Ye olde Pacific Commons ballpark village

Two years ago when the A’s still wanted to move to Fremont near Pacific Commons, the major enticement — besides more corporate sponsorhsips and no territorial fight with the Giants — was the city agreeing to rezone a lot of adjacent land to allow for more than 3,000 homes.

The rezoning, which never happened, would have greatly increased the land value thereby helping the A’s finance construction of the stadium.

Fremont’s latest pitch for the A’s makes no mention of the Pacific Commons site. But even when Lew Wolff pulled out of Fremont last February, he said he’d still be interested in doing the village part of the ballpark village if, by chance, Fremont was interested.

If Fremont rezoned the land for housing, it could make Wolff and Cisco, which originally was going to build a new campus at the site, more bullish on Fremont.

But would Fremont be interested? A city study last year assumed the ballpark village was a done deal, and didn’t list it as part of the city’s supply of land for future industrial use.
But that report also assumed that there would still be a major auto plant in South Fremont.

Fremont Mayor Bob Wasserman said he “wouldn’t close the door” on the village, but didn’t seem  keen on rezoning the land.

“I’d have to have an awfully good reason to do it,” he said. “I would not rezone it to residential unless there is a great big winner involved and the A’s would have been that.”

He thinks there’s an opportunity to replicate the ballpark village at the NUMMI site.

Matt Artz


  1. hm. Now in order for this to happen, it would have to be rezoned AND we would have to tear down the auto plant before beginning construction. Significant time delay.

  2. I hope Pharoah Wasserman voluntarily retires (wishful thinking on my part I know) before he builds his Pyramid in Fremont.

    He is thinking that there is an opportunity to replicate the ballpark village at NUMMI site? Did he say that or is this another speculation? If he did say that, does he know what it takes to clean up the NUMMI site if it were to be destroyed. The soil contamination due to decades of auto manufacturing is something that needs to be looked into. I am sure that there will be a lot of clean up involved.

  3. Any chance you folks over at FNC can post a recall potition on your site? It sure woulb be nice just to have one to sign!

    And if by chance the people of Fremont WOKE UP and signed in suffient numbers to make the November ballot – we’d have the opportunity to show the BOZO’s the door!

  4. Don’t forget, Ishan, for this to happen the City has to finagle the County into ponying up something in the neighborhood of $240 million (120 acres x approx. $2 mil/acre) in taxpayer money for the land gift to MLB. MLB will pay “rent” at the rate of $1 mil per year, so we’ll get our money back in about 240 years.

    As Bbox says, follow the money.

  5. Fremont Lifer,
    One thing that confuses me is if the County buys the land, won’t the County expect the rent? What does Fremont get?

  6. Remember that the county would buy 120 acres of NUMMI land at the north end of the plant for the ballpark and parking. Perhaps a more substantial rent payment from MLB/A’s should be negotiated, but the idea is that a stadium and related retail will provide a vehicle for developing the greater site in much less time that if it were to remain a vacant factory.

    As the development ensues in stages, portions of the land south of the ballpark will be sold outright to developers or rented from the city-county partnership creating more revenue for the city by way of sales and property taxes.

    Also, in addition to the $1 million rent payment, Fremont will get:

    •$1 per ticket, at a current 1.9 million tickets per season, attendance likely to grow close to 2.5 million = $2.5 million.

    •25 % of parking revenue. At 9500 parking spaces x $20 x 81 games x 0.25 = $3.85 million

    Total yearly benefit to Fremont by the ballpark alone is closer to $7.4 million, not including sales taxes collected on ballpark food and merchandise sales.

  7. I’m very positive that the ballot measure will passed to build a stadium in Fremont.

    ” Neighboring cities worried about traffic and noise have threatened lawsuits to stop the stadium. And there is no guarantee the NFL would condone Roski shaking loose a team from its current home.

    The $150 million was proposed to improve streets, lighting and sewers on the site, with repayment coming through ticket sales and parking fees. It was included in a ballot measure that called for the city to raise a combined $500 million through the sale of general obligation bonds to funds street repairs and other enhancements throughout the city. ”



  8. Of all of the huge issues that were glossed over in last week’s Council meeting, this was arguably the biggest. Why in the world would Wolff and the A’s be willing to spend the $400-500 million needed to build a ballpark? I guess establishing the rationale for a developer actually wanting to pay for the ballpark is not necessary if you’re just doing a ‘conceptual analysis’.

    As mentioned, the payoff for Wolff last time was the right to build 3,150 homes. This arrangement was one of the main reasons I was not in favor of the Pacific Commons plan. When I was campaigning last time, I talked to a lot of people about the ballpark. I was surprised how many people weren’t even aware that 3,150 homes was part of the deal. This time, there’s no mention of any homes.

    In the Pacific Commons plan, the City would have been responsible for providing police, fire and road maintenance for these homes. Money for these services would have come from the City’s General Fund. Being in a redevelopment district, the taxes from the project would not have contributed to the General Fund. The project was hoping to be ‘General Fund neutral’ with the main input coming from the sales tax on the retail space. It’s clear to me now that the 500,000 sq. ft. of retail would not have produced sales tax as predicted. As a result, the project would’ve ended up costing the City’s General Fund, making our police funding situation even worse.

    By doing this rezoning, we would’ve lost the opportunity to put light industrial/office space at this location. I know it will be hard, especially in this economy, to bring high-paying jobs to this area. The last thing we should do is rezone this area so that getting these jobs is not possible at all.

    Now we find out that the same kind of deal is being thought about here. What we would lose at this site is the chance that we could ever get manufacturing back. Obviously, if the ‘ballpark village’ comes to the NUMMI site, we’ll never see those manufacturing jobs again. Even if we only have the ballpark on the 120 acres, we will have likely ruined the opportunity to get a large manufacturer to come to that site. We know that NUMMI was very concerned about the ballpark being located right next to their facility. Any manufacturer would likely have similar concerns.

    I was surprised at the Council meeting where they presented the Phase II plans for the ballpark. These plans included 250,000 sq. ft. of retail and about 900,000 sq. ft. or office space. In this economy, it would be very difficult to fill either the retail or the office space. I would argue that anyone with the business to fill this location would actually prefer to not be located near a ballpark. In any event, I don’t see anyone willing to pay hundreds of millions of dollars for the privilege of getting to develop right next to a ball park when they could develop somewhere else for a much smaller cost.

    I was at the San Jose arena earlier this week. It was interesting to see that there is no new development right near the facility despite it being there for 17 years. The nearby area is actually pretty depressed. The bars and restaurants that arena attendees visit are actually several blocks away in the existing downtown area. They almost all existed before the arena was built. In short, there’s no evidence in San Jose that sports facilities generate nearby economic development.

  9. The economics of sports subsidies is dismal,
    as large taxpayer expenditures for new
    stadiums, ballparks, and arenas fail to generate
    economic growth and new jobs, despite
    the grand assertions by team owners and
    countless politicians. And while the politics
    of sports pork can be high profile and glitzy,
    it amounts to the same pathetic specialinterest
    politics we see every day in government,
    whereby the many are taxed for the
    benefit of an elite few.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *