale" tip, if surreptitiously. The same report mentioned that Seattle and San Jose were the two communities lining up potential ownership groups to make a play at relocating the team. It was odd to hear this (it was n a news blurb on Sports By Line KTRB 860, my new favorite show) and think that nothing was being reported about it anywhere else. Could be mere speculation?

Any way, if it is true... I don't see the Warriors moving south obviously. But... if ti is true, and the A's, Quakes and Kings are all on CSN California... hmmm

Anonymous said...

Larry Ellison tried to buy the Sonics from Seattle---in fact his bid was higher than the winning OKC group but supposedly the OKC group committed to Seattle for 3-years where as Ellison said he would move them to San Jose immediately--

We all know what happened--the OKC group moved them after a year and the NBA/city of Seattle could do nothing--

Another likely suitor would be KC--where the Kings moved from to begin with---beautiful new arena--now 2 years old--and no tennants--

Maybe some local competition for the Warriors would force Cohan to quit screwing up the franchise---but at the end of the day--I don't see it happening---since the NBA spurned Ellison/SJ once already, pretty much knowing the team was moving to OKC, it tells me that they don't want a team in SJ competing against the Warriors-

Tony D. said...

anon 2:29,
The NBA did not spurn SJ. Ellison's and SVSE (Silicon Valley and Sports Entertainment) bid was much larger than the Oklahoma ownership bid. But, as mentioned here about a year ago, the then-Sonics ownership went with the lower Oklahoma bid because they "promised" to work and keep the Sonics in Seattle. We all know how that turned out. Again, no spurning of SJ by the NBA.

SVSE is in the market to bring an NBA team to SJ/HP Pavilion. Perhaps they still have a partnership with Larry Ellison. The Warriors probably couldn't say much at this point, being that territorial rights don't exist like MLB, and Mr. Ellison's company is splashed on the Warriors arena. The San Jose Kings...not bad, not bad at all!

Anonymous said...

Tony- just a difference of opinion--you turn down a higher bid under the pretense that the OKC ownership group will try to keep the team in Seattle?? Tell me that Stern didn't have a pretty darn good idea that it would happen the way it did--

Not disputing that SVSE would like to have NBA at the Tank---but I wouldn't count on it near term--or even long term---just my humble opinion

Judy said...

I'm sorry Tony, but over the last two months, you've advocated at one time or another a San Jose A's, a San Jose Warriors, a San Jose Raiders, and now a San Jose Kings.

I mean, why don't you run for city council or something? Cuz nobody else in SJ seems to feel quite the same way you do. Why do you suppose that is?

Anonymous said...

hey judy, i feel the same way as Tony...whats wrong with san jose A's, san jose kings/warriors, san jose raiders/niners?? why is that so impossible? seems to me that there are ALOT of people on this blog that root against san jose...intimidated almost...why? why are people so scared of sj having one up on oak or sf? i dont know Tony, but it seems like he s a native sanjosean like myself. As natives of sj, whats wrong with rooting for your hometown? whats wrong with wanting the best for your city in terms of sports entertainment??.....ALOT of sour grapes on this blog and something tells me they come from natives of the largest city in the know, the city where our local port is located ;).....i wonder why

Tony D. said...

Anon 5:18,
Could not have said it better myself. Judy, no one in SJ feels the same way I do? Where's your proof? I do like your suggestion that I run for SJ office :o).

OAKSFSJ said...

To the previous two posters Tony & Judy,

I agree Judy, you always want the best for your hometown. I just think people here are being realistic about the fact that no Oakland team will ever play in SJ permanently. The Giants have territorial rights to SJ which prevents the A's from moving there, and the 49ers will be more likely to move to Santa Clara county before the Raiders ever will (namely because they have their training facility there).

Back in the Warriors 1996-1997 season, they played in San Jose Arena because the Coliseum Arena was being renovated. Even with the SJ Arena being only THREE years old, the Warriors opted to continue playing in East Oakland instead of moving to the then booming Silicon Valley city.

Don't get me wrong, I think San Jose is truly a Northern California treasure. I love the Sharks and think they have the BEST fans in the NHL. I just don't think San Joseans should sit and wait (or root) for another city to lose a team. San Jose is a world class city on its own. Is it the civic pride that a professional sports team brings that SJ is in search of?

In any case, MY opinion is that the only team San Jose can expect to possibly get is the 49ers (though they'll probably just remodel Candlestick).

Stick with the Sharks SJ!

Tony D. said...


I appreciate your nice comments regarding my hometown; but respectfully, you really, really, really need to get caught up on the news of the day (Why the Warriors didn't stay in SJ after 1997, the current state of T-rights, etc.)

Mike G said...

Like many other suburban communities,(which about 80% of the city is, to be honest) San Jose has based a lot of its growth by offering cheap land as incentives for business and residents to move from neighboring communities.

Nothing wrong with that, it happens everywhere. But let's remember that Silicon Valley developed where it did because of Stanford University in Palo Alto. By the 1970's, land on the Peninsula was pretty much taken or too pricey and the Apples and Intels of the world had no choice but to go the other way.

Surely the high tech companies would have rather been closer to San Francisco, but they couldn't.
San Jose folks need to keep that mind, for who knows, in 20 years they might all be moving to Salinas for the same reasons.

Marine Layer said...

That's one of the most misinformed takes on the history of Silicon Valley I've ever read. The Valley has gone through 4 different iterations, all of them distinct. In the 50's it was the formation of semiconductor industry. In the 60's and 70's, defense contractors moved in next to Moffett Field coupled with the rise of Intel and National Semi. In the 80's there was the PC boom. Now we are in the Internet era and the herd has been properly culled.

Stanford was and continues to be a huge engineering magnet. As its geniuses planted roots nearby, others from around the country saw opportunity and moved here as well. Though as critical as Stanford was, Moffett and NASA Ames were just as important for some 30 years.

The only thing moving out of the area is manufacturing, which is fine by me. As for a brain drain? Let me know when Apple and Facebook decide to move to Salinas. You go where the engineers are, and they like the schools in Los Gatos and Cupertino.

Anonymous said...

I think the SJ detractors are missing a major point. SJ is the leviathan of the Bay area. By not courting sports teams they've shown an indifference to being tempted by "status". Sooner or later though, sports franchises are going to covet the population base in the city and the surrounding area. The city will eventually get all the major sports within their sphere of influence, and most likely on their own terms. That means other cities are probably going to lose franchises, discounting the possibility of expansion. SJ knows it can sit tight on the Didiron parcel, sooner or later someone will come a calling.

Anonymous said...

mike g, whats your point? Like ML said, thats a very distorted take on the history of silicon valley....but lets say your right and sj got lucky. whats your point??we re discussing sports teams and how much us san joseans root for our town and you give us this bunk history lesson?? i repeat...whats your point? this is exacly what i was talkin about a couple of posts up....people just LOVE to hate about intimidation......why do you people hate us so much?i mean do you wana be us? do you wana live here? i have respect for MLs blogs so I wont start a city vs city battle, but dont make me go there because i can dig up ALOT of skeletons in SFs/oaklands i suggest we just leave it at that and move on with our regular discussion

jeepers said...

Sure they can. It's simply a matter of how much they want it, and who they put in charge, just like anything else.