30 March 2009

Diridon South - No PG&E move required?

Silicon Valley/San Jose Business Journal's Katherine Conrad has an update on the Diridon South site acquisition process. Apparently redevelopment head Harry Mavrogenes and others within City Hall have been talking about squeezing a ballpark in without either moving or reconfiguring the PG&E substation on its northwest corner.

In the past, I had said that doing this would be unlikely and impractical based on a ballpark's typical footprint and size requirements. However, if turns out to be a change to which the A's are amenable, a much smaller footprint (8-acre) stadium could be placed on the northeast section. This should be doable without altering current plans for Autumn Parkway. The remaining land could be used for parking, administrative offices, and other ballpark-related uses.

Conrad's report mentions a savings of $20 million if the PG&E substation is not acquired. The savings could actually approach $50 million because the costs associated with moving the substation across Park Avenue would not be incurred. The best part is that by moving the parking facility next to the ballpark instead of across the street from it, the land south of Park Avenue could be used for a park. It's a major concession I expect to be made to get some amount of neighborhood buy-in.

Note: In a previous post I mistakenly had marked the AT&T site as "acquired." SJRA has not acquired the site but has an offer out. I don't expect this to be a problem as there are plenty of sites nearby for this type of facility to be relocated.

One more thing: the Merc's John Ryan nailed it.


Anonymous said...

I like the idea of tightening things up a bit--I still have to believe that the substation will need to be moved once HSR comes to town but at that point it will be for a different project with someone else accountable for taking care of the re-location costs. Just need the Arc gas company to agree to sell---hopefully they are a SJ company and not an SF company with the Giants part of their ownership group!

ezra said...

After reading the article by John Ryan that you linked to (specifically the part about the Giants larger presence at the SJ Giants Games), I was wondering is there any restriction on moving a Triple-A team to San Jose? If I were the Giants, that would be one of the first things I'd do to try to keep the A's out of SJ. And having a MLB and a Triple-A team in the same metro area isn't unheard of (Seattle/Tacoma comes to mind). I guess maybe they feel with the Giants and A's in town there isn't enough room for a Triple-A team, but I think it would be a sure-fire way to drive the A's out of the Bay Area (which is what the Giants want, isn't it?).

Now don't get me wrong, I'm not supporting this idea in any way. Just speculatively wondering if it were possible.

Marine Layer said...

ezra, there is no such restriction. It would be a fabulous albeit transparent political ploy by the Giants that suffers from two problems.

1. The Fresno Grizzlies have a lease that keeps them in Fresno through 2031.

2. A new stadium would also be required in San Jose for AAA baseball. Old Muni Stadium is old and far too small. Given the interest in the A's, there would be little political will behind a AAA team, especially if the Giants were deemed responsible for driving SJ's MLB opportunity away.

Anonymous said...

The only problem with a smaller footprint is it could lead to a park with a smaller seating capacity. I've always thought the 32K idea was wrong, simply because it would limit season attendance to 2.5M in an era where several teams, including the Giants, can and do exceed 3M.

Ticket prices, which will of course cause sticker shock anyway, will have to be even higher. This is especially true, given the lack of a proprietary TV network. Check ticket prices at Fenway Park. You don't want that in San Jose.

ezra said...

Ah. I was not aware of the Grizzlies lease. Well, that'll keep SJ safe for now.

As for Muni Stadium, I figured that temporary bleachers could be installed further down the sidelines to expand the capacity until a new stadium is built. You'd just need 3 thousand more seats to be around the average attendance for the PCL.

Anonymous said...

Anon 4:16--understand your point but like the idea of a more intimate ballpark that is filled to capacity most of the time rather than occassionally like AT&T is today---I would guess if you look at AT&T attendance it would average around 32,000/year---it does create a supply and demand component but that too can be healthy to promote early support of the team in San Jose---I suspect that if things move along in SJ and a deal is announced that Oakland will see a signficant increase in season tix sales to ensure priority when the SJ ballpark is completed---