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Wolff warming to new Oakland ballpark?

Proposed Oakland Athletics ballpark

While flatly rejecting the idea of a waterfront ballpark, Oakland Athletics co-owner Lew Wolff said there is the potential to do a deal at the current Coliseum site — quite a reversal from his previous opposition.

Oakland officials are pushing two viable sites for a new A’s ballpark: the Howard Terminal site on the inner-harbor waterfront (as shown above), and Coliseum City, a proposed redevelopment of the current Coliseum/Oracle Arena complex and surrounding areas. Both have their issues — there’s lot of remediation issues at the terminal site, and Coliseum City will require a deep-pocketed developer as a partner. From the San Jose Mercury-News:

Reacting to newly-released details of the bayfront plan, Wolff on Monday said that a stadium on Port of Oakland property looking out toward the Bay was “absolutely impossible.” But in a departure from years of declaring that he had exhausted all his options in Oakland, Wolff told this newspaper, “That doesn’t mean there isn’t a place in Oakland where you could do something.”

The most likely location, he said, “would be where we’re at right now. On land controlled by (the city and county).”

Now, as appealing as the rendering of the waterfront ballpark is, there is a certain elegance to the Coliseum City proposal, for it kills three birds with one stone: it would generate new revenues while providing new facilities for both the A’s and the Oakland Raiders. Since the demise of community redevelopment funding in California, it’s been impossible to put together a new-ballpark plan on any level that includes public funding, so we’re talking about the need to find private monies for ballparks. Since the Coliseum Authority already owns most of the land and BART service is already present, there are no infrastucture issues present. And with the Golden State Warriors set to vacate Oracle Arena in the future, there’s no tenant displacement.

Image courtesy MANICA Architecture.

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