Coliseum area seen as a new frontier
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| By ronc on Friday, July 09, 2004 - 03:40 pm:|
OAKLAND - For Councilman Larry Reid, who represents the tumbledown neighborhood with the city's highest number of homicides and a soaring unemployment rate, a plan to transform almost 40 acres around the Oakland Coliseum is a long-sought panacea.
He envisions swarms of Bay Area residents pouring into the neighborhood for baseball, football and basketball games, and then doing the unthinkable before leaving on BART: milling about, grabbing a bite to eat or -- gasp -- shopping for a new home.
"This is an opportunity to not only change a community and establish a sense of pride in the African-American community, but also to change a city," Reid said.
The dream inched another step closer to reality Thursday, when the BART board of directors authorized an Oakland-based nonprofit group to negotiate on its behalf to transform an 8-acre parking lot into a 400-home development.
The parcel is just one cog in a transit village that would combine hundreds of homes, millions of square feet of office space and retail shopping, a BART link to Oakland International Airport and an Amtrak stop on the Capitol Corridor route.
It also mirrors development patterns around BART stations throughout the Bay Area, where planners are trying to splice higher density, in-fill housing next to key transportation lifelines.
"When people actually see a well-designed development that includes transit, residential and retail, they definitely see it as a nicer place to live next to than a parking lot," said Valerie Knepper, an associate planner with the Metropolitan Transportation Commission.
Transit villages can provide cheaper housing in tight real estate markets, while at the same time shortening commutes by offering nearby public transportation, she said. That would also reduce congestion for other commuters by taking cars off roadways, she said.
The spin-off influences mean more people have more time at home, as opposed to commuting, while cities reap higher sales and property taxes. Transit villages are under way from Pleasant Hill to Oakland to Walnut Creek and other areas.
"We see transit villages as being a really important component of how the region grows," Knepper said.
The Coliseum village has already begun. Thursday's deal shovels more coal in the steam train, officials said.
Ground broke last month on a 480-home development next door to BART's parking lot, just off 66th Avenue. The new negotiating agreement reached Thursday gives the Oakland Economic Development Corp. -- consisting largely of prominent African-American business and civic leaders -- 18 months to hammer out a development plan for the BART parking lot.
"This is the largest development project African-Americans will oversee in the whole state," Reid said.
The group already has a business partner lined up in MacFarlane Partners, a San Francisco-based minority-owned development firm responsible for the residential portions of Emeryville's Bay Street shopping district.
It already has a plan for the 400 units of market-rate housing, along with a replacement parking structure closer to the Coliseum, according to a proposal.
Jeffrey Ordway, BART's manager of property development and real estate services, said the transit agency will remain owners of the 8-acre lot but will lease out the land for development. BART will have final say on the development proposal following negotiations, he said.
While the 8-acre project was lauded Thursday by most BART board members, Director Tom Radulovich questioned whether entering into exclusive negotiations would yield the best results for the transit village.
The nonprofit development group did not have a formal process to seek developers, but rather approached the MacFarlane company after two other potential investors were deemed unfit. Opening up the process to other developers could produce more, and possibly better, plans, Radulovich said.
"In some ways, we cheat ourselves," Radulovich said.
BART's policy calls for an open selection process but allows for exclusive negotiations if they would provide better benefits. Reid, along with the rest of the BART board, said the transit village fits the caveat.
Director Joel Keller said the long-awaited project has moved so swiftly recently that he would hate to put the brakes on development plans, which are still five to 10 years away for some parts.
Director Carole Ward Allen was appointed as a BART liaison while negotiations continue. The concept of packing homes, transit, office and entertainment all in one would be a boon for the city, she said.
"I feel very strongly this will be a wonderful opportunity, a flagship for our community," she said.
Reid, putting some political chips at stake, promised the BART board the development deal would work out in the end. The neighborhood is counting on it, he said.
"This is an opportunity to leave a legacy."
| By goldtymer on Friday, July 09, 2004 - 03:47 pm:|
No s**t Sherlock!
It should have been done long, long ago....
Now we have what was a nice all purpose park, with a gigantic monstrosity in center field.
They best be developing a little of that for a baseball only stadium. That is the right place for it and the right way to do it and has been all along.
| By ronc on Friday, July 09, 2004 - 05:24 pm:|
Mt.Davis shmavis the action is on the field. What do people want? A giant coke bottle in the bleachers? A huge condom to cover Al's erection?
| By bubba69 on Friday, July 09, 2004 - 08:12 pm:|
Trojen Field....We know how to handle our wood!
| By jesse on Saturday, July 10, 2004 - 08:49 pm:|
"As far as the East Bay is concerned, we're sort of close to suggesting some things that might happen,'' Wolff said. "At the same time, putting together something that will work for all parties involved could very well prove difficult, so it may be that, eventually, we will need to look beyond the East Bay.''
| By goldtymer on Sunday, July 11, 2004 - 05:10 am:|
I do hate the B.S. set up.
Was this guy hired just to make it look like they did everything they could to keep the team here?
| By eyleenn on Sunday, July 11, 2004 - 10:28 am:|
Entirely possible, if not likely.
| By oaktownfan on Sunday, July 11, 2004 - 11:51 pm:|
"I do hate the B.S. set up.
Was this guy hired just to make it look like they did everything they could to keep the team here?"
These guys are the biggest jokers in the bay area. They are the worst owners and executives out of all the 5 major sports teams here.
John York is close but he hasn't even had the kind of bad pr that Schott and company have had.
This Wolff guy is similar to Peter Harris who York hired a while ago and he was supposed to do the same thing Wolff is by getting together support to help build the Niners a new venue to play in and Harris failed with that.
Hopefully Dave Newhouse read the poor comeback of a response that Crowley sent to the Trib and rips him and the A's owners even more. Hell, he's the only sports writer here in the bay area that knows what's really going on.
4 straight years in the playoffs.
2 Cy Young winners.
Great competitive baseball year in and year out. I find it much more enjoyable watching young players develop (even though they may get too expensive and move on) than watching a "best team money can buy" like the Red Sux or Yankers.
Fans in most other major league cities would love to enjoy such riches that we take for granted.
True... Steve Schott is a public relations nightmare; we are not even sure that Ken Hoffman has a pulse; Oakland politicos are an embarrassment; and Bud Selig is a bore. But I go to the ballpark to enjoy the game of baseball, not the business of baseball.
| By oaktownfan on Tuesday, July 13, 2004 - 12:36 am:|
You mention all those accomplishments but do you really credit Schott for that? Is that what you were thinking? I don't know.
I'd give the credit to Alderson who got the ball rolling and when he left, Beane took it and did a excellent job of taking the reins.
I've said it many times here, any half assed owner would ripped the team apart when Schott/Hoffman bought it and went to go the cheap way of building the team from within with the drafts.
Schott should count his blessings that he was handed a great minor league systems with great personal from Beane, Fuson, JP, and others.
But then to see your owner do the horendous job of pr that Schott has done for the past decade or so, he is the worst owner here.
I do not give Steve Schott "credit" for any of the A's baseball strategy. I do give him good marks for keeping his hands off the strategy developed and utilized by the GM, Billy Beane. While I do not agree with every detail of the Moneyball approach, I do applaud its success and enjoy great baseball as a result of it.
There are a number of baseball franchise owners that are considerably worse than Schott and Hoffman. Take a look at Milwaukee, Kansas City, Pittsburgh, Tampa Bay, Montreal, Colorado, and Detroit and ask yourself if you would prefer to have any of those franchises in Oakland rather than the A's franchise? Then there is Peter Angelos Baltimore francise, with a pretty ballpark, spending a fortune on talent, and still sucks.
Now, oaktownfan, ask yourself how bad are things here in Glocamora?
| By oaktownfan on Tuesday, July 13, 2004 - 11:17 pm:|
Schott/Hoffman lucked into having Beane. If any of those franchises had Beane during the mid 90s using his "moneyball" approach, they'd have maybe the same amount of success the A's have had for six years.
I wouldn't want those franchises but I'd take most their owners in a second.
If Schott had it his way, he'd already be in the south bay by now. How many owners have bought a team and instantly been demonized by the majority of the fanbase even through the success the team has had these past years.
Have any of those franchises you mentioned had owners looked to move the franchise the second they bought them. You think if any of those teams do well or have some success the A's have had recently, the owners still would be hated by the fans of that team.