In an email to season ticket holders earlier today, San Jose Sharks president Jonathan Beecher warned fans that proposed development projects in the downtown San Jose area “could force the Sharks out of San Jose.” Beecher says that if the proposed plans remain in place that the Sharks' home arena, SAP Center, "simply cannot survive."
Last month, the city of San Jose publicly revealed plans for development of 250 acres of land which includes Google's massive "Downtown West" project and will feature 65 new builidngss, parks arenas and retail shops. Despite rising some alarm bells, Beecher maintains that the Sharks' priority is to remain in the city until their lease expires in 2025 and, ultimately, the team would like to extend their lease until 2040. Still, things may be out of the team's hands.
“I think by the end of 2021 this will be decided one way or another,” Becher said in a conference call with reporters. “And I think a lot of those decisions politically will have been discussed in the next four months, let’s say.”
Kevin Kurz of The Athletic breaks down exactly what Beecher and the Sharks take issue with:
The Sharks’ concerns revolve mostly around ensuring reasonable access to the building, which hosts approximately 175 events per year, including concerts and family shows. According to Becher, there are three legs to that concern. One, the increase in expected traffic downtown, which could be seven to 20 times greater than it is presently. Two, the lack of parking. Three, the BART/Caltrain projects that will be happening concurrently with other construction. A high-speed rail at some point is also possible.
Beecher explained that all of these developments are "within the same 15 to 20 year period, zero coordination between them."
San Jose mayor Sam Liccardo seems to be playing off any impact on the Sharks and, frankly, seems somewhat dismissive of their concerns. “I am absolutely certain that nothing about our community’s long-standing ambitions for transit and urban development in Downtown West will threaten the Sharks’ treasured tenure here,” he said to the Mercury Times earlier today. Sounds like a bit of fluff to me...
Thoughts, Sharks fans?
For more on this from Kurz, click below: