Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Wednesday Wishlist: North San Pedro Ballpark

Today's Wednesday Wishlist comes courtesy of one of our readers, Anthony Dominguez. I think he makes some valid points and I'm sure we can all agree that the closer the ballpark is to the downtown core, the better. I'm sure we'll have a lot of discussion on this one, so as always post your feedback in the chat =).


Back in March of 2009, Rhamesis Muncada (aka Marinelayer at the A's new ballpark blog) stated to readers that the current Diridon Site might not be the only one considered for a future A's ballpark.  Talk about a teaser!  At the time many of us simply stated "huh?" and threw out all the usual suspects in terms of past sites considered, i.e. the Fairgrounds, Airport West/FMC, and Berryessa.  I theorized that another possible site for the ballpark could be North San Pedro/Brandenburg (NSP)...and guess what, I was right!
In many ways Josh, NSP would be superior for an A's ballpark than the current choice of Diridon for the following reasons:
1) More foot traffic for San Pedro Square Market/future housing/future retail developments from core downtown parking and future Santa Clara Street BART subway portals.
2) A bit further away from the "NIMBY" noise of Shasta/Hanchett Park and Willow Glen.
3) Easier access from 880 via Coleman Avenue and future Autumn Parkway.  In fact, surface parking for the ballpark could be built just northwest of 87 and Bassett St./UPRR tracks. (see the land plot via Google Earth/Maps).
4) Still within a 15 minute walk of Diridon Station and mere minutes from light-rail at St. James Park.
5) Leaves the Diridon Site open to more lucrative housing, office and retail associated with future Diridon Transit Center.
6) Much less traffic conflict with simultaneous events occuring at HP Pavilion; traffic more spread out through the downtown core.
I've also theorized Josh that perhaps in the future, Lew Wolff and the city of San Jose could do a land swap with Barry Swenson Builders.  Swenson could lease NSP to Lew Wolff/A's for the privately financed ballpark IN EXCHANGE for the city of San Jose leasing the Diridon Site to Swenson for his proposed residential development.  Because of the flight path of SJC, I've always felt that NSP (itself part of the downtown core) would be more conducive for a noise generating sports venue, while Diridon (with it's transit connectivity) more conducive for housing/office/retail.
Why do I feel the parties should consider a site change, considering all the work that's gone into planning for Diridon?  One reason is that Lew Wolff recently stated a ballpark in San Jose wouldn't open now until 2016 at the earliest, a full four years away.  There would still be time to conduct a full (or supplemental) EIR for a NSP ballpark.  Groundbreaking for the ballpark doesn't have to occur until the Spring of 2014 under the new scenario.  Save for a few old buildings, NSP is also clear and ready for construction as well.
Another reason concerns NIMBYS.  Again, NSP is more "downtown core" in flavor, and perhaps residents of nearby condos would welcome a ballpark in their backyard.  I recall some Newballpark commenters (who lived in that area of downtown) stating they would love to have a ballpark at NSP (see increased property values!).  We are already hearing grumblings from the Shasta Hancett/Rose Garden crowd about the possible noise and lights of a Diridon Ballpark.  In my opinion a NSP ballpark would make things much easier for the A's and city in this regard.
Lastly, the referendum issue.  No public vote would be necessary under the scenario of NSP because Lew Wolff/The A's would be dealing with a private land owner in Barry Swenson.  This would cease being an "issue" of the city of San Jose buying land for Lew Wolff and his millionaire sports team.  I also think opposition would die down due to the ballpark now being in the downtown core and away from nearby neighborhoods.
I've included a photoshop illustration (courtesy of Marinelayer) to give you an idea of how a ballpark would fit in at NSP.  In fact, if you "reversed" current images of the proposed Cisco Field it would fit in perfectly at NSP.

Anthony Dominguez (Tony D.)

P.S. One more item on my fantasy North San Pedro ballpark: I would incorporate the "James Square" building, located at the NW corner of Devine and N. Market Streets, into the ballpark site. James Square could be renovated much like the older buildings of the San Pedro Square Market and act as the SE gate/entrance to the ballpark. The building itself could house shops, restaurants/concessions and perhaps have a rooftop terrace for dining/beverage consumption.


  1. As good as the Diridon site is for the ballpark -- a North San Pedro location would be even better for Downtown. You should check out the Julian Street Realignment project in that area:

    Julian Street Realignment

  2. No way! Build the stadium at Diridon.

  3. After my visit to San Diego last week and seeing what a downtown ballpark can do to an area, North SP is a perfect fit. Though it limits public transit options more than Diridon, I think it makes a better fit in the neighborhood. Make it happen Lew!

    1. Also, I've always had a problem with the stadium at Diridon being directly underneath the flight path for SJC. I really like this idea, if we could just find a way to make it happen!!

  4. Thanks Josh for putting forth the idea. Alas, like I mentioned the other day, Sam Liccardo (who also liked the idea) stated the NSP housing project would break ground in a couple of months (good news for sure). And with the A's and Giants tit for tat occurring in the media over the past couple of weeks, I'll take a Diridon ballpark any day over no ballpark. But nothing wrong with dreaming ;). Thanks again!

  5. This looks like a great alternative to the already great Diridon site. I live a block or so from Diridon but wouldn't mind the short bus or light rail trip to NSP. I just want baseball for my town!

  6. What happened to using this site for a condo development by Barry Swenson? Is that off the table?

    1. Anon,
      See my post above. There's been no change in planning.

  7. was the North San Pedro the one with about 3 high rises?? Or was it the Carlyle one?

  8. The picture of the stadium in the North Pedro area is right across the street from my building! That would be kinda NUTS!

    1. @David,
      Nuts in a good way or bad? Just curious of your thoughts.