SF Chronicle Interviews Wolff
by Ken Arneson
2006-01-22 8:33

The San Francisco Chronicle has an interesting interview with A’s owner Lew Wolff today.

Juicy tidbit, about how to finance the new park:

Cities don’t have a lot of money these days, and when they go into the bonding capacity, at the end of the day, the city is on the hook no matter if you have a joint powers agreement or you have a parking bond or revenue bond or tax increment bond.

What cities do have, especially in the area of growth, and the Bay Area, good or bad, is growing, whether it’s growing right or not is not my decision totally, they have zoning rights. We call them entitlements; you’re entitled to build 1,000 apartment units.

Those entitlements are the new currency, in my opinion, for cities, governments and regionals and counties and so forth.

More interesting notes:

  • The existing landowners north of the Coliseum wanted too much money. “Now all of a sudden, land that looked like it was $20 a square foot, they hear the A’s are there, all of a sudden, it’s Rodeo Drive in Beverly Hills.”
     
  • In order to build a new park on the existing Coliseum site, the Coliseum board would probably have to acquire the old Home Base property on Hegenberger, for parking.
     
  • First priority is Oakland, then Fremont and San Jose.
     

Reading between the lines, it seems that Wolff thinks a deal with the Giants over San Jose should be possible. I’d guess that the best way to get those rights is to threaten to build in Fremont. Fremont is in the A’s territory, where the Giants would get no compensation, but close enough to San Jose that the A’s would siphon off a lot of Silicon Valley revenue. Would the Giants rather have the A’s in Fremont and get no compensation, or have them in San Jose and receive $100 million (or whatever it would cost)?

Comments: 4
1.   Bob Timmermann
2006-01-22 09:00

1.  Time to ask my Alameda County planning office person just what Wolff means.

2.   Mark Linsey
2006-01-22 14:03

2.  Interesting interview.

I thought this was an amusing Fruedian slip:
"Unfortunately, I'm a close friend of the commissioner (Bud Selig).:

3.   joejoejoe
2006-01-22 17:02

3.  Is the compensation and territory infringement for moving franchises (Nats to Orioles territory) spelled out in any MLB document or handled on a case by case basis?

4.   Ken Arneson
2006-01-23 09:41

4.  Case by case, I'm sure. The Nats deal involved the O's getting a large majority stake in a new regional cable TV network that includes both teams, plus a guarantee on the price of the Orioles should Peter Angelos decide to sell. Those forms of compensation probably wouldn't apply to the A's-Giants situation.

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