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13 April 2009

Oakland FD Training Site

In the last few weeks, I've gotten several requests to add a particular Oakland site for review on the blog. The site in question is a veritable wedge formed by the mouth of Lake Merritt channel to the east, 880 to the north, Fallon Street to the west, and the combination of Union Pacific railroad tracks and The Embarcadero to the south.

The site is often referred to as the OFD training site, and while that's correct, the city only owns 6 acres in the area, 4 of which are actually usable for the ballpark (the rest is either underneath the elevated freeway or a buffer for the channel). Another key section is owned by Peralta Community College District, though it by all appearances is cleared out. The area was once home to a sizable homeless encampment, which was cleared out about 2 years ago.

In between the two parcels is the remains of an old rail right-of-way. A bridge spanning the channel still exists, AFAIK. According to OaklandExplorer, the ROW is not on any parcel maps, so it is also probably owned by the city. As you'll see from the next image, the combination of these parcels is not enough to contain the ballpark.

The ballpark encroaches upon a few industrial properties in the area. At least one of these is either vacant or available for lease, which means it could be ripe for purchase. However, as V Smoothe pointed out in the previous thread, this is where it gets complicated. The entire site is split between Central City (Downtown) and Central City East (Fruitvale/San Antonio/O29). I don't have specifics about how this makes the situation more difficult, but I can imagine that either some kind of RDA annexation would have to occur or bonds may have to be raised separately to acquire parcels in either section. Each district has its own distinct RDA budget and bonding cap. Here's a breakdown of the district separation:
  • Central City East - OFD, Peralta/Laney, East Bay Restaurant Supply and adjacent warehouses
  • Central City - Self Storage facility, residential triplex, additional warehouse
The other industrial properties in the area wouldn't be a big deal if it weren't for an additional requirement - 1,200 parking spaces near the ballpark. Yes, there are parking garages being built near JLS, but a new, 1,200-space garage will be the minimum for team employees, VIP's, and premium seat holders.

As I mentioned in the previous post comments thread, freeway infrastructure in the area is severely lacking. The Oak St offramp from 880 north is less than 1/4 mile long, and it will need to be lengthened and widened to handle new traffic. The 5th Ave overpass and exit project is currently out for bid, and was not designed to handle traffic from something like a ballpark. The Embarcadero is slated for widening and new traffic signals as part of the O29 project. The recently certified EIR for O29 shows that traffic at Embarcadero/5th Ave will reach unacceptable levels by 2025. A ballpark will not enhance the situation, and if something gets built there a major revamp of on/offramps will be needed to make things livable for all who live and work in the area, not just the A's.

Fortunately, the site is only 1/4 mile from the Lake Merritt BART station. It's also 1/4 mile from the JLS Amtrak station. A shuttle is planned to take new O29 residents around Downtown. There was talk earlier in the decade about a trolley, but there's no chance of that happening in anytime soon.

If the outfield view doesn't look too terribly impressive, that's because the distance to the Oakland Hills through center field is twice as far as the distance from the Coliseum to Leona Quarry.

Now's the time for some back-of-the-envelope numbers.
  • Ballpark: $500 million (assuming 2014 or later opening)
  • Land acquisition for ballpark: $30 million
  • Relocation costs for OFD training site: $5 million plus land acquisition
  • 1,200 space garage: $30 million including land
  • Freeway access improvements: $50 million or more depending on how extensive already planned 880 project is going to be
  • Surface street traffic improvements: Unknown
That's $115 million in infrastructure improvements with additional mitigation work on the horizon.

Keep in mind that a ballpark project would have to undergo its own EIR/CEQA process. Judging by the difficulty encountered in the O29 project, a ballpark EIR could be just as lengthy. The same environmentalists who decried O29 would only have to shift their vision slightly to the west. Why? The key piece of land, the fire training site, has already been designated as open space. When I asked this same group a few years back about whether or not a ballpark could be used on open space, I got two reactions: quizzical stares and chuckles.

There's also the question of whether or not area landowners are willing to sell. Thankfully, there aren't that many here. Should one or two balk, it would be difficult to get a ballpark deal done. The one I'm curious about is East Bay Restaurant Supply, which just celebrated its 75th anniversary in Oakland. Eminent domain has to be out of the picture, unless one lives in Fantasyland.

Economically, the site would be better for the A's than the downtrodden Coliseum area. Still, there's probably a sizable gap in available corporate dollars between this site and San Jose, given that the ballpark is moving further away from Silicon Valley. The cost of needed infrastructure has to give one pause. The City of Oakland has requested $2.6 billion in stimulus funds. I'm not going to present a false dichotomy here, but if the City really felt it had to request more in stimulus funds than the rest of the Bay Area cities combined, it's pretty difficult to justify adding another project whose value outside its limited purpose is questionable at best.

Gotta admit, though, it looks pretty good in the screenshots.

89 comments:

Jeffrey said...

The first screen shot is the coolest. I'd be camped in Right field looking at the Skyline as often as possible.

Navigator said...

Marine Layer,

That's absolutely awesome! Great work. Thanks so much. I'm surprised you were able to make it fit without encroaching on many of the businesses near Fallon Street. Also, Victory Court stays pretty much intact. It looks like the restaurant supply warehouse could stay put.

How about turning the ballpark towards downtown and Lake Merritt? I realize that the "splash hits" into the Lake Merritt Channel wouldn't work out, but the orientation may work out better.
Anyway, that looks like a very interesting possibility to bring a ballpark to Jack London Square.

The infrastructure improvements could be manageable considering all of the public transit options. Also, as far as complaints from concerned citizens go, the area seems far enough away from existing residential. And, those who complain about traffic and noise need to understand that without those two elements Jack London Square will die. Oakland is a city which needs to grow. Jack London Square is designed precisely to bring in as many people as possible. That's the whole point of trying to establish a regional dinning and entertainment district.

What we need know is a commitment from Lew Wolff, the current Jack London developers, and Signature Properties which holds development rights for Oak to 9th, along with the City of Oakland to get something done on the Oakland Waterfront.

Navigator said...

Also, Marine Layer, after reading your designations of which properties fit into each redevelopment zone, it seams that the ballpark structure alone fits inside Central City East. Is that right, or am I not looking at the site correctly? Anyway, it definitely looks very doable.

Anonymous said...

nice job, but right next to the freeway..idk

Marine Layer said...

Nav, this is the only orientation that works. There isn't enough room to point it north, and it can't face west because of existing rules.

Complaints would not be NIMBY. They would be about planning and cost.

Hate to say it Nav, but you have a tremendous penchant for glossing over real details and issues. These are not trivial.

JLS has to live and die on its own. If it isn't working out, get a deal to get new developers in, not a bunch of Don Perata's friends who've miscalculated the market. It's unfair and unrealistic to pin the socioeconomic hopes of a city on a sports franchise.

Marine Layer said...

The ballpark's Green Monster type wall is maybe 30 feet from the freeway. That can be adjusted.

Footprint of the ballpark covers both RDA zones.

Jeffrey said...

Doable? Talk about Polly Anna.

I am in favor of Oakland keeping the A's (or anywhere in the Bay Area landing them). But this spot, doesn't look like a winner for several of the points made in the post.

I think about the only way it works is from a footprint perspective. Aesthetically (outside of my previous statement of sitting in right field and looking at the skyline) it would be a lackluster "waterfront" park compared with the one it is trying to replicate across the bay. The freeway practically runs through left field.

If I was an "Oakland Only" booster, I would be looking for something better than this.

Anonymous said...

You know Fenway Park sits right next to a freeway. Also, it's good to know that a ballpark does fit on that site. It's also definitely not the only site available near the waterfront. Estuary Park right across Embarcadero would put you right on the Oakland Estuary if you would rather to be right on the water.

I think the OFD site is a fine site close to downtown, public transportation, restaurants and the waterfront.

Anonymous said...

I read somewhere recently that Signature Properties is willing to "chat" with the Lew Wolff regarding joint development for a ballpark on the waterfront of 9th to Oak St.

Might make sense since they are already developing housing for that location which could be part of LW's ballpark village concept???

Jeffrey said...

Fenway is more than 30 feet away from I90. But that is hardly the biggest challenge.

Anonymous said...

Fenway isn't that close to the Mass Turnpike.

Marine Layer said...

I'm skeptical that the Ghielmettis, who've gone through 5 years of development hell to get O29 off the ground, are suddenly willing to give a large chunk of their profit potential away to anyone, including the A's.

Anonymous said...

How far is the San Jose site from the freeway?

Marine Layer said...

1/4 mile.

Dan said...

The San Jose site has a street and the Guadalupe river between the site and CA 87.

dto510 said...

Marine Layer, thank you very much for the work you put into researching this site. IMHO this possibility shows why it's not terribly productive for Oaklanders to latch onto the idea of a "waterfront ballpark" - being sandwiched between two freeways is not really what that phrase implies, even if water is near by.

The biggest challenges to this site are negotiating with CalTrans (which is planning to reconstruct 880's bridge over the Channel) and the PUC. Both agencies are very uninterested in being helpful to Oakland, and Oakland's disorganization makes it hard for the city to talk to outside agencies even if they were willing to cooperate. The enormous stimulus request from Oakland isn't really evidence that Oakland has more infrastructure needs than other cities, but that it can't get its shit together: the Council and Mayor couldn't agree on priorities and so just submitted a lengthy laundry list.

Navigator said...

DTO,

That site isn't between "two freeways." It's between 880 and Embarcadero. Also, Marine Layer is using only half the site because of trying to accommodate the Lake Merritt Channel into the project, as well as attempting to spare as many of the warehouses on the western portion of the lot as possible. If the ballpark were to be moved closer to the corner of Fallon and Embarcadero, where the self storage warehouse currently sits, it would create more space between the 880 freeway and possibly allow for a change of orientation towards Lake Merritt and Downtown.

Also, there is space for a true "waterfront park" across Embarcadero at Estuary Park, if you prefer that location. Having said that, where do YOU think is the best location for a ballpark for the Oakland A's which would give Oakland the best return for the buck?

Anonymous said...

diridon>ofd

Jesse said...

Anon 4:17PM you did read that but it was probably 4 years ago....

Michael Ghilmetti, president of Signature Properties, which is trying to get permission for the housing/retail operation, said, "We've told the A's that if they want to put a park on this site, we'd be happy to sit down and talk about working something out. So far, nobody has asked us to do that."

http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2005/06/11/BAG1AD78001.DTL

Anonymous said...

Sweet. Facing the freeway like that, you could put up a Crash Hits counter.

Jesse said...

IDLF wanted the estuary site to remain in consideration if North Coliseum Flea Market site didnt work out, and IDLF preferred the estuary site to Coliseum flea market, but Wolff never considered it. Probably because he knew it might work.

Anonymous said...

Wasn't the estuary a possibility a few years back. I think it was shot down when the 30 or so different owners of the property were not willing to deal.

Marine Layer said...

Jesse, I beg to differ. Everyone including City and developers knew that the O29 development was going to be a long, drawn out process. It actually ended up being more complicated than expected. If they added a ballpark in there, what would it have replaced? Housing units? Park space? If it's the former, Signature balks. If it's the latter, open space advocates sue. Either way it's sunk. And it would've required a new EIR.

It's great that the two parties talked very briefly 4 years ago, but let's be realistic. O29 is 64 acres, had to be designed around a stubborn landowner who was unwilling to sell, and needed major concessions to get it this far.

dmontero said...

Has anyone done a preliminary geotechnical/seismic study of the area? The original plan for the Oakland Cathedral was designed by Santiago Calatrava and was to be placed right next to the Oakland Museum, but it turned out to be unfeasible because near the lake/estuary the ground is comprised of deep sediments, which have trouble supporting weight and fare poorly in earthquakes (look at the number of pilings required to support the elevated section of 880 there). I'm wouldn't be surprised if this ended up adding a lot to the cost of the project.

Anonymous said...

Anyone read that stupid editorial in the CoCo Times (4/10). San Jose is supposedly chasing a dream in pursuing the A's. Highlights from the nonsense : Genentech/South SF and Belmont are part of the South Bay and the MLB committee is no match for the Giants tradition in SCCo. Some of the denial expressed on this blog is interesting, but this piece from CoCo takes the cake. Your San Jose A's baby!

Anonymous said...

Of all of this the part that pisses me off the most is the Giants arrogance about SCCo where they have done nothing over the years to try and build any fan loyalty--for anyone to say that they have shows their complete lack of knowledge--at least the A's over the past 10 years have made an effort to engage the south bay fan--

Getting a little tired of rehasing the Oakland sites again---how many more years need to go by before we have a new stadium?? Diridon, which is a realty, not a pipe dream, is heads and shoulders above anything proposed on this blog--

Anonymous said...

Contra Costa Times editorial argument: "San Jose has no chance at the A's because the Giants have strong ties with two cities in San Mateo County."

hamachi said...

this is a link to a large PDF that has a really rough geographic study of the Oakland area. The proposed site would be over historic landfill if I read it correctly.

and I think it just looks horrible how tight it would be. ugh.

hamachi said...

http://gcmd.nasa.gov/records/GCMD_USGS_Map_MF-2342.html

maybe that link will work.

Navigator said...

The OFD site could be adjusted since only half the proposed site is being used for the ballpark footprint.

Also, this is just one of the number of sites available close to the Oakland waterfront. All this does is prove that a ballpark will fit on that site providing some of the underutilized warehouses are also used in the development. The ballpark doesn't have to fit so snuggly against the freeway. The site is close to public transportation, downtown, and the waterfront.

Other sites around the waterfront which could be used are the 9th Street Terminal, Estuary Park, and Howard terminal, to name a few.

Jeffrey said...

Navigator... those sites are physically capable of hosting a ballpark, but are they probable and on what detailed info do you base the claim?

I am not doubting you, just wondering because at least one of those sites were in the original HOK study way back in the day (I am thinking of Howard Terminal) and it was considered unfeasible because of parking/infrastructure concerns as well as the cost of relocating Port activities and the cranes. I want to say it was going to cost $520m in 2001 dollars before land acquisition. Has that changed?

I think the 9th street terminal was included in that study to, wasn't it? And dismissed outright?

Isn't this the very definition of "covering old ground" and "opening a door that won't be closed" that Lew Wolff mentioned when saying Oakland wasn't feasible?

hamachi said...

after all the fighting over oak to 9th I seriously doubt that anyone will suddenly be able to stop all of that discussion and redo everything to make room for the A's.

Until someone from city hall actually puts forth ANY solid plans for a site in oakland I'm just going to assume this is just wishing. the current owners aren't interested in oakland, so they'll have to be given something on a silver platter to stay here.

Anonymous said...

I agree with Navigator. A very nice job by ML I must say, however I was under the impression that the ballpark would actually sit up against Fallon Street and the train tracks right next to Embarcadero to give a little more room in the outfield.

Either way, I think it's very much a possibility and I'm sure Oakland Officials are considering this site along with others.

Anonymous said...

Jefferey,

I don't believe that the Oakland FDT site was ever considered among the sites several years ago. Across the street at the Oakland Estuary as well as 9th to Oak was, but not the OFDT.

I personally would prefer the OFDT site over the waterfront because of the easier/safer/closer walk to Lake Merritt BART and the existing parking lot that could possibly be used at Lanney College.

I think the Oakland Estuary could possibly be used for a SF/Oakland Ferry Terminal to get to the park for SF fans. The Amtrak station is only a few blocks away and the Oak Street exit is already long enough to deal with anticipate ballpark traffic. It's also good for JLS since it's only about a 10 minute walk away. Not to mention the brand new condos and lofts that sits only on the other side of Oak Street which makes for a great location for the existing Downtown Oakland residents.

Marine Layer said...

The ballpark was placed as close to the channel as possible to reduce the amount of privately owned land that would have to be acquired.

There's a little of land available in Oakland, that doesn't mean there are a lot of good sites for a ballpark.

Navigator said...

Marine Layer, what are the dimensions for the playing field on your model? I noticed that the field at the OFD site seems to dwarf the nearby Laney College playing field. I was under the impression that the Laney College Field was pretty close to Major League dimensions. Is that just an optical illusion due to the distance?

Also, if the ballpark were placed closer to Fallon and Embarcadero would it fit with an orientation towards Downtown and Lake Merritt. That would bring it even closer to the Lake Merritt BART station and the Amtrak station at Jack London Square.

If that entire parcel were used, it would be more than enough room for the ballpark and some small ancillary development. A small park near the Lake Merritt Channel with an Oakland A's hall of fame would be nice. We could save part of Victory Court and lead it right into the Hall of Fame.

The Oakland Fire Department Training Site is an awesome location with great possibilities. It certainly deserves serious consideration.

Jeffrey said...

Denial: Not Just a River in Egypt.

Nav, I envy your blind optimism. I imagine you are talking with someone in the Oakland City Hall about how marvelous this site is and pointing out how to overcome the considerable challenges?

Navigator said...

Jeffrey,

Every site is going to have challenges. The San Francisco Giants built a ballpark on landfill right next to the Bay in earthquake country. The infrastructure near the ballpark had to be improved. It takes a huge effort.

However, I'd like to think about how we can make it happen, rather than come up with every reason why it can't happen. Unfortunately, Oakland is filled with many "can't happen" people. There are a few visionaries like Phil Tagami who had a dream to restore the magnificent Fox Oakland Theater. I wonder how many nay sayers Mr. Tagami had to overcome to see his vision come to fruition.

Jeffrey, do you think that this site has more "considerable challenges" than the Fremont site had?

This site has BART, FERRY and Rail at it's doorstep. This site has dozens of restaurants within walking distance. This site is central to the Oakland A's fan base of Alameda, Contra Costa, and San Francisco counties.

dbackman said...

Even if the site is not politically viable, it is still worth considering the possibilities. In design education and practice we frequently consider hypothetical scenarios. While these may not result in a building being constructed on that particular site, these exercises allow us to learn and develop ideas for both the site and the program. I will remain intrigued by the OFD site because whatever lands there offers great possibilities for the area. If we just forget about it because of the inherent difficulties then it will just remain a post-apocolyptic wasteland forever.

dbackman said...

If cities and baseball teams are not willing to take on "considerable challenges", then we will not be seeing any "great urban ballparks" anytime soon. Let's not fool ourselves, Diridon, which is a great site as well, also present considerable challenges. It sits right in the middle of one of the largest American infrastructure projects of the coming decades. Just because the political and economic stars have aligned for that site does not necessarily mean it is any easier or cheaper to build there. But once again, if the team and the city can work together to build a great stadium in a complex and difficult situation, then all parties involved will be much better for it.

Anonymous said...

Well said Nav. People should be focusing on the positives more often. Every project has its negatives, but they shouldn't drown out the positives in every case.

Anonymous said...

As long as reality is overlayed on the discussion than I agree--look for the positives---but failing to see the reality here---you can't force a business to invest their money in an area that they don't find viable---you can entice them with enough incentives/cash, which Oakland doesn't have, but I seriously doubt that there would be too many owners/investors that would be willing to front $500M on a downtown Oakland ballpark---sure it would benefit Oakland but what's in it for the business?

Navigator said...

Dbackman,

You're absolutely right. The biggest obstacle the site faces is an owner who has a vision and believes in Oakland. That's the biggest hurdle facing the Oakland Fire Department Training Center site.

Also, you're correct to say that the Diridon site also faces many obstacles. For one, you have a residential neighborhood within earshot of the proposed ballpark. You have a PG&E substation, which provides a good share of the power to downtown San Jose, that certainly must be relocated. You have additional parcels which still need to be acquired. You have the considerations of a future new huge transportation hub. We have the infrastructure improvements required for additional traffic. And, we still haven't brought up the fact that the Diridon site is not easily accessible to the majority of Oakland A's fans.

Every potential site has huge obstacles to overcome.

Anonymous said...

Navigator--the neighborhoods that are in "earshot" of Diridon are also across the railroad tracks where CalTrain currently is and HSR will be---they also have a 18,000 seat arena across the street so when they purchased their homes they had an idea of what the area would be like-

PG&E substation will most likely be moved as part of the HSR--therefore it is separate from the ballpark--
There are 2 remaining parcels--each with an offer currently in place--
EIR is completed--Bart construction will be north of the stadium site---so limited impact--
Diridon is not far away from site clearing stages---by not far away we are talking months if an agreement is reached--
What you are proposing in Oakland is not only lacking resources to acquire the land but also to complete the supporting infrastrucutre ---not to mention whether or not anyone is willing to sell-

As an A's fan I personally am not interested in waiting another 10 years for Oakland to make an attempt---and 10 years is a resonable estimate of time considering what you are proposing.

Marine Layer said...

Before anyone starts comparing OFDT to Diridon, I have to point out that no one from the City of Oakland has talked about this site in any official capacity. If/when the City does push the site out as a possibility, we can then legitimately start the comparison on details. At this point, my post is little more than a thumbnail sketch. Diridon has been almost fully vetted because it's been public for 4 years. OFDT hasn't even started that process.

Navigator said...

Anon 6:41

You're starting your argument with the premise that Oakland is not "viable." I don't agree with that. This isn't a charity case we're talking about. This makes sense for the Oakland A's as a business venture. A ballpark in that location would compete directly with the San Francisco Giants. A ballpark in that location would cut off a tremendous amount of casual fan traffic from Contra Costa which now heads over the Bay Bridge for games at AT&T Park while at the same time solidifying Oakland's fan base in places like Piedmont,and North Oakland neighborhoods like Montclair, Rockridge, Temescal, Grand Lake, etc. Also, the fan base in cities like Berkeley, Alameda, Hayward, San Leandro, Albany and San Francisco would be solidified.

Given the fact that the Oakland A's consistently put better teams on the field, a new ballpark on that OFD site would provide a great challenge to the San Francisco Giants. I don't believe in running away from your competition. I believe in meeting your competition head on, defending your territory, while contesting theirs.

Navigator said...

Marine Layer,

You've got to admit that to the extent that you've had the OFDT site on you blog for less than 24 hours, the vetting process has been tremendous. We've had countless reasons why this cant be done. Mostly from Oaklanders.

I haven't heard from many Oaklanders with ideas of how we can overcome the challenges. That's unfortunate.

Marine Layer said...

Nav, this isn't anything close to a vetting process. This is a bunch of people talking on a blog. We don't certify or write EIR's. We don't broker land deals. We aren't even doing real outreach to community and environmental groups. Once that starts to happen, then we can talk about the site being vetted.

Anonymous said...

Tell me why any business would take a chance on a mere pipe dream possibility of doing business in the same unsupportive town but different location vs. moving the business to a city with a proven desire and is rolling out the red carpet to bring in the company?

If the City of Oakland really wants to keep the A's, why haven't they been doing what San Jose has been doing for the last few years? Dreams are where all great ideas are born but unless there are motivated people in a position to bring those dreams to fruition, those dreams will always be just that...dreams.

Had Oakland been serious about a ballpark site at the same time San Jose was aquiring land and doing an EIR, I would be saying screw San Jose, Oakland is home. But since Oakland sat on it's laurels, I say Oakland, get out of the way and thanks for the memories!

Anonymous said...

Navigator logic:

San Francisco has the Giants, so it's full of A's fans

Santa Clara County has no team, so its can't possibly have A's fans

Navigator said...

I've never said that San Francisco was "full" of Giants fans. I said that San Francisco County has the third most A's fans behind Alameda and Contra Costa counties. I'm sorry if me stating a fact upsets you.

Also, the argument that Oakland hasn't "done anything" is a little disingenuous since Steve Schott, Lew Wolff and MLB have never shown interest in building anything in Oakland. How can Oakland get started on something when the ownership has shown no interest.

On the other hand, the lust shown for the South Bay by former A's owner Steve Schott, and now current owner Lew Wolff has been well documented. It's much easier for a city to move on something when they know that the principles in the deal are interested. I'm sure Wolff has been communicating his wishes to people like San Jose Mayor Chuck Reed and Santa Clara County Assessor Larry Stone all along.

Let's stop pretending these ownerships have ever given Oakland a legitimate chance.

That's the past however. Let's see if this ballpark commission by MLB is going to be serious about Oakland, or is this just an attempt to put the final nail in Oakland's coffin.

gojohn10 said...

Anon 11:05,

I share some of your opinions, but how can we be sure that San Jose's "proven desire" to host a MLB team will translate into better support of the team? Obviously, from the corporate sponsorship perspective San Jose has an edge. Will they attract a larger fansbase? I don't think that is so clear cut.

Jeffrey said...

Navigator and dbackman... reality based optimism is something I fully support. Part of reality based optimism is admitting the considerable challenges (something Nav fails to do) and proposing solutions.

You can't just ignore the problems and smile your way to the finish line. You have to admit they exist.

Saying "the infrastructure is manageable" is not addressing the reality of the situation. It is glossing over a huge hurdle.

In the end, there are many viable sites in the Bay Area (this one in particular doesn't look like one from where I sit), including in Oakland.

dbackman said...

Blind optimism will not help anyone in this situation. But it is just as foolish to rule out difficult scenarios as impossible as it is to accept the easiest scenario as inevitable.

Anonymous said...

I tell yah what! When the A's set up shop in SJ, and when the Red Sox come to town, I guarantee you the majority of the fans in the seats at Cisco Field will be A's fans, not Sox fans! What has occurred at the Coliseum over the past two nights is completely ridiculous. And all Navigator and "The O" Partisans want to talk about is tradition and loyalty; why not try filling the seats with "loyalty and tradition" and make the "home team" the home team!? And no, it's not because of Lew Wolff; This "Fenway Park" at the Coliseum affect has been happening for years now. Won't happen in SJ!

Jeffrey said...

Nothing is inevitable. If you feel like that is what I have been saying I am sorry for misleading you.

My point here, is that there are considerable challenges to this site. Nobody seems to have any ideas about how those would be overcome other than to say that they will.

My guess is that there are better sites in Oakland and hopefully someone from the City is actually reviewing them and finding a real viable site.

Jeffrey said...

I doubt that SJ would be any better at stopping the Fenway West effect.

I was at the game last night, it was probably like 60% A's fans. Having XM radio for 3 baseball seasons and listening to many Red Sox road games, I can tell you the effect is not limited to Oakland. Nor is the Yankee effect, nor the Cubs.

For whatever reason, where ever those teams play, they have a large contingent of fans and is audibly apparent when you listen on the radio.

dbackman said...

Well you are right on that one. I am a Sox fan who attends every game they play in Oakland, as well as additional 5 or so A's games each year. There is no way I would have been able to attend last night's game, let alone stay until the 11:40pm finish, if the stadium were located in San Jose. Accessability is a huge issue for me, as well as many other Oakland A's fans.
By the way, this whole notion that only home team fans belong at A's games is ridiculous. The goal should be to fill up the stadium every night. Don't blame loyal BASEBALL fans because they want to watch their hometown team play ball.

Anonymous said...

So, you're not an A's fan. You're a "stadium close to my house fan." Sorry, Lew's not building this for you. You can stay home.

Anonymous said...

Navigator, stop making things up. You have no idea where A's fans are located as they have not made their ticket buyer zip codes public. And Wolfe tried plenty to get something in Oakland including the HOK study and the Coliseum North proposal. Just once, try dealing with a little reality.

dbackman said...

True, I am an not an A's "fan." But I am an Oakland A's supporter and lifelong baseball fan. Sure, my drive to keep the A's in Oakland is at least partially motivated by the 'selfish' desire to have baseball games accessible to me. But its not just about me. The move to San Jose will, at least temporarily, make A's games inaccessable to many East Bay A's fans.
More importantly, however, I believe that the A's are an important part of what makes Oakland, Oakland. Their departure would be a major loss for this city's economy and culture. Alternately, a new stadium in Central Oakland could be a driving force for much needed economic development in this city.
So no, this is not about me. It is about Oakland, and advocating for what I think is best for the city that I call home. I have lived in Oakland for 5 years and plan on staying for the forseeable future. I love this town, and deeply value the A's franchise and the benefits it brings to this city.

dbackman said...

Serious question:
Does geographic data exist on the A's fanbase? I am interested to see where people are coming from and how they are getting there.

Marine Layer said...

The A's commissioned an economic impact report for Fremont. They contributed some key information about their own ticket sales, including a breakdown by county.

ANALYSIS OF TYPICAL TICKET PURCHASES BY COUNTY

Alameda - 27.3%
Contra Costa - 20.7%
San Francisco - 13.0%
Santa Clara - 10.5%
San Mateo - 3.3%
Solano - 2.2%
Napa - 2.0%
Marin - 1.5%
Sonoma - 0.9%
Other California - 10.4%
Out of State - 8.2%

Marine Layer said...

Within Alameda County's 27.3%:

Oakland 8.8%
Berkeley 3.6%
Livermore 2.3%
Fremont 2.3%
San Leandro 1.6%
Hayward 1.5%
Alameda 1.4%
Dublin 1.2%
Union City 1.2%
Newark 1.1%
Castro Valley 0.9%
Albany 0.6%
Emeryville 0.3%
San Lorenzo 0.3%
Byron 0.1%
Sunol 0.0%

Anonymous said...

Much apprecciated, ML.

Jeffrey said...

Oakland is 8.8% of the season ticket base? Wow, that si low.

Marine Layer said...

Not season tickets, all advanced ticket sales.

dbackman said...

Seems like either side could use these stats to their advantage. Yes, Santa Clara county outnumbers Oakland, which shows a significant SJ fanbase. But just about 50% of the fanbase is in the East Bay (Alameda and Contra Costa Counties). People all over the Bay Area have a stake in the A's and their future location. Wherever the team ends up, they must ensure that games are accessible to all Bay Area fans.
If BART, HSR, VTA and a new stadium can coexist on the Diridon site then it would be ideal in many ways. But for the time being, Oakland is the geographic center of the A's fanbase and deserves consideration for the new ballpark site for that reason alone.

Anonymous said...

debackman- what is flawed in your conclusion is how weak this existing fan base is--claiming that Oakland is the center of a weak fan base that can only produce 20,000 or so for a BoSox game (10,000 of which are Boston fans) doesn't mean you should make a bad decision a second time and build a new stadium back in Oakland-

Rather it supports the notion that there are greener pastures out there and that has been the SJ argument-

Anonymous said...

geographic center =/= population center

Jeffrey said...

So could we quit using one game as proof of the fan base sucking? As part of that fan base, I don't disagree that is sucks at times, but one game is a knee jerk reaction, not a reasoned argument.

Anonymous said...

San Jose is inaccessible to East Bay fans, yet Oakland is magically accessible to South Bay fans. Interesting. I didn't know you could only travel in one direction on that side of the bay.

dbackman said...

Please look take a good look at the statistics above. I am not saying that Oakland itself contains the majority of the fanbase. With just 8.8% of ticket sales, that is obviously not the case. I am saying that Oakland is the geographic center of the A's fanbase. There is a reason BART choose Oakland as the center of its transit system, because of its centrality and accessibility to the region as a whole.
A move to San Jose is a significant shift in from this geographic center. I don't doubt that the San Jose can generate enough popular, instituational and economic support on its own. It is a large and wealthy city that is deserving of a baseball franchise. However, the move will come at a high cost for many fans in the East Bay, as well as the smaller faction from the North Bay.

If the A's move and lose a lot of their support from these areas that currently make up around 55% of advanced ticket sales, will the new San Jose based fan base really be that much larger? This does not proclude a move to SJ, but should be treated as a legitimate concern.

Anonymous said...

Advance tickets sales don't mean shit. I go to 45+ games a year and I buy every single game at the box office the day-of without ever having any problems. Yes it sucks that we don't draw the crowds due to the current location and the outdated Coliseum, but it makes going to an A's game a very easy experience. I live in Oakland and I've been here my whole life. i can guarantee that if the A's build a new ballpark in downtown Oakland by the waterfront or JLS, I'll be a season ticket holder for many many years.

Anonymous said...

True "local" Oakland A's fans know that looking at advance ticket sales doesn't prove anything other than most people buy their tickets at the box office the day of the game.

Marine Layer said...

Those meaningless advanced ticket sales account for 80% of total sales.

Jeffrey said...

ML, quit using numbers and facts and stuff.

Zonis said...

Yeah ML, its not fair to the OakFolk. They need to be able to make some random claims with out them being refuted every time, right?

Anonymous said...

Advance tix sales mean alot to a business--its called predictable revenue streams---and as ML cited 80% of A's tix are advanced tix sales-

One of the key focuses of a sports franchise is to ensure a sizable season tix base so that they have predictable revenue streams--couple this with advance sales and there should be very few tix left--creating the supply and demand challenge---which a 32,000 seat ballpark will do--tarped off Colisieum is just over 36,000---on average A's have more than 50% of their tix available to walk-up crowd---cant stay in business long with this kind of trend--

Navigator said...

Marine Layer,

Thanks for putting up where Oakland A's fans come from.

As I wrote previously, most A's fans come from Alameda, Contra Costa, and San Francisco counties. Santa Clara County accounts for just 10% of the fan base.

The City of Oakland, with a population of 400,000 makes up 8.8% of all fans at Oakland A's games. Santa Clara County with a population of nearly 2 million, accounts for just 10%.

More fans come from Oakland, than come from Fremont, Hayward, San Leandro, Newark, Union City, and Castro Valley combined. Oakland, with a population of just 400,000 residents, is actually outdoing those combined suburbs with a population of 550,000.

At least 61% of Oakland A's fans come from Alameda, Contra Costa, and San Francisco counties, with an additional 6.6% coming from the North Bay and beyond.

You folks slandering Oakland for not doing its share supporting the A's should be ashamed of yourselves. You owe Oakland and the East Bay an apology. With these numbers, Lew Wolff should be ashamed of himself for even contemplating the insanity of locating this ballpark so far from the vast majority of the existing fan base.

Jeffrey said...

Navigator...

If the stadium was in San Jose, and the people in San Jose were closer... it would be considerably more than 10%.

It is actually quite shocking that more people come from 45 miles away then come from the city in which they play.

Navigator said...

Jeffrey,

After those numbers which indicate that Oakland actually supports the A's with more fans than six suburban south of Oakland cities with a combined population of 550,000 residents, you still take time to take a cheap shot at Oakland?

Also, keep in mind that the 10% figure includes all of Santa Clara County. We have no idea what the numbers for San Jose with a population of 1 million residents are. I'll guess around 5%.

These statistics speak for themselves. Obviously Lew Wolff doesn't care about where his fan base is located. He's basically giving the fans his middle finger and saying, "I don't care where you live, I don't care what you think, I'm moving my franchise where 10% of my fan base is. The other 90% of you can get lost for all I care."

That's basically what all of this comes down to.

Anonymous said...

Nav- 90% of a very small number is why he doesn't care--if it was 90% of a 30,000 ticket season ticket base than you would have an argument--he will have no problem making that up with Santa Clara County, Central Valley and Monterey County--if as you say--Oakland fans won't travel down--

Anonymous said...

I don't understand why no one gets it?? San Jose is NOT going to happen. There is so much politics going on behind all this that most of the everyday "bloggers" (including myself) can't really figure it all out right now. All I gotta say is you better believe that Oakland's political back is way more powerful than most people realize. It doesn't matter how good of an argument San Jose can come up with. Oakland will find a way and get the support they need to keep the A's at home which they have done so for so many years through all the previous owners.

Location location location is the key and when they build it they will continue to come in numbers from all over...including San Jose. Especially the "casual" fans which will make up the majority of the ticket sales. Once we present a plan with a great location which will be central (with the help of Amtrak, BART, Ferry Terminal and 880) to everyone in "Oakland's current territory," the blue ribbon committee will see and agree that the East Bay can continue to support an MLB team with a high-tech brand new ballpark in Downtown Oakland near the water.

It's going to happen and the Giants will do everything in their power to help and back Oakland in this battle. They will win.

Do not worry my fellow Oaklanders...just keep believing and it will happen.

Anonymous said...

Anon 9:45--and herein lies the challenge "Once we present a plan with a great location which will be central (with the help of Amtrak, BART, Ferry Terminal and 880....." The once we present needs to change to "we presented..." and we are shovel ready---14 years and counting....only thing shovel ready in oakland is not a ballpark site...I need some of the shit your smoking...

Jeffrey said...

What cheap shot? You can guess at how many people come from San Jose if you want. I'll just stick to the numbers... the county that is at least 45 minutes away accounts for more spectators than the city that hosts the team.

I am not some San Jose blowhard. I am a fan of the City of Oakland as I have made clear. These numbers don't paint the picture you are trying to make them paint.

They show that the distribution of fans is far and wide and there is no particular attachment to any particular city. Here's what I would be thinking were I owner of the A's:

I can move the team 45 miles south, retain half of my existing Alameda County season ticket holders (Dublin, Livermore, Fremont, Hayward, Union City, Newark) and more than double the overall season ticket holders by going after a county that has shown remarkably strong support for being so far away.

Bill said...

Historically speaking, ML, before the existence of AT&T Park, which team had a stronger attendance...the Giants or the A's? I am thinking about when the teams were more similar in nature with older ballparks. Today, of course, the numbers are quite skewed with all the casual fans checking out AT&T. But as for the long haul, I am wondering if the playing field was once again somewhat event...new ballparks in a downtown setting if the A's would once again be somewhat competitive with the Giants for attendance.

Side line...as a life long A's fan and season ticket holder who also attends Giants games, the fan base for Oakland is louder, more baseball savvy, and more boisterous than the other fans across the bay. My concern about a move to SJ is the loss of the historical fan base that makes Oakland baseball what it is. Take away that and you have AT&T Park...a pretty ballpark full of casual fans who don't cheer for their team, hang posters supporting their players, and know their baseball.

Anonymous said...

Don't worry Bill. I've heard that same thing from so many other Bay Area residents regarding Giants games vs A's games. If they build it in Downtown Oakland, the fans will come and pack the house for a long while. The current die-hards that continue to support the team at the dated Coliseum will obviously still be attending and continue to be loud and knowledgeable to discuss the game of baseball.

The casual fans will just come from all over the rest of the Bay Area and possibly further away now to enjoy all the new hi-tech Cisco features that will make the ballpark stand out from the all rest.

Anonymous said...

Thats one idea I didn't like in Cisco field, touchpads for every seat...people come to watch the game. Thats too much if you ask me. Texters are already annoying, tens of thousands of people on touchpads at a game..omg...