San Jose

Sharks Look at Possibility of Leaving SAP Center Due to Surrounding Development

NBC Universal, Inc.

The Shark Tank without Sharks? It's a distant possibility for the only professional hockey team in the Bay Area, according to the team president.

The San Jose Sharks posted an open letter to fans and supporters Thursday indicating that the team could be forced out of SAP Center because of the Google downtown village project and other construction in the area.

"For more than a year, we have been sharing our concerns with you regarding the proposed, massive development projects within the Diridon area of downtown San Jose, which surrounds SAP Center," the letter states. "For the past several years, we have been sharing those same concerns with city of San Jose officials and Google. Unfortunately, those discussions have yielded limited results and the planners of these projects appear intent on moving forward in a manner that could force the Sharks out of San Jose."

Team President Jonathan Becher said on social media Thursday the move would be a last resort, and the Sharks are supportive of the development projects. But he added the number and scale of the projects pose safety concerns for fans.

"This is our home. We don't want to go," Becher told NBC Bay Area. "But at some point if it becomes unfeasible to be here, we'd have to consider that."

The city of San Jose in October released a revised plan for the 250-acre Google project in the Diridon neighborhood that surrounds SAP Center on West Santa Clara Street.

In the letter, the Sharks say they are concerned about three areas the project will impact: street access, sufficient parking and construction impacts.

The Sharks said they have had very positive discussions with Google about the project. They said their main issue is with the city.

Mayor Sam Liccardo said he's confident both sides can come together.

"I am confident that nothing we do will in any way hasten the departure of the franchise from the city," he said.

The Sharks have not played a game at SAP Center since March because of coronavirus restrictions. The NHL does not have a set date for opening the 2020-21 season, though it has mentioned Jan. 1 as a target start date.

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