Kaval's Kickoff: The latest on London and SJ's new stadium

In an effort to better communicate with our world-class fans and community partners, I have decided to start a weekly blog – Kaval’s Kickoff - to highlight some of the exciting and newsworthy events here at the Quakes. I want to encourage fans and members of the community to write me directly with questions and or areas to address in my weekly updates. My email is president@sjearthquakes.com.
 
It has been an exciting week for the Quakes and soccer in the Bay Area. The team embarked on the “big bird” to London on Thursday to spend ten days training at Spurs Lodge with Tottenham Hotspur of the English Premier League (EPL). This is a continuation of our innovative partnership with the historic EPL club that saw Tottenham play the Quakes in front of a sellout crowd last July at Buck Shaw Stadium. Our time in England paid dividends last year by scrimmaging with the best clubs in the world as well as creating a shared experience amongst players that created a stronger team identity. Those factors helped us in our exciting playoff run to the MLS Cup semifinals last Fall.  As the only MLS team training in England this year, we hope to leverage this year’s trip into another great playoff run.
 
On the stadium front, the San Jose Earthquakes continue to take important steps toward achieving the team’s desire to build a 100 percent privately funded soccer specific stadium in the City of San Jose. I wanted to provide some updates and insights into where we are in the process and answer some questions that folks have sent my way.
 
The most exciting news is that the Earthquakes will begin the demolition of the abandoned building structures (old FMC plant) on the proposed stadium property on March 3rd. This demolition work will be paid for in its entirety by the Earthquakes organization. The process will take 12 weeks and 80 percent of the building will be completely recycled.  We have a really cool demolition ceremony planned and I will have more on that event as we get closer to D-Day.  
 
Additionally, the Earthquakes have begun working with the City of San Jose with regard to obtaining the required Planned Development Permit (PD Permit) for the future stadium development.
 
The PD Permit is an initial step in the building permit process whereby the City typically reviews the general massing of the planned structures with more detailed design elements specified at later stages in the permitting process. The Earthquakes PD Permit submittal included computerized massing drawings provided by our General Contractor (Devcon Construction) in coordination with our design architect (360 Architecture).
 
It should be noted for our fans that the PD Permit drawings are construction massing documents and not intended to be colorful renderings for the development.  Basically, this is not what the stadium actually looks like but working documents from our construction partner to ensure we build to code and have the proper input from the City and its planning commission.
 
Our first submittal contemplated the potential for a more traditional soccer stadium structure with three distinct sections for discussion with the City Staff (see illustration #1 below). This was originally contemplated in order to better allow sunlight to reach the grass field as the roof was obstructing the natural light.  Several of the recent soccer stadiums have run into problems with their roofs blocking the natural sunlight and creating a poor playing surface. Here in California, we want to ensure that the field is of the highest quality and serves as a physical representation of our commitment to the game. This will also enable us to attract the best soccer players in the World and give us an advantage over many of our rivals on the West Coast that have fallen in love with FieldTurf.
 
At the same time, the horseshoe design with a full wrap around roof was a preferred style of our architectural partners and better embodied our shared vision of the stadium that was set to resemble some of the great classic European stadia.
 
Fortunately, our crack team of builders, designers, and stadium architects were able to incorporate a new roof material that will allow the sunlight to sufficiently pass through while still providing a cool enclosed environment for fans. We are in the process of updating our initial PD Permit submittal that will feature the originally planned continuous horseshoe configuration and roofing structure consistent with the conceptual renderings provided in illustration #2 below.  We are excited to have found a workable solution to the sunlight issue. The Earthquakes and their partners continue to fine tune the overall design.
 
I look forward to providing continued updates on the stadium development as we work through the process toward our new home.
 
This is an exciting time for the San Jose Earthquakes as we get ready for another great season with our opening day on March 19 vs Real Salt Lake at Buck Shaw Stadium. I hope to see everyone there!
 
As always, feel free to contact me at president@sjearthquakes.com
 
GO QUAKES!
 
Dave Kaval
President
San Jose Earthquakes