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Oakland pitches new Athletics ballpark sites

Howard Terminal, Oakland A's ballpark

We’re back to the future in the Bay Area, where Oakland officials are pitching ballpark sites to the Athletics ownership — even though there’s a solid chance the team will be the only tenant in the Coliseum area in a few years.

Ten potential ballpark sites are listed in a presentation from Oakland officials to the A’s front office, but five of them are immediately rejected out of hand because of issues in acquiring enough land for a ballpark. That includes a Jack London Square site previously proposed for a new A’s ballpark.

And the other five potential ballpark sites, including three college and U.S. Postal Service sites that don’t appear to actually be available for development, have significant problems. One of the more desirable sites, the Howard Terminal location that’s also been on a city of Oakland wish list, also has a significant issue in terms of remediation. And they all have issues with parking and proximity to a BART stop.

All in all, the potential sites don’t seem to inspire a lot of confidence. None are as good as the current Coliseum site, which does feature plenty of parking and a BART stop. What’s really going on: Oakland officials are laying the groundwork for what comes after a potential January vote by the NFL on a potential relocation application from the Oakland Raiders. It’s clear Coliseum will be going away at some point. If the Raiders are staying in Oakland, then the Coliseum site can be pitched as the location of a new NFL stadium while the A’s relocate. If the Raiders are leaving, the Coliseum area can be slated for redevelopment. We’re not seeing a scenario where a new ballpark is slated for a new A’s ballpark — even though it’s the logical location. (We’re also assuming the Golden State Warriors will be successful in their drive for a new Mission Bay arena.) From the Contra Costa Times:

A’s co-owner Lew Wolff declined to discuss the sites Tuesday. In an email, Wolff said the ballclub was continuing to take a second look at possible stadium locations within its East Bay territory and that there was no timetable for completing its review.….

“It’s not like you open up this document and … a perfect site jumps out at you,” said Andy Dolich, a former A’s executive and current sports business consultant. “Every one of those alternatives is fraught with delay, incredible extra expense and logistical hurdles that are already solved at the Coliseum.”

Several of the proposed stadium locations, including Laney College and nearby Brooklyn Basin, scored poorly on a previous 2001 study and would present a new set of challenges.

The weird thing is: none of these sites are new and fresh, and most have already been rejected in past studies. The report may be new, but the data is not.

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