Pulling a page from the “if you build it, they will come” playbook of the late 1980s, when San Jose broke ground on an arena before a sports team signed up to play here, the City Council three weeks ago created a new quasi-public entity and transferred several large chunks of real estate to its control.
The new San Jose Diridon Development Authority now controls nine parcels that the city purchased over a 15-year period for more than $25 million. Seven of them lie directly adjacent to Diridon Station and south of HP Pavilion. Like a runner on third base when the pitcher’s back is turned, the city is charging forward to claim more pieces of land for the stadium grounds.
Slated to become Bay Area’s transit epicenter—including the region’s high-speed rail gateway to Southern California—Diridon Station’s surroundings almost certainly will grow well beyond their current value. That’s why the city and the Redevelopment Agency took the unprecedented—and, some believe, legally questionable—step. Gov. Jerry Brown’s threat to shutter the state’s 400-plus redevelopment agencies to shore up California’s broke state government prompted San Jose’s hardball play.