San Jose approves land deal for A's ball park

November 8, 2011 7:49:18 PM PST
San Jose took another swing at getting the Oakland Athletics to the South Bay.

Athletics owner Lew Wolf said he would build a stadium in San Jose with $500 million in private investment moeny. on Tuesdya, the city stepped up to the plate by giving the Athletics a two-year option at $50,000 to buy nearly five acres of city-owned land near downtown San Jose.

"In sum, it's hugely important to the city of San Jose for revenue and jobs," said San Jose Mayor Chuck Reed. "We need both of those."

Many critics though say the land deal doesn't make sense. The redevelopment agency paid a total of $25 million for the six parcels and is willing to sell the property for $7 million, which is considered fair market value for a ball park use.

"The residents of San Jose are still on the hook for the mortgage or bond payments," said land deal opponent Randi Kinman. "You cannot argue for fiscal responsibility and then kick the can down the road."

San Jose contends the ball park, if built, would have future economic benefits. The city anticipates $1.5 million a year to the general fund, $1.7 million for redevelopment and housing and $2.3 million a year that would benefit other agencies.

Supporters also argue the stadium would create 350 construction jobs and 1,000 permanent jobs.

"I urge you to take advantage of the situation," said Neil Struthers. "You have our support."

Even with an option to buy, the Athletics still need permission from Major League Baseball to move into Giants territory -- and that is a huge hurdle.

"Your action will further prepare San Jose for the day when Mr. Sileg and Major League Baseball finallys see the light and approves the move for the A's to San Jose," said Baseball San jose co-chairman Michael Mulcahy.

The councile reiterated an earlier promise that no matter how the Athletics deal plays out, voters will have the final say in whether the team scores a home run in San Jose.

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