The Giants are now in the real estate business

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We mentioned this Wednesday morning in our little election day roundup, but the San Francisco Giants may have been the biggest winners of anyone when folks went to the polls on November 3.

They won because San Francisco voters approved something called Proposition D, which waived building height restrictions in the area around AT&T Park. An area where the Giants themselves own lease the land, allowing them to go ahead with a real estate development proposal called “Mission Rock,” which will allow for 20+ story high-rises, offices and shopping on land that is now a parking lot. This will make the Giants an awful lot of money, as Giants chairman Larry Baer explains in this article in the Merc.

This shouldn’t be looked at solely as some sort of piggy bank for a baseball team, however. I mean, it is that, but it has a place in the larger context of San Francisco as well. There is an extreme housing crunch going on in the city, caused by dramatically increased population, skyrocketing real estate costs and building and zoning laws that, for years, have made it very difficult to increase the number of housing units in the city. High rise development — which is what you need when you literally run out of land like San Francisco mostly has — is essential, but it’s basically been blocked. This, then, is something of a rare win for folks who want more housing in the city, even if it’s a modest and only a partial win (many other real estate initiatives failed). There is also at least something in here for people who aren’t the Giants: 40 percent of their planned 1,500 housing units in Mission Rock will be below-market-rate housing.

Which, in a place like San Francisco, is desperately needed.

Oakland Athletics reverse course, will continue to pay minor leaguers

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Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle reports that Oakland Athletics owner John Fisher has reversed course and will continue to pay minor leaguers. Fisher tells Slusser, “I concluded I made a mistake.” He said he is also setting up an assistance fund for furloughed employees.

The A’s decided in late May to stop paying paying minor leaguers as of June 1, which was the earliest date on which any club could do so after an MLB-wide agreement to pay minor leaguers through May 31 expired. In the event, the A’s were the only team to stop paying the $400/week stipends to players before the end of June. Some teams, notable the Royals and Twins, promised to keep the payments up through August 31, which is when the minor league season would’ve ended. The Washington Nationals decided to lop off $100 of the stipends last week but, after a day’s worth of blowback from the media and fans, reversed course themselves.