OAKLAND -- The new ballpark for the A's in nearby Fremont, Calif., went from concept to formal proposal Thursday morning, when the team submitted a development application to the City of Fremont to develop 226 acres of land in the Pacific Commons area of the city.
Laid out in the application are the plans to build a baseball-only ballpark and a surrounding "village" that will consist of residential and commercial properties, as well as a new elementary school.
"The intense planning process has helped us create a proposal that we believe will benefit both the City and the A's," owner and managing partner Lew Wolff said in a statement released by the A's. "We have spent a lot of time in the last year listening to the community and engaging experts in the fields of transportation, architecture and technology."
According to the release, the submission of the development application "represents more than a year of careful planning to bring the most intimate and technologically-advanced ballpark in Major League Baseball to Fremont."
Filing the development application also will allow the Environmental Impact Report process to begin. The City of Fremont is expected to take between 12-18 months to review the application, and if it's approved, groundbreaking on the project will commence as soon as possible thereafter.
Simultaneous to the environmental review process, ProLogis, owner of the Pacific Commons Shopping Center, will conduct a targeted outreach program with its tenants at Pacific Commons and the adjacent Auto Mall regarding the transportation and parking impacts of the proposed ballpark village. ProLogis will work collaboratively with both the A's and the City of Fremont as this project progresses.
"We have engaged the people who know Fremont best," Wolff said. "We listened to city staff, elected officials, community leaders, and most importantly, we listened to members of the community. The development plan we submitted today will create a true community asset for Fremont and the best ballpark in the country."
The proposal, the A's said, will:
• Bring thousands of jobs to Fremont and the surrounding area during the construction phase, and then the hundreds of ongoing jobs at the ballpark and surrounding village.
• Address transportation challenges with a comprehensive approach that will include utilization of nearby rail and bus route options, and a link to the future Warm Springs BART Station.
• Include a unique mixed-use plan that calls for new residences, along with entertainment and upscale shopping options, creating a vibrant neighborhood for all Fremont residents to enjoy.
• Implement "green" building standards into the stadium and sustainable development practices, while also creating a significant number of new landscaped open spaces for activity and relaxation.
• Generate additional revenue from the ballpark and accompanying baseball village that will contribute to the city's general fund and help pay for vital city services, such as police, fire and street repair.
• Include a brand-new, state-of-the-art elementary school to serve the student population generated by the project, constructed at no additional cost to the Fremont Unified School District. The school will be built so children living in the village won't affect the student body size at Fremont's existing elementary schools.
On May 10, Wolff announced the completion of a land transaction agreement with Cisco Systems and ProLogis, giving the A's ownership group control of 226 acres of land in the City of Fremont and enabling the project to move forward.
A significant portion of the 226-acre area will be devoted to a new real estate development with residential, retail and other commercial components. This ballpark village will include a maximum of 3,150 new multi-family housing residences. It is envisioned that a significant number of the units will be designed as townhouse/row housing, creating urban streets reminiscent of the brownstone neighborhoods found in the eastern United States.
A total of approximately 540,000 square feet of high-quality retail/residential mixed use is also planned for the project, with a significant portion of the retail area serving as a regional lifestyle center and neighborhood retail in a "Main Street USA" environment adjacent to the ballpark.
The estimated cost of the village project is approximately $1.8 billion. The project will be primarily financed by a combination of private equity and real estate development proceeds generated by the ballpark and the surrounding village.
The baseball park will be named Cisco Field as part of a 30-year naming rights partnership with Cisco Systems, the worldwide leader in networking for the Internet; the naming-rights deal was announced last November.
With a capacity of 32,000, Cisco Field will be the most intimate ballpark in the Major Leagues, offering a setting that will combine the intimate feel of the classic ballparks with state-of-the-art amenities. The ballpark will also be one of the most technologically-advanced sports and entertainment venues in the world.
"This is an exciting day as we take one more step toward creating one of the most intimate and technologically-advanced venues in Major League Baseball," said John Chambers, chairman and CEO of Cisco. "We are committed to making Cisco Field a win for Fremont and the Bay Area community at large."
Wolff emphasized that his ownership group will continue to seek community input as Fremont city leaders continue to evaluate, modify and enhance the proposal during this next phase of the development approval process.
"We will continue to work hard to earn Fremont's support for keeping the A's in the East Bay," Wolff said.