Earthquakes get ready to lay stable foundations
24 Feb 2012
Major League Soccer (MLS) franchise the San Jose Earthquakes has received a major boost after securing a key victory in its bid to develop a new stadium.
The San Jose Planning Commission has voted 6-0 to uphold the Earthquakes’ Planned Development Permit late on Wednesday night, paving the way for the club to break ground on the stadium. The club had secured the Permit in December, but had to overcome an appeal. “Tonight’s decision to uphold the Planned Development Permit that we received in December is a milestone not just for the San Jose Earthquakes but all Bay Area soccer fans,” said Earthquakes president Dave Kaval. “Our club and its stakeholders have worked hard through this process and we feel that we have a great plan for our new stadium. Looking ahead, our club will now begin the work of finalising the stadium design and financing plan. The goal is to put shovels in the ground this year.”
The development of a soccer-specific stadium has been a major issue in the Bay Area. The Earthquakes franchise was moved to Houston and renamed the Dynamo in 2005 mainly because it was unable to secure a suitable venue in California. Since restarting in 2008, San Jose has played in Buck Shaw Stadium, which has a capacity of 10,300. Plans for the new 18,000-seat stadium have been in the works since September 2009. The new stadium has an eye-catching horseshoe-shaped design and the club has revealed it has already sold 10 of 12 available field-level luxury suites, generating over US$3.5 million in revenue for the project.
The $60 million facility is set to be entirely privately financed by the Earthquakes’ ownership group led by Lew Wolff. “I can tell you in 20 years (working for MLS)…this is the first time I’ve ever spoken before a group like this and not been asking for public money,” said MLS president Mark Abbott. “It’s very unique to find, in this day and age – or any day and age, really – an ownership group like we have here in San Jose, willing to 100% privately finance the facility.”