Turning the heat up on Lew Wolff and MLB, Oakland business and political leaders unveiled plans for a new $500-million, 38,000-seat ballpark at the Port of Oakland, for the Oakland Athletics.
This gives the A’s two potential ballpark sites in the city of Oakland: Coliseum City, which would contain new facilities for the A’s and the Oakland Athletics, and this waterfront site. It also would appear to fulfill a criteria set by MLB Commissioner Bud Selig: that Oakland needs to develop a usable site for a new A’s ballpark, or the city would run the risk of losing the team. There is one other possible outcome should it become clear a San Jose ballpark is truly out of the picture: a sale of the team to a local business group (led by Clorox chairman and CEO Don Knauss and former Dreyer’s Grand Ice Cream boss T. Gary Roger, who have worked on the ballpark plan as well).
This is not an ideal site: there’s a lot of remediation needed. But it is available — the tenant at the Howard Terminal is vacating the property — and would be a nice addition to the Jack London Square area. From the San Francisco Chronicle:
The group will soon ask the Port of Oakland to give it control over the 50-acre Howard Terminal site. It says it has raised enough money to start an environmental review and get the regulatory approval process going, and it’s come up with drawings of what the stadium might look like.
Project backers say the ballpark requires only 14 acres, leaving ample space for retail development or other uses that would help pay for a stadium, as well as parking.
And though it’s too early to say if public money would be required, there has been talk of the port providing the land for the ballpark at nominal cost in hopes of spurring economic activity in the area.
The ballpark is currently priced at $500 million, but there will be plenty of other costs involved, as the aforementioned remediation and the potential extension of the BART line to the ballpark along existing rail lines. The ballpark is also close to Interstates 880 and 980, so there’s plenty of access.
If anything, the release of ballpark plans and the news that MLB reportedly told the A’s a San Jose move would not be allowed puts the future of the Athletics into an advanced state of uncertainty. If San Jose is indeed out, Oakland must deliver on one of the two ballpark sites if the Bay Area is to keep the A’s.
Image courtesy MANICA Architecture.
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