FREMONT — The dour housing and credit markets apparently won't stop the Oakland A's from pursuing construction of a new ballpark in Fremont.
A's co-owner Lew Wolff said the residential component of the team's ballpark village plan might have to be delayed, but the A's have come up with a method for financing the ballpark first and phasing in the housing later.
"We have our own plans for moving ahead," he said, but declined to go into detail about how the project would be financed.
Wolff still hopes the ballpark can be completed by 2012, he said, although he added, "In this world, I'm not calling dates anymore."
It has been a year since the team unveiled plans to build a 32,000-seat ballpark in Fremont, to be called Cisco Field, in which construction costs were to be offset with revenue from as many as 3,150 housing units, as well as a shopping center and hotel.
But in the interim months, the housing and credit markets collapsed, and ProLogis, the Denver-based real estate trust that owns the site, has seen its share price tumble from $71.79 to $5.08.
Wolff said ProLogis' problems wouldn't affect the team's stadium plans. The company never had intended to invest in the project, nor is it pressuring the team to exercise its option to buy the ballpark site, Wolff said.
Although about one-third of the environmental study has been completed, the team still hasn't submitted a "notice of preparation" detailing the
The team expects to issue the notice within 30 days, which would trigger the public comment process. At that time, public agencies and ordinary citizens can provide input on the team's proposal.
The final plan originally had been scheduled to be released last spring. Wolff said the team delayed it until after the mayoral election, which was won handily by incumbent Bob Wasserman, a staunch supporter of the ballpark plan.
"We wanted to get the election behind us," Wolff said "We wanted to see who won."
The A's still are trying to address concerns from several large companies near the stadium site, just west of Interstate 880 and south of Auto Mall Parkway.
Both the Lowe's home-improvement store in the nearby Pacific Commons Shopping Center and New United Motor Manufacturing Inc. have said that game-day traffic in the area could affect their operations. Wolff said their concerns won't be addressed until after the draft environmental report is completed.
Already, the team has dropped plans to build a 2,600-space parking lot across Auto Mall from the planned stadium site. Traffic consultants determined the site wasn't viable, said Jill Keimach, Fremont's community development director.
One new possibility for the lot would be across I-880, with a pedestrian bridge linking the parking lot and the stadium, she said.
It is unusual for 30 percent of the environmental report to be completed and not yet have a final plan submitted, and not yet request public comments, which must be addressed in the report, Keimach said.
The report, which had been scheduled for release in January, now isn't expected until February or March, she said.