01 March 2009

Weekend newswrap 3/1

First off, the SF Business Times reported on Friday that the City of Oakland and the A's will start talking about the team's future in Oakland in a few weeks. The talks will be headed by new City Administrator Dan Lindheim. Lindheim was also Oakland's head of CEDA, so he should have all of the tools necessary to talk sites, whether it's the Coliseum or elsewhere in Oakland. V Smoothe has a good writeup of the Oakland side of the situation. There are questions about how both the A's and Oakland would proceed, and the political ramifications of the answers to those questions, but that deserves a much longer post in a week or two. Look for an unusual Coliseum revamp post later in the week.

Next up, VTA ordered up some sales tax revenue projections for the next three decades. Unfortunately, they came up woefully short in terms of monetary needs for BART-to-Silicon Valley construction, operating costs, and funding for other transit programs. That will force VTA to delay the extension's downtown San Jose tunnel and full operation until 2025. In the meantime, VTA will look to terminate the extension at the planned Berryessa station, 2.5 miles northeast of downtown and 3.5 miles from the Diridon South site. Looks like all those claims of having the best transit hub in the state are a bit premature, though an economic recovery could potentially improve those revenue projections. Depending on legal issues, more frequent and electrified Caltrain plus High Speed Rail could conceivably arrive in San Jose earlier than BART.

Finally, the development plan for the Cal Expo Fairgrounds was released. The plan, which covers 350 acres between Arden Fair and the American River, includes a new arena for the Kings. If it looks similar to the Pacific Commons baseball village concept, that's because it was done by Gensler, the same firm that worked out the land use for the A's in Fremont. A scaled-down fairgrounds is included, with a large amount of open space and a new fairgrounds pavilion as the anchors. No developer has signed onto it, and there will certainly have to be some serious legislative machinations done in the Capitol to get this done, considering it is state-owned land. The presentation also describes two funding scenarios, one in which TIF is used and another where TIF isn't used. Another important point: the plan stretches out until its completion in 2036. If anything, the plan suffers from extraordinarily bad timing. Surely there will be some sort of deadline set for interested parties to take on this enormous plan. Will the economy recover quickly enough for that to happen? After all, the arena is in the first phase.


Tony D. said...

You know what's premature R.M.: the VTA making a haste decision of ending the BART line at Berryessa based on some tax consultant with a 30-year crystal ball. Seriously, if they base major decisions like BART on this guy's ability to see 30 years into the future, then I got a bridge crossing the bay I'd like to sell them. Talk about outrageous! Maybe this is the VTA's way of trying to get more BART funding out of Washington D.C.

Anyhow, my bet is still on Diridon Station being the premier transit hub in the state, even without BART (initially).

Anonymous said...

If my project shows that I have the funding mechanisms in place do I have a chance for any stimulus dollars? Nope---better to show that you have a project that has great community support (2 taxes passed to support), but don't have all of the necessary funding in place to build it....Doyle Drive in SF is a great example--and than you have a chance for stimulus dollars-

Relative to talks with Oakland---A's need to keep all options open--including having a place to play beyond 2013 if the SJ Ballpark isn't done yet--hate to say it but Lew needs Oakland until the first pitch is thrown out in SJ--so he had better keep it on good terms

The only reason that the A's stay in Oakland--is that the territorial rights issue isn't resolved---and if that is the case MLB will have missed a golden opportunity to take advantage of one of the best sports markets in the country-

Jeffrey said...

30 Years of flat tax revenue? Seriously?

Anonymous said...

Good for Oakland. The city should re-engage with the A's. Maybe they can come up with a great location and some way to enable a funding mechanism that works. I hope they can come up with something better than the Coliseum parking lot. There have to be other good options somewhere in Oakland. The city needs to do some work to help find them.

Anonymous said...

Jeffrey said :

"30 Years of flat tax revenue? Seriously?"

When you buy from Amazon .com to avoid paying Calif state sales tax like I do for almost everything I buy , one can't get too upset when schools cut sports programs or one slams yet another pothole on 101.

MikeOnBike said...

Regarding VTA and BART:

This isn't really new news. More like reality finally sinking in.

Tony D. said...

Just stop with your "I told you so" bull crap! No one could have foresaw how deep this current recession would be. On the other hand, it's ridiculous for VTA to make major decisions or recommendations based on some tax consultants opinion of the next 30-years. I say opinion because no one, I mean no one, can predict the future; whether it's 30 years or 30 seconds out. At least this consultant has provided ammo for all the BART haters of the blogosphere.

Just think, 3 years ago my real estate agent said with confidence that my home would appreciate at least 3-5% annually...

Anonymous said...

i can definitely predict the future for the next 30 seconds to at least the next 4 years. the a's will continue to play in oakland!!!

i think a lot of people predicted what was going to happen with this economy and the home of the a's for the near future.

i too will say i told you so to san jose...

LW's message to san jose is: Don't call baseball, they'll call you.

Anonymous said...

go Sactown!!!


Anonymous said...

I can predict the next 30 days ... tony d. will say at leas 30 times how the a's will play in sj ... and I can predict that in 30 years he'll be wrong 30 x 365 times.

Anonymous said...

Anon 5:56

Lew's message to SJ is to be prepared including showing community support for the A's move to SJ--which is a poll that is getting ready to be launched near term---there are a number of us in the community that have been asked to contribute financially to this poll and this is just one of the activities that is going on to prepare--others include final land acquisition and updating the EIR...which is already been completed....don't recall that either Fremont or Oakland has one of these nor a site where the land has been acquired.

Relative to MLB--Lew wants the message controlled and he wants to control it---he also wants one point person for SJ and that is Reed--rather than every SJ council member or SC supervisor who decides they want a little exposure.

Bottom line Lew's message to SJ is to get ready and let him handle MLB--

Will the A's play in Oaktown the next 4 years---they have lease options that take them that far---2013---which is just about perfect to finalize the ballpark deal in SJ and get the stadium built-

Anonymous said...

anon 8:28,

i like how you sound just like all the fremont residents who were so sure that the a's would end up there. you also sound just like the same san jose folks who tried to bring our team to you guys years ago and could not make it happen.

what makes you think it will happen again now...because you have an EIR filled out for a stadium already??? if i recall LW already invested $80 million in which $24 is non-refundable with the fremont plan. so i don't think anything san jose can say will convince anyone that the a's will be moving anywhere. i'm not saying that the a's will be in oakland forever, but they are at home for now.

the bottom line is...LW's message was basically telling san jose to quit bothering him about trying to bring a team to their city that has tried on several occasions UNSUCCESSFULLY with obvious headaches. if it was that easy, i think MLB could have found a way by now to make it happen. land acquisition obviously means nothing seeing how things went with fremont. baseball season is just about to begin and and that's what he wants to focus on right now.

at this point after all these years the one thing i have learned was that no matter what the people of san jose, fremont, oakland or even Lew Wolff say about where they "think" the team will end up means absolutely nothing until ground is actually broken. 4 years is just about perfect to finalize the ballpark deal in oakland and get the stadium built as well.

is it me or does it feel like all the san jose people on this blog sound like they're trying to put our cities against each other by telling us how much better the a's are in san jose rather than oakland. all us oaklanders can do is defend our beautiful city with great pride that you all can't seem to see because you're so far out of the loop with the rest of the bay. you wonder why even the BAY AREA rapid transit system can't even make it to the "south" bay after 50 years. now it's looking like possibly almost 70 years??

it's not always about money. doesn't anyone know by now that a good real estate developer will always say the key to a successful business is location, location, location. the a's might be good for the south bay, but due to the central location of the rest of the 7 million bay area residents, oakland is obviously the better option. if they build it, you better believe the fans will matter if it's in san jose or oakland.

Anonymous said...

Anon 9:42--although I may personally prefer a stadium in San Jose, what I want most is for the A's to have a new stadium in the bay area that will allow them to compete with the Giants.

Having said that, I also recognize the reason that the A's aren't in San Jose right now is not because there is not the will and excitment of the people in this area to make it happen--it is because MLB, up to now, has not allowed that to happen---it wasn't by chance that Wolff chose a ballpark site that happened to be within 4 miles of the San Jose border---pretty much as close as he could get and still operate with the territorial rights restriction.

I know you like to cite population stat's and yes San Jose is further away---but at the end of the day--while game day attendance is important, more important to the sports business model of today is the access to corporate dollars who buying naming rights, advertising rights and luxury boxes. More fortune 500/1000 companies exist in San Jose metropolitan area than in San Francisco and Oakland combined....and yes--they will still particpate in sports marketing and buy luxury suites once the recession ends and we return to a more stable economic environment.

As the 10th largest city in the US within the largest county in the bay area (1.8M population) with access to fans in San Mateo and Alameda counties, a team in San able to put 34-35,000 fans in the seats on a regular basis.

While you might believe that those of us in the San Jose area are so far out of the loop of the bay" you might want to look around and realize that the economic engine of the bay area and of California is the San Jose Metropolitan Area--