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Local business leaders moving forward with Oakland port ballpark plan

Proposed Oakland ballpark

A group of local businessmen are working with the Port of Oakland on a set of surveys and land appraisals to determine the feasibility of an Oakland Athletics ballpark on a waterfront site.

Two sites have emerged as the possible future home of the A’s: a redeveloped Coliseum complex that could possibly house a new Oakland Raiders stadium as well, and the downtown Port of Oakland terminal site. A’s ownership has spoken out against both sites, saying they’re not practical; Lew Wolff has been especially harsh in his condemnation of the Howard Terminal waterfront site, saying environmental problems and a lack of BART access makes it unsuitable for the ballpark. That’s not stopping a team of local businessmen (Clorox CEO Don Knauss, developer Mike Ghielmetti and former Dreyer’s CEO T. Gary Rogers) from putting up their own money for site surveys and environmental studies. From the Oakland Tribune:

They sought the one-year agreement and hope to eventually secure an additional two- to three-year option period during which they would work to obtain the necessary permits and perform an estimated $1 million environmental review on the site. For now, the businessmen, operating as Oakland Waterfront Ballpark, LLC, are proposing to deposit $100,000 with the port, half of which could be used for studies such as land appraisals and site surveys….

Oakland business leaders prefer the port site to the A’s current home in East Oakland because a waterfront stadium could spur additional development around Jack London Square and the city center.

The port, whose shipping business is operating well below capacity, is considering new uses for the terminal, which was vacated recently. A ballpark or any nonmaritime-related development still would need approval from state regulators.

Wolff has resisted efforts to commit him to an Oakland ballpark plan. With San Jose off the docket as a potential landing pad, he’s suggest a temporary ballpark should efforts to land a 10-year lease extension at O.Co Coliseum not be forthcoming.

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