The settlement of a lawsuit concerning Howard Terminal on downtown Oakland’s waterfront could clear the way for a new Oakland A’s ballpark near Jack London Square — if Lew Wolff is interested.
Oakland officials had pitched MLB on the desirability of a waterfront ballpark, and now the way is cleared for it to happen — potentially. The city’s Port Authority had been sued by SSA Terminals over a deal between the authority and competitor Ports America. The contention: Ports America received a better deal than SSA Terminals’ lease.
The settlement ends a current SSA Terminals lease and allows the firm to set up shop in terminals elsewhere on the waterfront, allowing the firm to build out larger facilities better suited to handle larger shipping vessels. It also leaves Howard Terminals without a tenant, clearing the way for redevelopment that could include a new A’s ballpark.
Whether the A’s will take up the plan, of course, is debatable. A’s owner Lew Wolff has been an unyielding advocate of a new San Jose ballpark, but MLB owners and Commissioner Bud Selig have refused to take up the matter after the San Francisco Giants claimed territorial rights over San Jose and Santa Clara County. A committee appointed by Selig has thus far refused to make a final recommendation on a future home for the A’s. If a waterfront ballpark is indeed feasible — and so far we don’t know that it is, past some assurance from Oakland elected officials — it will certainly complicate an effort by the committee to make a final recommendation. As long as there’s a viable ballpark plan in Oakland, it’s doubtful you’ll see MLB sign off on a move that directly infringes currently held territorial rights.
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