Warriors' S.F. Arena Target Date Likely Delayed; Oakland Pushing A's Venue Option
The accumulation of problems with the Warriors' proposed S.F. arena plan -- "expected and unexpected -- seems to be making it clear that the 2017 target date (which was always an optimistic projection) is likely to be pushed to 2018 or probably a few years beyond," according to Tim Kawakami of the SAN JOSE MERCURY NEWS. It is "still an open question whether the Warriors remain focused" on the proposed site. Team co-Owners Joe Lacob and Peter Guber have said that it is "possible to re-start talks with the Giants about building on Lot A next to AT&T Park." Some sources also "mention Pier 50 near McCovey Cove as a potential site." As Lacob "points out, most of these obstacles were expected before the Warriors ever announced their intentions -- the politics and the logistics of building on a decrepit Bay pier was never going to be easy and the Warriors knew they would have to jump through a hundred hoops before they even started the physical process." The "most likely alternative temporary option" could be the Warriors negotiating "an extension to their lease in Oakland (which expires in 2017), either for the standard five-year re-up or for fewer years." Kawakami: "My sense is that Lacob and Guber were so thrilled with the atmosphere at Oracle during the playoffs that staying in the East Bay for a few extra years doesn't seem as frustrating to them as it once did" (SAN JOSE MERCURY NEWS, 7/13).
GOING TO BAT FOR THE A'S: In Oakland, Monte Poole wrote, "For folks laboring to keep the A's in Oakland, the journey toward reality is shorter than it was a week ago." A lawsuit settlement last Thursday "opens the door for Oakland to develop the 50-acre Howard Terminal property just north of Jack London Square." This is significant because Howard Terminal is the site for which MLB "has expressed a preference (over the Coliseum site) for a new ballpark." Though full access to Howard Terminal "can't be granted until the seven-member Board of Port Commissioners votes this Thursday to approve the lawsuit settlement, it is expected." After which the city "could roll up its sleeves and see how viable HT is for redevelopment around a ballpark." Yet the "anticipated availability is enough to fortify the enthusiasm of civic leaders and fan coalitions fighting to keep the A's in Oakland." Team Owner Lew Wolff has "consistently reiterated that he doesn't believe HT is feasible and that, moreover, Oakland is not an option." But gaining access to Howard Terminal is "an essential element of Oakland's rally" against Wolff and co-Owner John Fisher. It gives Oakland "site control," something it "could not offer last year and is needed to bolster its pitch to MLB." It is the location "most likely to receive the support of MLB." If Howard Terminal is "offered to the A's, as widely expected," MLB Commissioner Bud Selig will "have to concede Oakland is doing its part to meet the desires of Fisher, Wolff and certainly MLB" (OAKLAND TRIBUNE, 7/14).
CABLE CARS DERAILED? In S.F., Matier & Ross report, "The exclusive negotiating agreement that the city entered into with JRDV Urban International and its partners to come up with a new home for the Raiders, A's and Warriors is due to expire in September." Sources said that the architectural firm is "looking for as much as another $3 million to continue its share of the work and to add a new partner." Assistant City Administrator Fred Blackwell said that because of "delays in starting the environmental impact report, the designers need an extra year -- but he denies there will be any additional costs associated with the extension." The planning "doesn't seem to have changed the landscape for the A's, who are adamant in their desire to move to San Jose (although that's going nowhere fast), or the Raiders, who always seem to be looking around for a new home (though nobody seems to want them)." The Warriors, "of course, appear to be leaving for San Francisco no matter what." Still, the "planning and spending in Oakland go on" (S.F. CHRONICLE, 7/15).