Thursday, April 19, 2007

Breaking News - No New Spartan Stadium

I just learned from Larry Carr at San Jose State, that there will be no new stadium. Here is the article I wrote really quick for the Spartan Daily:

After months of negotiations, plans for a new combined Major League Soccer / San Jose State University football stadium have fallen through.

Larry Carr, the associate vice president for government and community relations said today that President Don Kassing and developer Lew Wolff realized today that the stadium plan was not going to work.

"They agreed this afternoon that they are not going to reach a deal that was going to work," Carr said.

According to Carr, the problem was in potential revenue sharing for the facility.

The proposed stadium would have been built on university land adjacent to the existing Spartan Stadium.

Wolff, who is also a part owner of the Oakland Athletics, proposed to pay for the stadium with funds made through the development of property in the Edenvale area of south San Jose, according to a report released by the City of San Jose on Monday.

Carr said that the university was concerned about the joint use of the facility based on its experience with the old Earthquake soccer team that played at Spartan Stadium before being moved to Houston.

Wolff negotiated the rights to open a new soccer team in the Bay Area, also to be named the Earthquakes.

Wolff told the San Jose Mercury News earlier this week that he would prefer for the team to be in San Jose, but it does not have to be.

"My absolute preference is to do it in San Jose," Wolff said. "And my second preference is that if we do it in San Jose, it would be fun to do it with the university.

"If for some reason we can't do it with them, I'd still like to do it in San Jose. But our option is for the entire Bay Area."

The Mercury News also reported that Wolff has been in preliminary negotiations to build a stadium in Placer County, outside of Sacramento.

Carr said that this does not end the university's plans to continue to improve the South Campus area. The university has been in talks with the city about how to improve the area, including nearby Municipal Stadium and Kelley Park, since before Wolff approached the school with a plan for a new stadium.

"We will go back to those discussions with the city about South Campus," Carr said. "In regards to the stadium, we are staying in Spartan Stadium. …

"We will always look for ways to improve where we are, but we still have a facility to play in."

Update (6:43 p.m.): The article is finally on the Daily Web site (here). The Merc also has the story. I got the phone call at 5:07, My story was done and to my editors at 5:33. The Merc had their story posted at 5:59, the Daily did not get it online until about 6:40. (I am not sure exactly, but I was watching for it and that is when I finally saw it.) My original post here was at 6:13, only because I was already late for class, the Daily came first.

Update 2 (7:02): The Merc's college sports blog has a post here about the deal. Interesting to see people's comments, some for the new stadium and others against. I think this is a huge lost opportunity for the school, city and the community. Kassing is a businessman. He will not do anything unless the money is right. Maybe time will prove him right, but the way things are now, I think we are missing out.

Here is a discussion from San Jose Earthquakes soccer supporters (and blog here). Look how fast this is being talked about all over the 'net. Too bad it happened late on a Thursday so that most students will not be on campus to hear about it until Monday.

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