Next Step In Proposed Downtown Concord Soccer Stadium Process Could Come Tuesday

January 7, 2019 8:00 am · 73 comments

The Concord City Council is set to decide Tuesday night whether to continue evaluating a proposal from a Walnut Creek developer calling for an 18,000-seat soccer stadium, a convention center, a hotel and other amenities on a long-vacant parcel downtown near the Concord BART station.

The council will discuss whether to sign an “initial exclusive negotiating agreement” with Hall Equities Group LLC for that firm’s proposed mixed-use soccer-specific stadium, hotel, a convention center, apartments and retail/commercial space.

This agreement would open the way for formal studies of the project’s feasibility (including market studies) and projected fiscal impacts of the project.

The project could cost $750 million and might require significant financial help from the city.

Hall Equities Group is owned by Mark Hall. Hall is also CEO of Hall Sports Ventures, which acquired the rights for a United Soccer League (USL) Division 2 franchise for the Oakland East Bay area.

Hall said the project would occupy land now owned by the city (once owned by the city’s now-dissolved Redevelopment Agency) as well as some BART-owned property around the downtown Concord station.

In May, Hall said the Sacramento USL franchise routinely sells out the 11,500 seats at its Cal Expo stadium. He also said soccer’s popularity in central Contra Costa County is growing, and that he expects the team would be a regional draw.

The City Council took its first action related to Hall’s stadium proposal last May, when the council voted 3-2 to and agreed to pursue “advanced exploration” of Hall’s stadium/hotel/retail plan, with no assurances beyond that.

In May, council members Laura Hoffmeister and Tim McGallian voted against proceeding with Hall’s proposal. McGallian cited concerns about downtown traffic problems and whether funding it would require sale of the city’s Concord Pavilion performance venue. Hoffmeister said she was concerned about whether the city’s infrastructure could handle the stadium and the rest of the proposed project.

RDS January 7, 2019 at 8:13 AM

Absolutely not. Kill this nonsense in its crib.

Matthew January 7, 2019 at 8:00 PM

What a terrible turn of phrase.

Fred January 7, 2019 at 8:13 AM

Why do sports always want a government subsidy?

ZZ January 7, 2019 at 8:21 AM

What a ridiculous proposal. I hope it doesn’t go through.

Concord Mike January 7, 2019 at 8:27 AM

I wonder if the new law allowing BART to buy properties will be used as a negotiating lever by the developer in discussions with the council?

My initial reaction is to object to this plan. Ideal for the new CNWS area, but a problem for downtown Concord.

Better to put in more mixed use (office space for businesses and home ownership opportunities – condos and townhomes – for the workforce.)

Doh January 7, 2019 at 8:27 AM

“The project could cost $750 million and might require significant financial help from the city.”

-No thanks. Concord has better uses for that kind of money.

Jeff January 7, 2019 at 8:33 AM

Put me down for 3 sets of season tickets.

JazzMan January 7, 2019 at 8:45 AM

On the one hand, it’s a great idea. We NEED a soccer venue closer than San Jose. On the other hand, unless I’m missing something, putting all that stuff in the vacant lot by CPD, plus traffic, may be too much for Concord to handle. Using a portion of the old Naval Weapons station is better.

RDS January 7, 2019 at 9:00 AM

Absolutely not. Kill it in its crib.

Cellophane January 7, 2019 at 9:01 AM

The project could cost $750 million and might require significant financial help from the city.

This project has already cost the City significantly by the amount of time these discussions have taken away from more urgent City business.

This is a “pie in the sky” project and unless the developer is ready to pay for everything, the City should not consider this proposal.

Pyrrhus January 7, 2019 at 1:33 PM

I agree, if the developer is expecting the city to pay for it then it has to be a hard no. If the developer is looking for a tax break or reduction on the cost of the land then it should be negotiated and looked at.

Sacramento is a much different area than Concord and their soccer team has a much different goal. Sac Republic began years ago with the intent of being an expansion team to MLS, while this Concord team would stay in the 2nd division with no hope of getting into MLS. Even though I would love to have a local team to support, there is no way that a 2nd division team would sell out a 11k seat stadium in Concord.

Ummm... January 7, 2019 at 9:08 AM

wut

JR January 7, 2019 at 9:14 AM

Sounds Cool….but I make that drive everyday and I don’t see any land big enough for a soccer stadium….where is this exactly??

ConcordGal January 7, 2019 at 12:45 PM

I’m guessing they are talking about the land running across the Bart tracks next to the skate park

JR January 7, 2019 at 8:51 PM

I guess….but it seems way too small for anything like that…I think (yet another) park would be better!!!

Afficionado January 7, 2019 at 9:21 AM

I say it’s a great idea. Would definitely bring people and money to concord. Personally I would buy season tickets for whatever team uses it for home games. I’ve always wanted to have a hometown soccer team!

Chicken Little January 7, 2019 at 9:49 AM

Remind me why we want to bring more people to Concord?

WC January 7, 2019 at 10:02 AM

You forgot to add more traffic, crime and drunk drivers.

Hope Johnson January 7, 2019 at 10:57 AM

It’s also quite noisy. Neighbors of the Levi’s Stadium have nonstop issues with noise from evening events.

Worst of all is that cities with sports stadiums usually end up losing lots and lots of money – just run a quick internet search to find loads of stories on how bad they are for municipalities. Sometimes the teams that are supposed to play at the new facilities leave and then any private investors try to back out of financial commitments made to the city.

This project is a rookie mistake on the part of the Council and the height of irresponsibility for a city with a projected growing deficit that staff claims requires a permanent Measure Q sales tax. If it’s such a great project, then Mark Hall should have no problem pulling together private funding. His dad is Merle Hall and we are all aware that they have plenty of development connections. Mr. Hall merely wants to have Concord shoulder all the risk.

Also, the idea is not just to sell off the Concord Pavilion but to develop its open space with apartments and offices.

Pyrrhus January 7, 2019 at 1:37 PM

@Hope Johnson I agree with you if the City pays to build the stadium. Otherwise look what AT&T Park has done for San Francisco. That was built privately and has completely built out that area and is actually enjoyable to visit. Same thing will happen in Mission Bay with the Warriors. Levi’s is horrible because it doesn’t have the public transport to support it and is basically an island around itself. San Francisco was smart not to want to publicly fund that disaster.

Hope Johnson January 7, 2019 at 2:44 PM

@ Pyrrhus – There should definitely not be any public funds used for this project.

Just to clarify some issues with AT&T Park in SF. SF bragged that it spent only $15M on the stadium because it did have to pay to move a transit stop. But there were other costs involved no one likes to talk about. The land was “donated” to the Giants by SF and was estimated to be worth something like $33M at the time. Because the land itself is owned by SF, it is exempt from regular property taxes. SF does collect possessory interest taxes on the Giants’ leasing rights (which is less than the property value tax would be) but economists in 2005 estimated this resulted in a loss of $83M in property taxes as of 2005. It was also estimated at that time it cost SF $25M in fire, police, and garbage services. And it’s reasonable to assume this cost has increased greatly over time. I work down the street from the stadium and King Street has to be closed toward the end of each home game.

A couple of years ago, the Giants also tried to say the value of the stadium was half of what SF’s assessors office said it was, and asked to have the taxes it owed cut in half.

It is definitely needed to demand private funding only but there are still costs to taxpayers to consider.

Just my opinion on this part, but I don’t think a fancy major league ball park built on the waterfront near a beautiful bridge with spectacular views is comparable to a semi-pro soccer stadium in Concord. The build up around the ballpark was not only for the building itself but the waterfront value – that’s why the area around other inland stadiums don’t generate the same interests. Most visitors to a soccer stadium will park in the neighborhood but spend money in the stadium, not surrounding areas. Maybe this could be improved by the convention center that is supposed to be included in the project but I don’t see any basis for that. Concord is always thinking they will do better with the same exact project if they just build a new building. Instead, they will probably just kill off the Todos Santos area by building a new area around the stadium. A lot like the Veranda is hurting the Willows. And they are already anticipating killing off the Concord Pavilion. How will the neighbors like to hear some metal or rap bands for the evening?

Plus, there is zero support for the idea its being near Concord Bart will improve use of public transit. Bart continues to lose money on its extension to the Oakland Airport because Bart is expensive for trips by more than one person. Families coming to a soccer game will save lots of money by taking their own car or a ride share. It’s expensive for four or five people’s combined Bart fare. And this is going to be a 15,000 to 18,000 seat stadium.

Ricardus January 7, 2019 at 9:47 AM

It’s already a bottleneck down there. Combine that with all the people headed to Costco on the weekends and it will be Carmageddon if this goes through.

Sick of it January 7, 2019 at 9:51 AM

Concord Worst roads in the nation and they want to spend money on this crap. The council needs to be removed from office immediately. Plus that area cannot handle the extra traffic. It’s a nightmare going through there as it is during commute hours as everyone heads home. Idiots for even considering it But of course they all will want there name on a plaque on it

A big NO!!

The Grant January 7, 2019 at 9:51 AM

Tons of land at the Navy weapons station, why not build it out there?

The Mamba January 7, 2019 at 9:54 AM

$750 million for a division 2 soccer team’s stadium? Hard pass.

Bob January 7, 2019 at 9:58 AM

Of the 100 things that the City of Concord needs, a soccer stadium comes in #137–

concord grape January 7, 2019 at 9:59 AM

Mark Hall any relation to Mark Davis? I can see Concord going down the same path as Oakland. How much is this going to cost us tax payers? Idea, tax the people that voted these clowns in.

Bill Cutting January 7, 2019 at 10:04 AM

We have enough traffic as it is in concord and the infrastructure will not be able to handle this.

ClayDen January 7, 2019 at 10:11 AM

“might require significant financial help from the city.” Might????? And “Moonbeam’s folly” (the high speed choo choo) will come in on budget, on time and makes economic sense……………..yeah right.

Beam me up!

Silva January 7, 2019 at 10:15 AM

Insanity reigns in Concord. Why not?

HooHaa January 7, 2019 at 10:26 AM

They can build it with private funding – no public money.

Anon January 7, 2019 at 10:32 AM

Wow, all of the people who moved into those Luxury apartments near the old Lehmers property are going to get screwed if this happens.

They had better speak up.

Amy January 7, 2019 at 10:35 AM

Does anybody remember the traffic nightmare along Galindo, Clayton Rd. and Willow Pass due to the fire at the apartment complex last year? What are the City planners smoking?

NoMoreFreeRide January 7, 2019 at 10:40 AM

Nope

Eric January 7, 2019 at 10:50 AM

How about a public multi-use park with multiple sports enemities… A stadium would just eventually force more middle income people out of town.

ON DA January 7, 2019 at 10:50 AM

Walnut Creek Developer. THAT PRETTY MUCH SUMS IT UP !!!

Bob January 7, 2019 at 12:06 PM

LOL. Hall Equities Group does indeed throw their wright around like a spoiled privileged child. They recently overwhelmed CCCounty with their plans to redevelop Saranap area. They’re still manipulating things inside WC city limits.

hill January 7, 2019 at 10:51 AM

My guess would be they want to put it in that spot to be close to its target audience. Horrible place for it, I would be for it if , 1. it was not near downtown and 2. if the city was not funding it. But I guess if they have the money to give themselves raises and make a $34,000 lip sink video, they have money to burn.

Nutcreek Frontier January 7, 2019 at 10:56 AM

Agree with others, there should be no government subsidy of private sports facilities. So, often these are forced onto poorer communities, at the expense of roads, schools and public safety. So, many hidden costs…such as increased LE needed for events, parking and transit fixes…

JustMe January 7, 2019 at 10:57 AM

This is a great idea and would revitalize downtown….

BUT, it would require sale of the Concord Pavilion?!

Actually if the city weren’t to own the pavilion, I think it would be better off. If memory serves, Live Nation was under-booking the pavilion BECAUSE of city ownership vs favoring Live Nation fully owned venues.

Anyway, a stadium for sports events would be rather cool.

The Fearless Spectator January 7, 2019 at 11:00 AM

Besides Soccer they plan to bring in World Wrestling Entertainment and Monster Trucks. Fun for the whole family; bring the kids!

Nah January 7, 2019 at 11:08 AM

Keep soccer out of concord. EW. We got no room or time for that. Traffic is a nightmare in that area.. even the side streets get busy over there. If anything a better sport or idea can go over in the naval weapon station area but in prefer NOTHING.

Phil January 7, 2019 at 11:24 AM

An idiotic location for a sports arena! Years ago the city tried to work with Kennedy University to build a campus at this site, and the city would have gotten a new library there. We still need a new library and with the state now telling local jurisdictions it can and will take land to build housing, perhaps we should get a developer to build us the library as part of a housing complex. No towers, please: just a few stories of decent apartments/condos.

inmotion January 7, 2019 at 11:25 AM

NO NO NO NO
We need affortable housing.

TOB January 7, 2019 at 11:42 AM

Before Concord does anything, maintain what you have. Fix the darn pot holes. Treat is embarrassing, welcome to Concord and roads decayed, no slurry, no pot holes being fixed. Maintain your roads before building anything more. Even if it could be done privately still more up keep and they can’t even maintain roads now. Show you can manage a city properly with visible result on our roads. Until then this city government is incompetent. Roads 1st before projects.. JMO of Concord.

concord ygnacio January 7, 2019 at 11:53 AM

A soccer stadium would transform Concord into a world-class city. It would become a destination city, rather than a bedroom suburb.

Chicken Little January 7, 2019 at 12:21 PM

So would more homeless, poop on the sidewalks, needles littering the streets, and higher crime, but we don’t want any of that either.

Rollo Tomasi January 7, 2019 at 11:02 PM

“A soccer stadium would transform Concord into a world-class city.”

No, it wouldn’t.

Bob Foo January 7, 2019 at 12:14 PM

Concord needs more housing. Plain and simple. Any council member that approves this I will vote against next time around.

ManBearPig January 8, 2019 at 3:40 PM

Concord is based on districts now, so you only have one possible candidate to vote against if your sitting council person supports this idea….

Anon January 7, 2019 at 12:30 PM

Build it in Walnut Creek where the developer lives.

RN's Mom January 7, 2019 at 12:43 PM

If Mark Hall wants a soccer stadium, let him come up with $750 million plus the cost of the required infrastructure that will support it. The City doesn’t have the money to support this.

Nokeem January 7, 2019 at 1:04 PM

These supposed joint ventures make one side rich and one side holding the bag. How about paying for my business, donate the land and build ME my offices, give me a tax break, deal with traffic while I chopper in, and give me a big thank you for the jobs I create cleaning my business.

Pyrrhus January 7, 2019 at 1:27 PM

Well, if you are concerned about crime then yes redeveloping an area is actually a good way to reduce crime and make people actually want to visit. I mean, can you give me an example of where an area cleaned up crime first and then built something new? Usually, it needs to go hand in hand. Downtown Pittsburg would never have been cleaned up without the redevelopment.

As long as Concord doesn’t have to pay for it other than maybe a tax break I’m all for it.

LMS January 7, 2019 at 3:00 PM

Focus on fixing our current traffic issues not in making things worse.
Invest in our schools instead so we are not the lowest rated in the area

Resident January 7, 2019 at 3:28 PM

Does anyone know what the heavy machines and crews have already started doing on that site (It’s just North of CPD headquarters, East of Galindo between Laguna and Oak Streets)? There have been some big machines that appear to be doing some ground work (maybe installing drainage?) It’s been fenced off where they are working.

Even with moderate rains, that lot gets completely saturated and turns into a small pond (standing water).

Mongoose January 7, 2019 at 3:56 PM

Go for it. I love watching pait dry.

Soccer? January 7, 2019 at 4:27 PM

Just google…soccer fan fights. See if that changes your mind.

Scoob January 7, 2019 at 5:08 PM

I do not think there is enough land for a stadium at this site. I believe the property is between Galindo and Mt Diablo Streets, and Laguna and Oak Street, plus a small strip between Mt Diablo and the BART parking lot. While it would be nice to develop this area, it is not big enough for what they are proposing. And yes, they are already putting in huge sewer pipes and other infrastructure on this property, behind screened fencing. Hall is notorious for building properties with very inadequate parking (just try to park in the Sprouts shopping center in Walnut Creek). The surrounding parking garages and BART parking are already full every day, so unless Hall is going to build thousands of parking spots (which they are undoubtedly not going to do), this will lead to a parking nightmare. If they could combine this with building out the property to the south along Monument, and the property where the Yamaha dealership used to be, and commit to realistically adequate parking. I could see it working. However, I just can’t see how a stadium would even fit there… On a personal note, this Hall guy’s brother interviewed me for a job years ago, for which I took time off work to attend, and the jerk never bothered to follow up with me in any way. A quick, call, text or email would have been courteous. I think that speaks to character – not good.

Bob January 7, 2019 at 8:10 PM

This could only sound like a good idea to Concord politicians.

Arthur January 7, 2019 at 10:22 PM

Cowell Road can hardly handle the extra traffic from swim meets… a soccer stadium?? NO WAY!

Fred January 7, 2019 at 10:42 PM

What would the traffic be like on the days they have events? I vote no!!

BagsFlyFree January 8, 2019 at 10:42 AM

Oak Grove/Monument 4 corners is a better site for this stadium. Alternative options would be to build parking garages at the pavilion, and build there. Developers are skimming off city/county lots looking for handouts. Hard Pass!!!

BFF Out!

Original G January 8, 2019 at 11:48 AM

Progressive liberal politician’s wet Utopian fantasy is to have high density housing and entertainment venues built near to high capacity mass transit (bart). An to eliminate any need for personal vehicles, to that end higher prices for bridges during certain hours with eventual fantasy of banning personal vehicles from large cities.

Monument Neighbor January 8, 2019 at 11:31 AM

Will the Initial Exclusive Negotiating Agreement (IENA) preclude other developers from offering proposals for the site?

I’ll be attending the Council Meeting tonight and urge others to attend also. I want the Council and City Staff to address why Hall Equities Group needs an Initial Exclusive Negotiating Agreement (IENA) to proceed with this proposal.

Concord needs housing. A Soccer Stadium may be a good idea for Concord, I’m just not sure it’s the best use for this particular property and I would like to keep our options open for other Developers to present ideas.

Hope Johnson January 8, 2019 at 3:07 PM

The City Clerk advised me that this item is being moved to the January 22, 2019, meeting.

ManBearPig January 8, 2019 at 3:45 PM

If you see a vacant underused parcel somewhere in the city, you are free to locate the owner and discuss with them the possibility of buying it. You’re free to float an idea to redevelop the vacant parcel into additional housing if you do see fit. Talk to a developer and architect to flesh out your idea, secure financing, purchase the property, and apply for any & all city permits/approvals to build your beloved additional housing or whatever.

Hall had the guts to think of an idea and propose it to the city. You too had the chance to do so too. You’re the same people who were crying about the vacant lot at Clayton & Treat that was continuously used as a bathroom by the homeless and to sell random cars and then whined about Starbucks scoping it out for a better more visible location. They beat you to it. You had as much opportunity to propose something to the property owner which more fit your narrow view of the world. You failed. If you want it, go build it.

Hope Johnson January 8, 2019 at 4:14 PM

The City of Concord IS the property owner in this case. Hall is proposing the idea because in addition to his real estate business he has become the CEO of Hall Sports Ventures. He wants a soccer stadium but he wants the city to pay for it. In the State of CA, Hall would not have to pay property taxes on the property if the city retains ownership. Hall doesn’t have “guts”, he wants some corporate welfare.

ManBearPig January 8, 2019 at 4:49 PM

He’s come up with an idea how to transform the area, you’ve come up with nothing.

You or anyone else can propose obtaining that parcel from the city and building what you want to see. There’s nothing stopping you…

Hope Johnson January 8, 2019 at 6:02 PM

Get a clue – he is not trying to obtain the parcel from the city. He wants the city to foot the bill to build a soccer stadium with taxpayer money. All risks to the city, all benefits to him. Not exactly an ethical plan that most people would want to pursue.

And, most people don’t have the capital to build, including any number of developers who proposed grand plans on property they actually do own downtown (hence many of the remaining empty lots). But it doesn’t mean people can build whatever they want just because they are wealthy. We own that property through the city. And – don’t think for a minute that some nonprofits haven’t attempted to get some kind of affordable housing going there.

You have no idea if people posting here have come up with nothing. The people on the Council listen to people with money not people with good ideas – the Council wanted the responsibility for the outcome of that policy and now they have it. You are laying the blame at the wrong door.

ManBearPig January 9, 2019 at 3:59 AM

You’re more than welcome to come up with your own idea for this parcel and pitch it to council. Nothing is stopping you.

Thanks for proving over and over why you couldn’t get elected onto council in the first place, even clueless edi knows more than you.

Fix Our Roads January 8, 2019 at 6:41 PM

Big NO. Please spend the money to alleviate all the problems this city is already dealing with especially with our horrible roads!

Igetminefromtheman January 11, 2019 at 6:08 PM

Division 2? Come on. Sacramento is twice the size of concord and only sells out 11,500 seats. For what 25 home games or 25 days for soccer only?

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