SBD/Issue 142/Facilities & Venues

Sweet Kicks: MLS Earthquakes Reach Stadium Deal With San Jose

Wolff Reaches Deal For
San Jose Soccer Stadium
San Jose city officials and a group led by MLS Earthquakes Owner Lew Wolff yesterday reached a financial agreement on a $132M deal that "sets the stage for a [MLS] stadium near the airport as early as 2010," according to Joshua Molina of the SAN JOSE MERCURY NEWS. While the city council in May still must formally approve the terms of the deal, the agreement is a "giant step toward building the stadium and an accompanying retail, office and hotel project" on a 75-acre site. Wolff: "If and when we pull it off, it is going to make me feel -- well, at my age, that would be a great accomplishment." According to terms of the deal, Wolff and his partners would pay $132M for 66 acres of the site, formerly a FMC manufacturing plant, of which about 18 acres "will be set aside for the 18,000-seat soccer stadium and parking." Wolff also has agreed to buy the remaining 9.3 acres of the FMC site for $18M. Wolff and his team have until 2010 to pay the city the "bulk of the sale price." Molina notes Wolff is "counting on the city to rezone 78 acres of commercial and industrial property he owns in Edenvale to allow developers to build as many as 1,500 townhomes there." Wolff plans to pay for the stadium with the "profit from selling the Edenvale property as residential land." The agreement also will "funnel at least $17[M] into the city's general fund." San Jose Mayor Chuck Reed said the deal "means we are going to have a pretty good shot at getting a soccer stadium, and we ultimately should get a substantial economic benefit from the development of the property" (SAN JOSE MERCURY NEWS, 4/15).

WELCOMING PARTY: In San Jose, Ann Killion reported Saturday's Fire-Earthquakes game, the Earthquakes' first home game since the city's former team moved to Houston in '05, drew 20,038 fans at McAfee Coliseum. The crowd, many of whom were "paying their allegiance" to Fire MF Cuauhtemoc Blanco, was larger than any crowd for the three Indians-A's games held at the stadium the previous weekend. But Killion noted the "cavernous Coliseum is not a great place for a soccer game, with the fans too far from the action" (SAN JOSE MERCURY NEWS, 4/13).

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