City responds to A's interest in Coli site and $$$$ pledge
OAFC BBS - All Topics: Archive: City responds to A's interest in Coli site and $$$$ pledge
Council is eager to keep A's
Cautious optimism greets A's
By Paul T. Rosynsky, STAFF WRITER
OAKLAND -- Now that the Oakland A's have said they would spend up to $100 million for a new ballpark in the city,
East Bay officials acknowledged Friday it's up to them to figure out what it will take to make the project happen.
The revelation that A's owners believe the Coliseum parking lot is the best location for a new ballpark and they're not interested in moving to the South Bay has sparked enthusiasm among local leaders.
"There is now a big piece of the puzzle filled," said Oakland City Councilman Danny Wan (East Lake-Chinatown). "We can start talking now."
The A's position gives both political and business leaders something to work with as they begin the tedious task of trying to secure financing, they said.
"This is going to cause a lot of people to say, 'OK, here we go,'" said Joe Haraburda, president of the Oakland Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce. "The creative juices will start flowing."
But while the report was
viewed in the East Bay as an A's commitment to Oakland, it was seen as a negotiating ploy by South Bay baseball boosters.
"They have to say they want to stay in Oakland," said Larry Stone, a longtime South Bay baseball backer and Santa Clara County assessor. "They can't go up there and say we are going to look in the South Bay, but we want this site."
Alameda County Supervisor Scott Haggerty, who has lobbied for a ballpark in Fremont, also questioned the report's findings.
"I approach this very guarded," he said. "I am not convinced that the A's are not still thinking somewhere else outside the county."
Speculation that the A's would eventually move to the South Bay has permeated any discussion about a new ballpark for the team.
But to make such a move south, the team would have to challenge Major League Baseball territorial rights. Lew Wolff, the A's vice president for venue development, said Thursday that's one avenue the team is not interested in pursuing. Territorial rights give every baseball team an area around its host city where no other team may relocate unless approved by fellow owners.
The San Francisco Giants own rights to Santa Clara County and probably would demand a large payment from the A's to relinquish them.
Despite Wolff's statements and report, South Bay leaders continued to boast about Silicon Valley's strong business community and deep pockets.
"I don't think (the report's) findings are something that we did not know already," said David Vossbrink, San Jose Mayor Ron Gonzales' spokesman. "We always thought it would be a challenge."
East Bay officials dismissed the bravado and said now that the team has shown its hand, the local business community will follow.
"We finally have a proposal, it is a proposal with dollars, so it is time to analyze and look at what can be done," said Councilmember Jane Brunner (North Oakland). "We are no longer negotiating with ourselves."
But serious questions about how the local governments and business community could come up with almost $300 million -- the ballpark is expected to cost in the $400 million range -- remain unanswered.
Would a bond measure have to go before voters?
Can the city incorporate the ballpark into a redevelopment plan for the Coliseum neighborhood?
How would the Oakland Raiders and Golden State Warriors react to the possibility of having a third stadium built within the Coliseum complex?
"You're moving too fast," said City Council President Ignacio De La Fuente. "These things take a long time, you have to look at different formulas."
Politics will also will play a role, as past talks about building a new ballpark for the A's were debunked by Oakland Mayor Jerry Brown and his desire for housing downtown.
Brown continued to display his disinterest for a new stadium Friday.
"I can't comment at this stage of the discussion," he said through representative T.T. Nhu.
Others, however, said Brown's support for a new ballpark is now irrelevant.
"Jerry is termed out in 2006, and I don't think the mayor is focused on the A's or anything else in Oakland," said Councilman Larry Reid (Elmhurst-East Oakland). "There is enough leadership on this council to move this issue through the process."
Any possible scenario is also made easier by the A's desire to remain close to the Coliseum.
The land is owned by the Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum Authority. It's a transportation hub and there are plans to redevelop the surrounding neighborhood.
"The vision for that whole area is one that will give us a new stadium in a place where people can come and eat and shop and spend the whole day," Reid said.
De La Fuente said he expects a more detailed report from the A's within a month. In the meantime, he said he will begin discussions on creating a task force of city, county and business leaders.
"We will assemble the people and go to work," he said. "There are a lot of pieces that still have to be put together."
Here's from the CocoTimes:
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Posted on Sat, Jul. 24, 2004
ERIC GILMORE: TIMES COLUMNIST
Multiple investors could fund stadium
That appears to be the best solution for the A's, who would find it very difficult to get Oakland to shell out $300 million
SO A'S STADIUM czar Lewis Wolff has finished his long-awaited report for A's co-owners Steve Schott and Ken Hofmann, outlining a plan of attack in their quest for a new baseball-only stadium.
At first glance, you might think it adds up to good news for loyal A's fans in the East Bay who fear their team will be sold and moved.
Under Wolff's plan, the A's would be willing to kick in up to $100 million for a new stadium, but only if it's built at the Oakland Coliseum parking lot, deemed by him to be the most affordable spot in Oakland.
All thoughts of building a stadium in the South Bay or the East Bay suburbs are apparently out.
It's Oakland or bust. So what's not to like, other than the thought of a stadium on this far-from-sexy site alongside the Nimitz Freeway?
Well, do the math, and what's not to like is obvious. The price tag for a new stadium at this site is around $400 million. Even if Schott and Hofmann fork over $100 million, someone else will have to pay $300 million.
Where's that money going to come from? Oakland's schools are broke, sending out pink slips as if they were pieces of junk mail. The city has higher priorities: public safety, housing and education, to name three.
What's more, Oakland taxpayers already have been burned by a sports deal gone bad. They spent millions to expand the Coliseum and entice Al Davis to bring the Raiders back to Oakland from Los Angeles in 1995.
Since then, the Raiders have had far more television blackouts than sellouts. A supposed silver and black cash cow turned into a black hole, devouring millions of taxpayer dollars, many of those used to fight Davis in court.
These folks have been burned once. They won't be burned again. At least you hope not.
If Schott and Hofmann truly want a new stadium in Oakland, they'll need to be much more creative and accept much more of the financial burden.
This isn't Cleveland. This isn't Pittsburgh. This is the Bay Area, and the Giants have set the bar incredibly high when it comes to building a stadium.
The Giants paid for their own sparkling new home. They didn't raid the city's vault, the traditional way professional sports teams have financed new stadiums.
Those tax-grab days are done in the Bay Area. If the 49ers can't get more than the promise of $100 million from taxpayers for a new football stadium, what chance do the A's have of getting $300 million? You know the answer.
Wolff, the A's vice president for venue development, has a one-year option to buy a controlling interest in the A's if he lands the team a new stadium.
If they don't want to foot the bill themselves, Schott and Hofmann should follow the Giants' lead and recruit an entire team of investors to own the A's and build a new stadium.
Granted, the corporate pockets in the East Bay are not as deep as those the Giants tapped, but there is no shortage of multimillionaires on this side of the Bay Bridge who might want to own a piece of the A's. Someone must own all those Mercedes, vineyard estates and hilltop mansions in the East Bay.
Schott has dropped not-so-veiled threats before that he may have to move the team or sell it to someone out of the area if he doesn't get a new stadium. Baseball commissioner Bud Selig never misses a chance to say the A's can't survive in Oakland without a new stadium. Wolff reportedly reached the same conclusion.
They might be right, although that's debatable. Finding a way to build that new stadium without burdening the taxpayers should be Wolff's next project.
Contact Eric Gilmore at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Just to make sure I'm not violating Lil's definition of "prejudiced", I asked for feelings on Selig, because it looks like his intransigence on allowing the A’s into Santa Clara County is actually a major, if not the main factor forcing them to come up with a responsible proposal to keep the team in Oakland.
I share a pervasive distaste for the guy, but he seems to bumble himself into some good things. Interleague play was widely ridiculed, but that has been a hit with fans. The All-Star debacle has resulted in the game determining home field in the Series, which adds a bit of drama and may change the way the game is managed to some degree.
So I wonder if this is a similar scenario, planned or unintentional on his part, that may work out for the better?
I asked for feelings on Selig, because it looks like his intransigence on allowing the A’s into Santa Clara County is actually a major, if not the main factor forcing them to come up with a responsible proposal to keep the team in Oakland.
No FH, this time you are not using prejudice towards the OAFC, you're just showing lack of information on this issue.
Selig is not intransigent at all in regards to the Giants' rights to Santa Clara. He merely stated that the A's would have to settle with the Giants the amount of money they (the Giants) would deem fair in giving up the territory given to them by MLB when they made the loans to build PacBell.
Selig even already stated that the territorial rights of the Giants in this case is not at all related to the Expos vs Baltimore territorial rights. He said, (paraphrased) "it is up to the Giants and A's to settle that problem"...which means if the Giants ask for 20 million per year for the rest of their debt service of 16 years...and the A's are willing to pay them...I'm sure Schott could have his quite extragant pipe dream of being a home town hero.
It is up to the A's to pony up the money to the Giants and Selig would not be opposed at all to a relocation to Santa Clara or San Jose.
| By kevink on Saturday, July 24, 2004 - 10:30 pm:|
Why is every column assuming that a new stadium would cost $400 million or more? The figures HOK presented a few years ago showed that in most of the locations, we were looking at numbers in the $300M's. Maybe it's just that Real Estate costs have gone up?
| By bparkjamo on Saturday, July 24, 2004 - 11:05 pm:|
HOK designs pricy ballparks,lots of needless square footage.
| By ramjet1 on Sunday, July 25, 2004 - 07:59 am:|
bparkjamo, I'm assuming you've read Phillip Bess's book;
This might sound absurd, but it seems to me one could save a fortune by not building all the high-tech stuff. If I'm not mistaken, Wrigley still has a manual scoreboard and nothing else.
Do we really need those mega-screens? I don't know about anyone else, but they just annoy me. I could do without all the stupid dot-racing type stuff.
Also, I don't see the need to post player stats and out of town scores anymore. Most of us who care nowadays have web-based cell-phones and can get that information on the internet.
I'd like to see a simple ballpark with plenty of charm, but lay off the bells and whistles.
| By kevink on Sunday, July 25, 2004 - 07:37 pm:|
Chris H, I totally agree.
I think Oakland could do something different and NOT build a copy of Camden, Pac Bell, Petco, etc. They need to get creative on how to save money. We may need an ugly coke bottle for revenue but is a whiffle ball park really necessary?
| By oaktownfan on Sunday, July 25, 2004 - 09:10 pm:|
I agree, keep the park basic and simple. That's why I am a huge fan of PNC in Pittsburg. Simple and one of the jewels in all of baseball. I'm not a huge fan of the huge scoreboards but you will need some high tech stuff like the video screens and electronic scoreboards above the concourses like PNC has. Really, PNC is the most basic of all the new parks built the past decade.
"If I'm not mistaken, Wrigley still has a manual scoreboard and nothing else."
I don't know if they built them in this year, but Wrigley does now have digital scoreboards all around the park. They have adverstising visible too now which they were the last to incorporate and which made Wrigley the last real "baseball only" parks.
I'd like to see them come up with a basic but modern design. I've had it with the retro parks.
The new European parks, like the the City of Manchester built for soccer would be great (of course adapted for baseball).
| By ramjet1 on Monday, July 26, 2004 - 12:37 pm:|
Park design should be appropriate to location and surrounding architecture. A modern design could concievable work at the Coliseum parking lot because there is no prevailing design pattern in the neighborhood. A retro park could work better downtown because you have older buildings dating from the Victorian era the park is trying to imitate. This is the role of the architects
| By bparkjamo on Monday, July 26, 2004 - 09:25 pm:|
I am very familiar with Phillip Bess.
He came up with a great plan for replacing old comiskey park.But HOK got the job,and built that toilet they now call us cellular field,which is going through a renovation (by HKS)to make it look like all the other retro parks.
I have not seen his new book,but perhaps in the near future.
I just got back from a trade show,talking with some of the architects who do stadiums. I have met most of them over the last ten years.
My focus is on the coliseum site,but I will begin the "site B" design soon. I got some information on technology which may lower the cost of the ballpark quite a bit,I can say no more now.
I hope to hear back from Mr. DeLaFuente soon,maybe get the ball rolling.
Oakland cannot afford an HOK ballpark,period.
| By eyleenn on Monday, July 26, 2004 - 09:59 pm:|
Best of luck, bpjamo! Keep us informed!
| By tekgraf on Tuesday, July 27, 2004 - 08:02 pm:|
I think ramjet is correct. Depending on the site an appropreate design should be used.
If it's built in the parking lot, then perhaps a more modern design should be used. Such as the design for the Pompedue [sic] Center in Paris is a good example of urban modernism.
Or, if built in downtown, then a hybrid of art deco and modern should be used.
Which ever is used, it should be unique to Oakland and it's environment.
| By oaktownfan on Tuesday, July 27, 2004 - 09:51 pm:|
I not a big Del Grande fan but he had a few lines I agree with in his article today in the Trib explaining that this Schott/Hoffman offer to contribute 100 million to a new park might be a complete bs like the way he offered Giambi a contract but hoped he never really had to pay.
What's not making us think that the A's ownership is doing the same thing here. Everybody still knows that the A's ownership would still move the team to the south bay in a second if everything went his way instead of staying in Oakland.
I still don't trust this ownership group even though I was too excited about the news the past week Until I see some concreate evidence that they are really serious about staying here, which means some dirt being lifted in a ceromony for the building of a new park in Oakland somewhere; I'm skeptical about this ownership group and always will be.
This is exactly why I'm cautiously optimistic.
We should not forget the fact that Schott last year admitted he never intented to sell the team when he put it on the market when Piccinini made his bid for the team in 1997. He admitted his intention was to break the existing 10 year lease
and the proposed sale was bogus all along.
At the time I was amazed he admitted to this, but I guess Piccinini waived his rights to sue the so Schott never bothered to even hide this and even boasted about it.
I will also always be skeptical of this ownership's intentions.
| By rono on Tuesday, July 27, 2004 - 11:19 pm:|
A site at the Coliseum would not have any real estate cost as the land is already owned by public agencies, making the cost lower, also the infrastructure is substantially in place. That said, it will never happen. Schott/Wolff are playing games.They know the Raiders will block it and the city will have a hard time raising the 200 million. Then they can say we tried.
| By goldtymer on Tuesday, July 27, 2004 - 11:21 pm:|
That is why the City needs to nail some better sponsorships and get this crap financed.
The city needs a top finance guy to get this done because Wolf isn't Oakland ALCO's guy.
He is Schottman's guy.
| By bparkjamo on Wednesday, July 28, 2004 - 08:14 am:|
If Oakland gets the finances lined up for a ballpark,it will be built. The Raiders (read Al Davis) will whine about getting further renovations,that's all they can do. the big issue is going to be if the raiders or warriors get a piece of the parking garage revenue. If/when the city get the financing in place,it would certainly put the A's on the spot. I can hardly wait.
I totally agree with bparkjamo and goldtymer...
This may very well be posturing from the A's owners but the it is now time for the city get on with a solid and serious financing plan in order to call of their bluff,,,if indeed it is a bluff and a set-up for later relocation.
| By goldtymer on Wednesday, July 28, 2004 - 09:29 pm:|
Thank you Lil,
IF this is a bluff, Oakland needs to call it and close the deal.
| By oaktownfan on Thursday, July 29, 2004 - 11:28 pm:|
I wonder if we are going to ever hear anymore news about this deal. In my eyes, if nothing is heard from again in the next 6-9 months, it was another show from this ownership group that they'll say anything to get pr.
Hell, the attendace the past week was slightly up from what it was so at least the A's fanbase has some hope.
I'm still wondering where that supposed perspective buyer is announed last fall is who was thought to wanting to buy part of the A's.
I'm sure we'll keep hearing about this deal (ballpark in Oakland) but I have my doubts we'll hear all of what is going on behind the scenes, especially when we know how the present A's owners (sorry but I must include the silent one since he is an owner) conduct their business...shall I say multi-tasking or multi-sighting...while faking a commitment to Oakland that never existed from the start!!!!!
And we also have to keep in mind Selig and his cohorts who ultimately give thumbs up or down on any deal...
On this week's Sports Weekly, Bob Nightengale "The Buzz" has this little tidbit:
"Los Angeles land developer Lew Wolff, who has an option to buy the Oakland
A's, is exploring the possibility of moving the franchise to Las Vegas."
Not hard not to link Selig to this since he has gone on record in support of Vegas as a possible viable host city. And we already know Wolff is very good friends and was seen in Selig's luxury box during the All Star Game.
For various reasons, Las Vegas probably wouldn't work. First of all, with all of the casinos there, I'm sure the casino owners wouldn't want to lose money to a ballpark, and i'm sure that they will have a big say in all of this. Second, Can Las vegas really support a team? I think not. And Third, a team would have to rely on tourist as most of their fan base. So for those reasons, I heavily doubt that Las Vegas can support a team.
And as far as Portland is concerned, I hear that their is few busineses there that would be interested in helping fund a new ballpark. Plus Portland is not a big business city according to reports.
I for one believe that to Selig and his cartel there is only one thing sacred in MLB and that's
Some people think Vegas has a very good chance to get a team in near future.
| By eyleenn on Friday, July 30, 2004 - 02:11 pm:|
Selig stated on a recent segment of "Outside the Lines" that he thinks Vegas is a viable site for a team.
I Still have my doubts on Vegas
| By goldtymer on Friday, July 30, 2004 - 03:41 pm:|
I smelled serious poo poo while reading that article.
Insinuating that the MLB is lighter on LV and Gambling now because 34 states have casinos is a crock!
Indian casinos here and there is one thing, the Gambling Capitol of the world is another, apples & oranges.
Lil is right, it is all about the Benjamins and while they move on into Vegas someday (and they will) they can continue to spout sanctimonius parables about Pete Rose.
GT, if you smelled poo poo in previous linked article, you will smell an entire raw sewage plant while reading this next and newest development which is going on right as we speak...
Teamscape and LVSE, formerly the Las Vegas Stadium Co., LLC, comprise a coast-to-coast team of investors who submitted a proposal of more than 100 pages to the relocation committee Friday.
Teamscape is led by entrepreneur Lou Weisbach of Niles, Ill., and includes Chicago Cubs broadcaster and former pitcher Steve Stone. Its main mission is the formation of a potential Expos ownership group
One can see Selig's finger all over this deal, including his ol friend Steve Stone, who was part of that "trojan horse" group which surfaced in the eleventh hour when the Dolich/Piccinini group was buying the A's.
So...I guess the A's will just have to wait it's turn...
hope this link works now
| By goldtymer on Friday, July 30, 2004 - 04:32 pm:|
Like Steve Stone, the old Giant?
Didn't he have like ONE good year 79 or 80 I think?
Vegas, what a bunch of Hypocrates.
Think I'll go to Casino Barona tonight..
yup...the same dude
Why does it seem like some people here are already basically handing the A's to Las Vegas as if a potential ballpark in Oakland is still not somewhat a possibility? I'm not saying everyone here is, it just seems as if some of the attitudes are shifting. I'm still very optimistic that a ballpark can be done in Oakland. One reason is because it was clearly stated in the report that the owners are not interested in owning a team out of the Bay Area, and i'm sure that Schitt and Coughman are not ready to give up those benjamins that they are making by owning the A's.
No, I remain cautiously optimistic and hope the civic leaders involved in coming up with the financial plan come forward with something viable and solid.
However, lessons from the past should remind us not to be complacent and the city should be ready for some unpleasant surprises coming from Selig's camp.
| By rono on Saturday, July 31, 2004 - 01:34 am:|
I was in Vegas over last weekend. The proposed site is right behind the Bally's and Paris Casinos. I think the casinos no longer look at a stadium as a threat to business at least as long as it is in their back yard. According to local people I talked with, they say financing the stadium is not a problem as long as the casinos are supporting it.That solves a big problem for MLB,geting the stadium financed. By the way the Las Vegas 51's played the Rivercats in Vegas over the weekend. Sundays game was a day game played in 110 degree heat and accoding to the papers attendance was 300 YESSSS 300 people. Ironically, none of the other professional teams have done well there , minor league hockey, ,XFL etc.
Well you can't really count the XFL because the whole thing shut down after one season.
| By eyleenn on Saturday, July 31, 2004 - 06:12 pm:|
Who would want to go to a game in 110 degree heat??? Only an indoor stadium would work in Vegas.
| By bparkjamo on Saturday, July 31, 2004 - 10:01 pm:|
The Vegas ballpark would seat 40,000 for baseball,and have an operable roof.
If it is built.
| By kevink on Sunday, August 01, 2004 - 09:12 am:|
Also they play games in Texas in 90+ degree heat with humidity which is even worse (and will contribute to the Rangers eventual fade this year).
| By goldtymer on Sunday, August 01, 2004 - 09:40 am:|
A little off topic but....speaking of the XFL not doing well....
I was working in Oakland City Center at the time and up several floors when the XFL Blimp was floating around.
We noticed the blimp starting to "not do too well".
One of my co-workers put on some Led Zeppelin and we watched it go down. We lost sight of it just before it cracked into the restaurant but weere able to pull up the pictures on the net.
What a beautiful metaphor and sign of things to come.