SBD/Issue 156/Facilities & Venues

San Jose Assembling Land For A's Ballpark Amid Rising Costs

Land For New A's Ballpark, Road Improvements
Would Likely Cost More Than Estimated $70M

San Jose officials said that the cost to taxpayers for a proposed A's ballpark "would be small compared to what other cities have offered for stadiums -- probably a bargain-basement lease" for the team on "city land near the downtown train station," according to Tracy Seipel of the SAN JOSE MERCURY NEWS. But assembling the "complicated puzzle of land for the ballpark and related road improvements is sure to cost more than" the $70M estimated by officials who "tout the project as a major boost to downtown." San Jose's "challenge in many ways is much steeper than that of Santa Clara, which is working to bring" the 49ers to town. Having to "cobble together multiple parcels is forcing San Jose to pay millions to property owners." Even after "shelling out more than" $24M, the city "owns less than half the 14 acres earmarked for an A's stadium -- and it's not clear all the holdout want to sell." Redevelopment officials today will ask the city council to "approve another piece of the puzzle: a $4.6[M] cluster of nearby lots that would provide a thoroughfare to the ballpark site from Interstate 880." Still to come is a "third portion of land that agency officials need to complete the thoroughfare -- and which they concede they don't have the money yet to buy." While the redevelopment agency is "buying land for phase 1 of the extension, it has no immediate plans to buy a handful of homes or a book wholesaler that sit in the path of phase 2." Seipel noted an MLB committee in the next few months is "expected to recommend whether A's owner Lew Wolff should be allowed to move the team to the South Bay." The Giants are "trying to protect their territorial rights to Santa Clara County," which MLB granted to them in '92 (SAN JOSE MERCURY NEWS, 4/25).

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