Wolff, San Jose agree on soccer stadium terms

San Jose Earthquakes owner Lew Wolff has reached an agreement with city officials to buy 66 acres of city land, at a cost of $132 million, to serve as the site of a new 18,000 soccer stadium that Wolff would build himself.

If this sounds like a breath of fresh air in the stadium world – not only does the team owner pay construction costs, he even pays for the land he’s using! – be sure to read the fine print:

The real estate magnate 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 soccer stadium with the profit from selling the Edenvale property as residential land.

This is, you’ll recall, the same scheme – call it a “rezoning subsidy” – that Wolff is proposing to Fremont for a stadium for his Oakland A’s (inasmuch as he’s proposing anything specific at all). Not to mention similar to what was floated in Sacramento for the Kings a while back. California is quickly gaining a reputation as one of the toughest states to get public stadium funding out of, both because of a skeptical electorate and strong voter-referendum requirements; instead, team owners are being forced to look for other ways to build stadiums without, you know, spending any of their own money. Because that would be crazy talk.

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13 comments on “Wolff, San Jose agree on soccer stadium terms

  1. Maybe they can take their former players back from Houston

    http://www.khou.com/sports/stories/khou080416_tj_dynamostadium.6df3099e.html

  2. watch out … wolff is a little scheister intent on ripping off the public and not putting a penny of his own into the project.

    the a’s stadium plan in fremont is the most ill-conceived in history. not only does this suburb not have the necessary infrastructure to support a development of this magnitude, it has absolutely ZERO public transportation access. it’s a complete DISASTER!!!

  3. watch out … wolff is a little scheister intent on ripping off the public and not putting a penny of his own into the project.

    the a’s stadium plan in fremont is the most ill-conceived in history. not only does this suburb not have the necessary infrastructure to support a development of this magnitude, it has absolutely ZERO public transportation access. it’s a complete DISASTER!!!

  4. watch out … wolff is a little scheister intent on ripping off the public and not putting a penny of his own into the project.

    the a’s stadium plan in fremont is the most ill-conceived in history. not only does this suburb not have the necessary infrastructure to support a development of this magnitude, it has absolutely ZERO public transportation access. it’s a complete DISASTER!!!

  5. I agree that the A’s stadium plan is an ill-conceived idea, but the Earthquakes stadium plan looks much better, on paper at least.

  6. I agree that the A’s stadium plan is an ill-conceived idea, but the Earthquakes stadium plan looks much better, on paper at least.

  7. You’re right that the quakes deal might look better on paper, but don’t underestimate the underhandedness and schiesterness (is that a word?) of wolffie. he’s truly not to be trusted and is out to screw the taxpayers.

  8. It’s “shyster,” actually. I was going to say this was an excellent eggcorn (see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eggcorn), but apparently the original German is “scheisser,” so it’s really just coming full circle…

  9. Blah, blah, blah, blah….

    All that matters is in this economic climate, Wolff is making a stadium deal happen in the most difficult market in the nation without costing taxpayers a penny.

    GO SAN JOSE EARTHQUAKES!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  10. don’t be too sure on that one buddy … there are plenty of hidden subsidies that wolffie is relying on to make this not too taxpayer friendly. and if you think the quake deal reaks, then you should see the a’s deal. this one is a whopper subsidy that will have the citizens of fremont paying for generations.

  11. don’t be too sure on that one buddy … there are plenty of hidden subsidies that wolffie is relying on to make this not too taxpayer friendly. and if you think the quake deal reaks, then you should see the a’s deal. this one is a whopper subsidy that will have the citizens of fremont paying for generations.

  12. Don’t know where you think this stadium plan is frought with subsidies. Though it is similar on the surface to the A’s plan in Fremont, the Earthquakes stadium plan is actually very beneficial to San Jose. First off it’s taking 7 million dollars a year off the hands of the city that they were paying yearly on the tax service for the stadium site (known as Airport West or the FMC site internally at the city), a blighted piece of unused land the city had no other buyers for nor any intention to use. Secondly they’re selling that land to Wolff for 132 million dollars, a significant profit for the city on the value of the land when they purchased it 10 years ago for about 80 million dollars. Thirdly the stadium development which includes hotels, retail and commercial R&D development will bring in over 1 billion in capital to the city.

    The infrastructure is already in place for the site as the site was a long time large scale industrial park for the FMC company, so that isn’t a problem (as it is at the A’s stadium site). The site is wired connections wise with 3 freeways in close proximity, a Caltrain commuter rail station already next door, and the VTA light rail a short bus ride away as is San Jose Airport. The stadium site is also along the planned BART corridor should the voters ever approve the south bay extension.

    The other issue is the rezoning, which is at the “iStar” site in south San Jose. This is in a well connected area of the city (via 2 freeways) on a much smaller piece of land (compared to Wolff’s Fremont property) that is already currently slated for development (currently it’s an unused former orchard). While it’s true the land will need city services, it is not a huge development like in Fremont and the impact should be minimal and more than offset by the 7 million a year Wolff’s plan is saving the city at the FMC site.

    Just my 2 cents. Again while similar to Fremont, it’s differences are what make the Quakes stadium plan much more practical, realistic, and ultimately a much better deal than Cisco Field in Fremont.

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