City Manager Fred Diaz announced at Tuesday's Fremont City Council work session that the Oakland Athletics are planning to submit a project application for the so-called Cisco Field ballpark village.
Diaz said the baseball team is expected to submit the application by the end of September, or in early October.
The announcement comes after A's co-owner Keith Wolff and architect Marty Borko laid out more detailed plans for the team's 143-acre site west of Interstate 880.
The city council work session comes after council members in July expressed ire that plans for the development were not as detailed as they hoped nearly a year after the A's had made plans to move the franchise from Oakland to Fremont.
"From our last meeting with you there was a lot of good discussion, so we'll walk with you tonight and touch on some ideas discussed last time," Borko said.
An architect with San Francisco-based Gensler Architects, Borko said the team now hopes to develop 517,000 square feet of retail space, and 3,150 total residential units on the site. A 110-room hotel would also be built.
A 41.35-acre commercial overlay district will be on the southwestern parcel of the site, with 5,500-parking spaces, seven acres of open space, and 850-residential units.
According to Borko, 300,000 square feet of commercial office space can be built in two stories on the parcel.
Parking, he added, would need to be underneath the residential and commercial units due to a higher density desired for the parcel. Parking on this parcel is a quarter-mile from the ballpark.
To the south of the ballpark would be higher density residential zones, with about 8 to 12 percent open space interspersed as 13 neighborhood parks.
"In a sense, within the overall residential development, we're trying to create different neighborhoods, and organized around different open space parcels," Borko said. "Some will be more active and centered around family, while some may be more passive."
To the south of the residential areas, and at the southernmost part of the property, is planned as an elementary school.
Borko said the potential school has not been sited yet, but the team is conducting ongoing discussions with Fremont Unified School District.
He said discussions have centered on the types of programs the district would want at the school, the size, as well as urbanizing the campus.
Borko said the schools would sit on 4 acres and be a Kindergarten through sixth grade site.
In the northwest corner of the development would sit a 41.6-acre municipal parcel, which would include transit, more parking and public parks.
Wolff said over the entire site, there would be about 11,300-parking stalls for baseball fans. He said at McAfee Coliseum a stadium surrounded by parking lots there are only 8,300-parking stalls provided for spectators.
He added the goal during game days is to get motorists off I-880 and into parking areas as quickly as possible to prevent traffic congestion.
To do that, Wolff said, drivers will be directed to make as few left turns as possible to get to parking lots, so they don't cross traffic and cause traffic jams.
Wolff added that on day one of the first season at Cisco Field, there will be enough parking for all 32,000 fans the team hopes to attract.
However, Wolff said he hopes afterward more people will begin to use public transportation.
Currently, 82 percent of A's fans who attend games in Oakland drive to McAfee Coliseum, according to Wolff.
He said he believes that will be reduced at rush hour once the team moves because there will only be 42 mid-week, evening games.
With 6,000 to 7,000 people in the ballpark village, Wolff said he hopes more people will walk to games than drive.
He admitted, however, that public transit options are still a concern.
"On day one, we don't know if BART will be at Warm Springs, which is still 1.5 miles away (from the park)," he said. "So right now we're looking into if we can provide shuttle services."
According to Wolff, ACE and the Capital Corridor trains have expressed interest in stopping at the stadium, but only as long as there is demand to ride their systems. He added the team is currently discussing available services with AC Transit.
While speakers in favor of the project repeated how beneficial it would be to Fremont, others weren't so sure.
Vinny Bacon of the Sierra Club said the ball park project appears to be more auto-oriented, and goes against the "smart growth" the A's are allegedly trying to promote.
"Transit for the project is inadequate and they've even admitted that they have no transit plan on day one," he said.
Bill Spicer said the team's presentation was no different from ones he had seen over the last year.
"The slides I've seen tonight, I've seen before. I'd like to see a timetable of when we're going to get to the hard numbers and hard facts. I want to get to the data instead of the romance," he said.
Bill Renetti, Mossimo's restaurant owner and a supporter of the stadium, said the project would keep visitors in Fremont and frequenting business all over the city.
"This will be great for restaurants, not just restaurants by the park, but outside the park as well," he said.
Council members were pleased there was a little more detail presented at the work session, but still wanted more.
"I like to see visuals, like what three or four stories will look like in that spot, or what the park will look like from the freeway," Councilman Bill Harrison said. "We've seen a lot of numbers, but I'm a visuals kind of guy and I'd like to see more of that."
Mayor Bob Wasserman stated prior to Diaz's concluding announcement that he'd like to get the ball rolling on a formal application process.
"It's an extremely large project and takes a lot of time, and needs a lot of steps. But I think it's time to move to the next step, which is submitting an application and conducting studies," he said.
More information on the A's ballpark project can be found at www.ci.fremont.ca.us, or at oaklandas.com.