03 September 2009

FAQ/Talking Points

While everyone's focused on the economic impact report (and rightly so), the City of San Jose managed to slip in one other document under the radar. This one's a Frequently Asked Questions (PDF) document, which seems to be timed specifically to provide ballpark proponents two new weapons for their arsenal. You can download the document from the provided link, or simply read on for the whole shebang.

Potential Ballpark
Frequently Asked Questions
1. How will the City of San Jose and the South Bay benefit economically from having a ballpark?
People throughout San Jose will benefit from the $2.9 billion in economic output from the Ballpark.
Employees will benefit from thousands of new job opportunities created by the construction and operation of the Ballpark.
Residents will benefit from City services supported by the additional $1.5 million a year in General Fund revenues from the Ballpark.
Local business will benefit form the $130 million annual economic output driven by spending from new visitors to downtown, and the spending of the team itself for their business operations and service providers for the operation of the ballpark itself.
The entire local economy will benefit from the stimulus of new spending and investment during a time of global economic downturn.
2. How many new jobs will the project create?
The Ballpark would generate almost 1,000 new jobs a year, once in operation, on top of some 350 new construction jobs in San Jose for each of three years. These jobs include full, part time, and seasonal positions.
3. Who is paying for the new ballpark? How much will the ballpark cost the public?
The Major League Baseball team to be responsible for the cost of constructing and operating the ballpark facility.
4. Is there a plan to deal with the increase traffic and noise?
The Mayor and City Council have directed the initiation of a community engagement process and the formation of a Good Neighbor Committee for the Diridon Station Area (the area around the ballpark site). The purpose of this committee is to provide a forum to work collaboratively in addressing the issues and opportunities that arise from proposed projects in the Diridon Area, including a Major League Baseball ballpark.
5. Why was the Diridon site chosen as a potential ballpark site? Why not another (existing) site?
The site was chosen because it is the only identified site in downtown San Jose that is large enough for a Major League Baseball facility that is readily accessible by freeways and major public transportation facilities including Caltrain, VTA bus and light rail.
Access to the project will be further enhanced with the planned BART and High Speed Rail connections at Diridon Station. With the addition of BART and High Speed Rail to Diridon Station the site represents one of the best development sites in the entire Bay Area.
6. What is the timeline for the project?
There are many milestones to accomplished for a project like the baseball stadium to constructed and opened. The first step is for Major League Baseball to come to a conclusion on territorial rights. Pending a favorable conclusion, a vote by the citizens of San Jose will be necessary. It is anticipated that this will be necessary. It is anticipated that this will occur in 2010. If all goes well, the earliest a ballpark would open is Spring 2014.

SJ Economic Impact Report

I'll get into the nitty gritty later tonight. For now I'll make a few observations on the new Economic Impact Report:

1. The firm used for this version, Conventions Sports & Leisure, is the same one used by the City of Santa Clara for their 49ers stadium study. I will be looking carefully for unrealistic projections.

2. Cost of the 32,000-seat ballpark is projected to be $461 million in 2009 dollars, $489 million in 2011 dollars. Ballpark would open in 2014.

3. The City's projected impact is ~$1.5 million in additional general fund revenue, net of increased city service costs ($45k). The A's would pay for all gameday police, emergency and traffic expenses.

4. Projected 2.1 million in attendance plus 3 non-baseball events.

5. 50% of attendees would not be from
San Jose and would be coming in solely for an A's game.

6. Jobs - 350 during construction period, 980 net new jobs including 138 ballpark-specific jobs. I'll get into why I'm skeptical about this later.

7. There are hints about what kind of deal could be struck within the numbers. Think property taxes.

8. An alternative development scenario projects just over 1 million new s.f. In office space. It could produce nearly 3x the number of post-construction jobs but yield $300k less tax revenue annually. The difference here is that completion of the construction would occur some 20 years after a ballpark due to commercial market conditions.

9. Yes, there is a section devoted to indirect impacts, which I will largely ignore.

10. This is the first official analysis from the City which refers to the A's by name (88 instances).