Oakland gets jilted - Page 2

SF scores with Warriors deal, but what will that mean for Oakland's economy and efforts to keep its other teams?
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Plans for the new Warriors stadium in SF

For example, a case study published by the Airport Area Business Association (AABA) in conjunction with Coliseum City principal and manager Oakland-based JRDV Urban International, and students at UC Berkeley's Haas School of Business found, "The Coliseum complex presents a unique opportunity to prepare a pioneering business model that generates revenue for both public and private interests."

Presciently, in the wake of this announced move by the Warriors and how that hurts Oakland, the study asked: "Are the withdrawal of redevelopment monies, the negative perception of Oakland (and especially Deep East Oakland) by investors and the soft commercial real estate market insurmountable? Can the City of Oakland and Alameda County garner the public support required to approve the necessary public financing and inspire investor confidence?"

Manning up, Councilmember Reid told me that Oakland bears some responsibility for this fiasco. "I've been agitating for 10 years to get this Coliseum project going. But let me tell you about two critical mistakes Oakland has made over the last decade," he said. "One, Oakland has always taken the position that these teams had no place to go. Well, you see where that thinking got us today...Two, 10 years ago the decision was made to invest in the old [Oakland] Army Base. Yet, to this day, not one spade of dirt has been unearthed to symbolize any kind of progress is underway there. In fact, the whole project is at a standstill."

Maybe, but Oakland and Warriors' fans should not despair. It is not a done deal because a million things could go wrong. For example, this will be the fifth attempt to develop Piers 30-32 into something spectacular over the last several years.

Also, environmental groups and local activists are already squawking about the site. It has to pass a notoriously tough approval process of at least four major agencies. Financing might fall through, at least until Warriors ownership present to the press, government, and citizens some details: Tuesday's press conference was basically a pep rally — the only thing missing were the pom-poms. Finally, Pier 30-32 and the site have yet to pass muster over the environmental and safety concerns and myriad other requirements of the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA).

If any obstacle dooms the Warriors' plans, Oakland's Assistant City Administrator Fred Blackwell said they'd keep the door open for these prodigal owners: "And in the end, we will leave a space for the Warriors after they are exhausted from the CEQA litigation and cost increases required to be on the San Francisco Waterfront."

"In a nutshell," according to a City Hall press aide, Blackwell "means that waterfront development is expensive and requires an extensive and complex environmental review and permitting process involving review and approval by a number of local, state, and sometimes federal agencies."

But what if it is a success? Oakland loses even more than just the Warriors. At least one politician pointed out, and I also heard this on 95.7 FM The Game, that what's to stop circuses, ice shows, and major rock stars from ditching Oakland and following the Warriors to this splashy and scenic new entertainment venue?