Between now and New Year’s Eve we’ll run down the top ten stories covered on Ballpark Digest in 2014, determined by page views. At #6: efforts toward construction of a new Oakland Athletics ballpark.
It’s one of the longest-running drama in Major League Baseball: the future of the Oakland Athletics, either at a new Coliseum-area ballpark or in San Jose. The team has for years worked toward a new downtown San Jose ballpark, but those efforts have been blocked first by Major League Baseball and then the American legal system, which thwarted efforts by San Jose to allow a move of the team.
In 2014, there were steps toward a ballpark resolution — but they were baby steps, to be sure. Oakland city officials worked toward a Coliseum City plan where the current O.co Coliseum area would be redeveloped with a mixed-use development. Alas, the idea remains more concept than reality as we move into 2015, but for a time in 2014 the proposal had some real potential:
Though the details are sketchy, a new developer is reportedly signed up to move the proposed Coliseum City project forward, which could spur construction of a new Oakland A’s ballpark.
The name of the new developer is expected to be announced after the city agrees to an exclusive negotiating period, a move that could happen as soon as Tuesday. The project, which will combine new facilities for the A’s and the Oakland Raiders (NFL) with residential, retail and office at the current O.co Coliseum site, has been stalled. A’s owner Lew Wolff has expressed interest in developing the site — albeit on a much more modest basis — but so far he’s not been involved in discussions with the city or the potential new developer.
This came after A’s managing partner Lew Wolff opened the door to keeping the A’s in Oakland after years of saying the only suitable new location for the team was San Jose.
At the end of the day, Wolff and crew settled on a ten-year O.co Coliseum lease extension while continuing to work on a ballpark solution. As noted, some baby steps were taken toward a new ballpark — and it will be interesting to see if the pace quickens in 2015.
As noted, we’re running down the top 10 stories of 2014 on Ballpark Digest. Previously: