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This weeks SF business times cover article

OAFC BBS - All Topics: Archive: This weeks SF business times cover article
Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of pageLink to this message   By ramjet on Monday, May 06, 2002 - 08:37 pm:

Business balks at ballpark
Landowners like their original game plans
Jessica Materna

Building an Oakland ballpark at either of two proposed sites would throw some of the city's largest landowners into the lineup -- but few are enthusiastic about getting into the game.

The city, Port of Oakland, Jack London Square developers Ellis Partners, commercial property magnates Len Epstein, Phil Tagami and developer Alan Dones are among those owning substantial pieces of property near Uptown and the Howard Terminal, according to Alameda County records.

Recent news that the A's will renew their lease at the Coliseum for five more years intensified the presumption that the city needs to get serious about choosing one site or the other.

But despite the bonanza that Pacific Bell Ballpark has created for neighboring landowners in San Francisco, property owners near Oakland's possible ballpark sites are cool to the possibility of cashing in. Most owned their sites before a nearby ballpark came up for discussion and have plans they say won't be influenced by the city's ballpark maneuvers.

Alan Dones, president of the Oakland-based development firm ADCo., said he plans to move forward on his proposal to build 100,000 square feet of office space for Alameda County on 20th Street and San Pablo Avenue near Uptown. His firm also plans to build affordable and market-rate housing units on the former Oakland Post lot.

"We'd like to see something happen in Uptown, either Forest City's plan (for up to 2,000 homes and retail) or the ballpark, because both have the potential to have positive results, but we're also realistic, knowing that both plans are challenging," Dones said. "We're not changing our plans."

Phil Tagami has two roles in the matter as the president of the Port of Oakland's commissioners and as a managing partner for California Commercial Investments -- a real estate sales, development and management company with several properties surrounding the Uptown site. He has remained neutral on his preferred site choice, adding that neither the city nor the port should consider a ballpark its highest priority.

"The port's focus should be maritime and aviation, and the city's should be police, fire, parks and recreation and libraries, of which several are suffering following the Raiders deal," Tagami said. "The question is: How much can you justify spending in exploring and developing a new stadium if the intention of the ownership is to sell its team or contract? And if it's the intention of the ownership to stay, how much can they commit to develop a new stadium? The decision of a location can come after these questions are answered, and the decision should come with both the city's and the port's priorities in mind."

Not in my backyard

One large property owner near Howard Terminal -- industrial recycler Schnitzer Steel -- said it doesn't want the ballpark near the bay, even though owner Gary Schnitzer said an unnamed Oakland A's representative approached him on the idea.

"The Port of Oakland is one of the largest container ports in the country, and it has a limited amount of water," Schnitzer said. "If you start gobbling up the waterfront with a stadium, and take it away from the port, I can't see how that would help the Bay Area's commerce." The 90-acre Howard Terminal, sitting west of Jack London Square, handles about 20 percent of the port's intake of containers, according to port officials.

Schnitzer's 34 acres sits immediately adjacent to the Howard Terminal. His site has been mentioned as an acquisition target as part of a stadium project there.

Schnitzer conceded that Schnitzer Steel's land may have "a higher and better use as a ballpark stadium," but that his company provides a valuable service by being the largest metal recycling company on the West Coast. When approached by an Oakland A's representative about whether he'd sell his land for a potential ballpark, Schnitzer said he told the rep, "No, thank you."

Still, some property owners conceded they'd consider cashing in if a new stadium appeared near their land. Others said they'd hold onto their land, knowing its value would increase being close to a stadium.

"We've been buying and selling in the downtown area since 1992, so it obviously didn't have anything to do with a stadium," Tagami said. "But if we were approached to sell because of a new stadium, and the offer was justified, meaning, we could move equity into another investment like what was done when we sold Latham Square for the Rotunda, then, yeah, we'd consider it."

Who owns what

In the Howard Terminal area, the larger land owners include: Port of Oakland, Schnitzer Steel, Ellis Partners LLC, Merritt Sher and PG&E.

In Uptown, located between 17th and 20th streets and San Pablo and Telegraph avenues, the larger neighboring property owners include:

City of Oakland;

Greyhound, which has a terminal on 20th Street and San Pablo Avenue;

Sears Development Co., which owns its building on 19th Street and Broadway, an entire block on 19th Street between San Pablo and Telegraph, and a lot on 18th Street between San Pablo and Telegraph;

ADCo., a development firm looking to turn the former Oakland Post building on 20th Street into the Alameda County Self-Sufficiency Project offices;

Alex Hahn, who owns two parking lots on Telegraph Avenue; and,

California Commercial Investments, which owns the Rotunda, 1600 Broadway, 1733 Broadway and 1933 Broadway.

Jessica Materna covers East Bay real estate for the San Francisco Business Times.

Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of pageLink to this message   By eyleenn on Tuesday, May 07, 2002 - 03:00 pm:

"How much can you justify spending in exploring and developing a new stadium if the intention of the ownership is to sell its team or contract? And if it's the intention of the ownership to stay, how much can they commit to develop a new stadium?"

Schottmann really needs to make a BIG statement here.

Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of pageLink to this message   By gregorymark on Thursday, May 09, 2002 - 12:32 pm:

The lack of vision among Oakland City officials, the apparent lack of interest within the business community for a new ballpark, and the lack of commitment and comment from Mr. Schott....they all add up to a very depressing situation vis-a-vis a new park for the A's.

Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of pageLink to this message   By rono on Saturday, May 11, 2002 - 12:54 am:

The Howard terminal site was suggested by the Port some time ago along with the 9th Ave Terminal. Neither of these facilities is up to date and can't handle the newer, larger ships so their long term usefulness is questionable. This is why they are taking over some of the old Army
Supply Center space and some of the Alameda Naval space which will provide greater access for the bigger vessels.

Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of pageLink to this message   By diamond_lil on Saturday, May 11, 2002 - 09:13 am:

>>The lack of vision among Oakland City officials, the apparent lack of interest within the business community for a new ballpark, and the lack of commitment and comment from Mr. Schott....they all add up to a very depressing situation vis-a-vis a new park for the A's. <<

I think we should be a bit careful when making statements such as above.

There are some Oakland City Officials who have been very diligent and very committed to keeping the A's in Oakland and to find a viable proposal for a new ballpark.

There are also some in the business community who are very interested but cautious of course...It is a difficult thing to deal with MLB, as we've all seen in the past.

The fans who have been involved closely with what has been done can attest to that...but those fans who are just sitting home waiting for something to fall from the sky shouldn't just point fingers and criticize from afar either...after all, when all is said and done...the ones who have turned their backs on the team waiting for something to happen will ultimately get the blame for the loss of the team and rightfully so...

Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of pageLink to this message   By athleticsfan on Sunday, May 12, 2002 - 07:10 pm:

I agree complacency would be the #1 reason to killing a new ball park deal in Oakland or Alameda County. However politicians and officials like IDLF, Nancy Nadel or Danny Wan would not be far behind in killing this potential deal for whatever reasons red tape or delays, egos, pride, power hungry, ignorance, socialist agendas etc.

IDLF so incompetent, ignorant not to mention full of himself. He has done more harm then good for the city, he made the Raiders Deal even worse with his incompetence. He still thinks the A's don't need a new ballpark as Carl Steward said in his column the other day. If we do get a new ballpark in Oakland, I don't want someone like IDLF touching the operations of the new ballpark with a ten foot pole.

Another factor that could kill the new ballpark deal is a lack of real estate or land to build the new ballpark. Land owners around the water front sites don't seem very interested in selling their land for a new park as the article above stated. Whats even more disturbing the Uptown Site, the most ideal and prefered site may end up being used for something else. We all know a down town ballpark would be much more profitable for the City then any other project lined up.

Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of pageLink to this message   By diamond_lil on Sunday, May 12, 2002 - 08:20 pm:

According to some city officials working in the new ballpark project, the Uptown site can very well be part of the rest of the housing development.

They are doing their homework and getting the financial proposals ready...

I keep the faith that this Uptown Site will be too much of a good thing to be turned down.

Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of pageLink to this message   By athleticsfan on Sunday, May 12, 2002 - 11:41 pm:

I agree Diamond, there is enough space downtown for both the Uptown Ballpark and whatever else the city has in mind.

I just think some anti-ballpark officials might try make seem like Its One Or The Other!! Offcourse we know there is room for a New Ballpark and more Housing or whatever they have in mind. If anything downtown Oakland could use all the revenue they can get.

Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of pageLink to this message   By rono on Monday, May 13, 2002 - 01:45 pm:

The key issue is the 90-day buyout. It is time for the A's to make a committment. This not a five year lease . It is a 90-day lease. The city and county have made the committment to hire consultants to study the project and are working on financing. What have the A's done . Nothing.

Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of pageLink to this message   By rono on Monday, May 13, 2002 - 05:31 pm:

The A's get 10-12 million per year in stadium revenue including all the concession profit almost all the parking and the indoor stadium advertising. Paying 450,000 in rent is no big deal. It is time for the A's to quit looking for every loop hole and out. It is time for them to step up and make a long term committment. If I was with the city or county I would insist on a solid five-year deal if they are serious about getting a new stadium. We can't get halfway through the process only to find that they have something better going on . The lease buyout means nothing.

Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of pageLink to this message   By tekgraf on Tuesday, May 14, 2002 - 05:21 pm:

come on people!!! The ball park will be built! Keep that in mind and think positively. Hell, IDLF is not a real force. If the city wants to build the park, then the city will build the park. No cheap politician is going to stop this. I live in the SOB's district and believe me there are a lot of A's fans amongst his constituents. Perhaps I should get a poll going on in the Fruitvale and San Antonio areas to see what support there is out here in little mexico. I wonder if Iggy got a thousand signatures would he then be convinced? What do all think? Oh, by the way, I'm hispanic, so I hope you all didn't take ofense to the little mexico crack.

Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of pageLink to this message   By ramjet1 on Wednesday, May 15, 2002 - 09:10 am:

Tekgraf, now your talkin vote this guy out of office and lets put somebody in there who cares about the city and not there ego.

Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of pageLink to this message   By diamond_lil on Wednesday, May 15, 2002 - 09:41 am:

Meanwhile, DLF is still in office and we all need his cooperation now and not when he is voted out of office.

Aside from what has been reported in the papers, DLF has not been the worst to speak out against the ballpark in Oakland. The two biggest voices against anything regarding a ballpark or a lease extension has been Danny Wan and of course Nancy Nadel.

DLF did vote to proceed with the ballpark plans... his only objection to the present proposal of the lease extension was that Haggerty did not include Mr. Trafton and Mr. Brown in the negotiations with the A's. He (DLF) claims that the JPA hired these non political people for the purpose of negotiating with the A's and these people should be part of any dealings with the A's.

I think DLF does receive some deserving criticism (mostly because of the Raiders deals), but some of it is certainly fueled by the media, i.e. Glenn Dickey and a few others...especially in what concerns the present negotiations.

Besides, I feel that DLF does not back down from a fight and is not one to be intimidated, so we may be able to make some progress through civil dialogue instead.

He has responded well to a few e-mails I've sent him and he agreed to meet with us (Chris and me) to discuss some of the issues re the lease and future of the A's in Oakland.

I trully believe that right now we can get somewhere with good, informed and strong dialogue.
Let's give it a chance and see where it gets us.

Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of pageLink to this message   By ramjet1 on Wednesday, May 15, 2002 - 03:23 pm:

That is true Lil DLF has been willing to listen to both sides of the argument and I do feel he has learned a lot from his experience with the Raiders. It's just that sometimes he appears to be a big road block and than other times he quietly comes through and trumpets our issues. However, he is open minded and accessible to our cause which is positive and more than can be said for Nadel or Wan. Another candidate wouldn't neccesaarily know what to do and therefore would probably oppose a ballpark.

Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of pageLink to this message   By diamond_lil on Wednesday, May 15, 2002 - 03:34 pm:

ramjet,

I'm glad you see it this way too...
This is going to be a very difficult political process and what we should try to do is build on good sound information and very rational arguments instead of grandstanding methods which will really get us nowhere.

I think the attacks and negative press distruting blame and pointing fingers at people, with very little knowledge of what's really happening is not productive and could very well be a self serving (or other hidden agenda) way to derail the ballpark drive process.

We should continue to keep a very close and open communication with all the civic leaders, politicians and A's involved in this ballpark drive rather than join in senseless attacks which will get us nowhere.

Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of pageLink to this message   By gregorymark on Thursday, May 16, 2002 - 11:44 am:

"There are some Oakland City Officials who have been very diligent and very committed ..."

"SOME"...where are the rest of them?

And as far as fans who "sit at home from afar" waiting for things to fall into place, gee, Lil, I'm sorry I have a life and can't afford either the time or money to give myself 100% to the A's. For those of you who can dedicate your time and resources, congratulations, and more power to you. But don't piss all over those of us who actually have lives aside from watching baseball.

Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of pageLink to this message   By diamond_lil on Thursday, May 16, 2002 - 11:59 am:

I'm not the one pissing on anybody...you are when you start making your blanket statements and generalizations about what is going on in Oakland right now...

You said:
"The lack of vision among Oakland City officials, the apparent lack of interest within the business community for a new ballpark, and the lack of commitment and comment from Mr. Schott....they all add up to a very depressing situation vis-a-vis a new park for the A's. "

You said the Oakland Officials have no vision. Well, some do and some don't. There are some officials who truly believe the A's can leave and don't really give a damn...others are working very hard to find a viable solution to this difficult process. There are many people working very hard in this project. Some are from the business community and some are just fans of the game and of Oakland.

I respect that you have a life and don't want or can't get involved...what I don't respect are your blanket statements on this matter when you don't really know what is being done or not done.


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