Lewis N. Wolff (born 1935) is an Americanreal estate developer. Wolff is also known for owning sports franchises; he is currently the co-owner of the Oakland Athletics of Major League Baseball and the San Jose Earthquakes of Major League Soccer as well as co-chairman of the board of Sunstone Investors, Inc. since October 2004. Wolff is credited with the redevelopment and revitalization of downtown San Jose, where for many years he was the largest developer of office, hotel, and parking. He has led an ongoing effort to relocate the Oakland Athletics to San Jose, which has been met with criticism.
In 1958, Wolff took a job as a real estate appraiser in St. Louis. In 1961, his company sent him to Los Angeles to open a regional office and in 1963, he co-founded a real estate consulting firm. In the 1960s, he was very successful developing the booming San Diego market and earned a solid reputation in the industry. In the 1970s, he accepted a position with 20th Century Fox tasked with managing its worldwide real estate investments. Wolff's approach - which he would successfully apply throughout his career - was to find partners who would contribute most of the money but allow Wolff to manage the investment.
Wolff has become unpopular with many fans for his efforts to move the A's out of Oakland. His initial attempts to relocate took place in 2006 when he sought to move the team to Fremont. After Fremont fell through, Wolff began advocating a move to a new ballpark in San Jose. However, the San Francisco Giants own the territorial rights to San Jose, and the two teams appear to be at an impasse. Meanwhile, Wolff has been criticized for enjoying the team's profits and rising market value, even as its fan base becomes increasingly frustrated. Wolff's public denigration of Oakland as a viable market has caused strife between the ownership and the local community, resulting in calls for Wolff to sell the team. One sportswriter called him "the most hated man in Oakland." Further criticism of Lew Wolff's desire to transplant the team to the Giants' south bay territory results from the fact that Lew Wolff allegedly owns and manages properties near the "proposed" San Jose ballpark.  Another major criticism is the creation (of sorts) of a "baseball configuration" at the O.co Coliseum by covering almost all of the upper deck with a tarp, eliminating the use of the upper deck with the exception of the "Value Deck" sections, just behind home plate.