Friday, December 19, 2008

Should the City of Fremont Take the Risk?

Should the City of Fremont Take the Risk? Written by Vinnie Bacon, post on his website. Excerpts:
The project proponents have tried to defuse the traffic issue by saying that the currently approved use on the site would generate as much traffic as their proposal. However, more residential development will undoubtedly mean more trips from Fremont to high-tech jobs in the South Bay and on the peninsula. This will aggravate the existing commute patterns. If this area were filled with high-tech jobs, more Fremont residents might not even have to leave town to get to work. A's fans coming to evening games from the South Bay would undoubtedly use 880, adding to what is already a bad evening commute. Increased traffic problems would make it more difficult to bring in other business into the City. NUMMI, the City's largest employer, has already indicated concerns about the traffic generated by the project.
Jobs – Unlike the high-tech jobs that Cisco, or other high-tech employers, would have brought to the area, the retail and ballpark jobs that this project would create are virtually all lower-paying, service-sector jobs. They're not the kind of jobs that typically would allow one to buy a house in Fremont. Thus, these workers would likely be coming from other locales, adding hundreds of additional cars to the local freeways and parking lots.

The A's have stated that their project will create 13,000 full-time equivalent jobs. However, this is only for the construction period. The economic report prepared by the A's consultant [5] doesn't provide the number of jobs that will be permanently be created.
Distribution of revenues – An analysis of economic and fiscal impacts of this project, prepared for the Oakland Athletics [5], predicts that the completed Ballpark Village project would bring roughly $19 million per year (in 2007 dollars) into the City of Fremont, assuming that housing, retail, and ballpark resources are all fully utilized. This is a questionable assumption given that many retailers are currently in a major down-sizing mode.

First, it should be noted that economic analyses such as this are simply models that claim to predict the future. If the economic downturn that we're in continues, this would undoubtedly affect the retail sales which are a large part of the assumption.

Secondly, the study assumes that 75% of all retail sales for the project would be new to Fremont. This might be plausible for a game day. But remember that 3 out of 4 days of the year are not game days. If 75% of retail sales at the Ballpark Village on non-game days come from outside of Fremont, this would create significant additional traffic on 880. In reality, this project would undoubtedly pull retail dollars away from the existing retail centers in the City's historic districts.
Before approving this proposal, the city needs to take a serious look at how to address the traffic issues, whether this development will generate enough funds to cover its costs, and whether it might not be a better idea to preserve this land for businesses that could provide high paying jobs to Fremont residents.

1 comment:

  1. A baseball park COULD be a good thing - if planned properly. It would require individuals with an excellent grasp of financial forecasting and a willingness to negotiate firmly on behalf of the city of Fremont, as opposed to just taking what the Wolfe’s serve up.

    There is little in the way of recent actions by Fremont city management (including staff, RDA and council) that leads me to conclude we possess either.