Since a raucous planning commission meeting last February that resulted in the last hurdle to a new San Jose Earthquakes stadium being cleared, progress toward a groundbreaking ceremony for the new facility has been slow and steady. The organization has released periodic updates as to the steps being taken toward the first shovels in the ground, but the announcement of a timeline for construction has not been forthcoming.
In an article in the San Jose Business Journal, Earthquakes president David Kaval was quoted as saying it was "hard to say" whether the stadium would open by 2013 or 2014. All through the process to get approval for the project, the goal was stated that the organization hoped to have the stadium ready for the start of the 2013 season, but with the bureaucratic steps involved, that estimate has been steadily pushed back. Having the stadium completed in time for the start of the 2014 season seems more in line with how the process has unfolded to this point.
Good news has come for those able to take advantage of the opportunity to grab the best seats in the house, as the organization has announced that all 12 luxury suites have been purchased in the new stadium. The over $4 million generated from those leases will soon see additional money generated from the sale of newly announced club level seating and patio level suites. Making up the first three rows of seating in the new stadium, sitting just feet away from the sidelines will cost between $1800 and $2500 per seat per year. No announcement has yet been made about what seating will be offered along the endline.
In related stadium news, progress is finally being made on realizing the development of additional soccer fields in the area immediately surrounding the new stadium. A city vote more than a decade ago called for the construction of a soccer complex for use by residents, but efforts to push the project forward have been painfully slow. The project appears to be making some headway, as the city is expected to approve a plan for the four artificial turf fields project and install the Earthquakes organization as facility managers. Together with the existing training field and the new stadium field, the site could one day boast six playing fields as part of the complex.
[Update: The San Jose City Council unanimously approved the deal for the new soccer complex, including the awarding of facility management rights to the San Jose Earthquakes.]