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San Jose ballpark tour photos and notes

I apologize for the tardiness of this post, I've just been pretty busy with work and haven't had much time to post on AN aside from the occasional comment lately. I haven't seen anything posted on AN about this yet, but there's also a recap on Marine Layer's New Ballpark site.

Note: This post is neither to be intended as pro- or anti-San Jose or Oakland. I heard about this tour through Facebook and was curious, so I went. I'm not well-versed in ballpark issues, so this may seem basic to some people.

On Oct. 30, the nonprofit Baseball San Jose hosted a tour of the proposed ballpark site, near the HP Pavilion, where the NHL's San Jose Sharks play. Dennis Korabiak, a project manager with San Jose's redevelopment agency, led the tour and answered any questions the dozen or so attendants had.

That morning, we met at Diridion Station, which Korabiak said could become one of the busiest transportation stations in California. We walked to the nearby HP Pavilion, where Korabiak led a discussion in the Frank Jirik room.

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via farm5.static.flickr.com

This is the general area where the proposed Cisco Field would be placed — south of the Pavilion. 

Korabiak said that the six-block area between the two facilities would be a shopping area, with restaurants and stores, similar to Santana Row. Here's a Google maps view of the area, to get a better idea. The ballpark would be bordered by W. San Fernando St. to the north, S. Autumn St. to the east and Park Ave. to the south. I thought it was kind of funny that one of the nearby roads was called "Cahill St."

"Why this particular location?" Korabiak said. "We want to create other forms of entertainment. We don't want people to drive to an arena or a ballpark and then leave. One of the things we also looked at was how do we make the most efficient use of the parking?"

Korabiak said the ballpark (not including the land... the cost of which he said he couldn't talk about) would cost roughly $460 million. If all goes swimmingly right now and territorial rights are changed by December/January, the earliest San Jose could vote on a ballpark would be the March special election. If voters give the thumbs up, then San Jose and the A's can engage in active negotiation to sell or lease the land to the A's ownership.

Korabiak said the city owns 40 percent of the proposed ballpark land right now, and a couple businesses (including, ironically, an AT&T building which is somehow a historical landmark) would have to be bought out. There's a PG&E substation near S. Montgomery St. that the A's would have to build around, but Korabiak said the A's can kind of dress up the area around it. Korabiak said that while they could use imminent domain to take over these properties as somewhat of a last resort measure, they aim for a friendly acquisition. If the vote goes through, there would be a public hearing and a public review process.

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via farm5.static.flickr.com

This shows the area around the proposed stadium, as well as nearby parking (the color-coded map).

People were curious about what kind of timetable we're looking at if San Jose voters OK the ballpark, but Korabiak said one hasn't really been set in stone. Although for reference, Minnesota's Target Field broke ground May 21, 2007 and opened this season. Construction on San Diego's Petco Park (I feel a more apt comparison) started in May 2000, the stadium opened in 2004. So if there are no other roadblocks, it looks like there's about a 4-year golden shovel-to-first pitch timeline.

Additionally, Korabiak noted that the stadium would use perimeter lighting, not tower lighting, to minimize the effects of light spillover.

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via farm2.static.flickr.com

Korabiak pointing to the area south of W. San Fernando St., which would be the outfield gate area and a main point of entry into the ballpark.

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via farm5.static.flickr.com

The property that is at that location now. Didn't appear to be used. Kind of looked like a broken-down warehouse.

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via farm5.static.flickr.com

Walking in front of the building, just north of Park St.

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via farm2.static.flickr.com

The AT&T building/historical landmark

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via farm2.static.flickr.com

Finally, the Stephen's Meat Products sign, which Korabiak said could be incorporated into the ballpark design somehow, like the Padres did with the old Western Metal Supply Co. building.

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