SAN JOSE (KCBS/AP) – San Jose officials maintained an upbeat attitude despite word of a potential roadblock in their efforts to build a new stadium for the Oakland Athletics in Silicon Valley.
San Jose’s redevelopment agency acknowledged it was financially strapped, which raised questions about whether it would be able to buy the last pieces of land for a downtown stadium.
KCBS’ Mike Colgan Reports:
“We’ve had reduced budgets because the state take of course, $75 million,” acknowledged redevelopment agency director Harry Mavrogenes. “Then we’ve also had in the last year a significant reduction in the assessment roll, about 7.8%. That’s reduced our revenues.”
Mavrogenes pointed out that the agency was not immune to the economic downturn.
“Today we have 61 staff, last year in July we had about 109.”
The agency would consider selling some of its own real estate to buy the two outstanding parcels, which are estimated at $20 million.
Officials said there is also a possibility that A’s owner Lew Wolff could buy the land.
San Jose Mayor Chuck Reed was undeterred by the financial curve ball.
“One way or another the deal will get done,” Reed declared. “We’ll put together the assets necessary to acquire the land and put together a transaction that will make it possible for a huge private sector investment that will generate probably $5 million a year in revenues to local government, which we sorely need.”
Reed said what was most important was determining whether Major League Baseball would give the A’s permission to move.
“I’m confident that between Lew Wolff and the Redevelopment Agency, we will be able to get control of the land, acquire the land and put together a package that will result in a $500 million private sector investment in the City of San Jose.”
The team needed that MLB approval because the San Francisco Giants maintained territorial rights to the area.
Reed remained focused, however, on reassuring baseball fans the stadium project would happen.
“I don’t think it puts it in jeopardy,” he reiterated of the financial strain. “The reality is that the redevelopment agency doesn’t have as much money as it’s had in the past but we still have assets and I anticipate putting together a land transaction that will swap land for land, or sell land to get assets to buy land, we’ll put it together with Lew Wolff when we get permission from Major League Baseball to have that conversation.”
“It’s something that we’re going to continue to work on,” echoed Mavrogenes. “I think Lew Wolff has indicated that he’s not concerned right now. We’ll work something out. ”
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