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Is Howard Terminal Out as A’s Ballpark Site?

1960 Oakland Coliseum proposal

Howard Terminal has never been an ideal site for a new Oakland Athletics ballpark given the access and remediation issues, and there are reports that the team’s front office has eliminated it from consideration, focusing on the current Coliseum site and what’s called the Lake Merritt site.

The Howard Terminal site is located in Oakland’s Inner Harbor, near Jack London Square, used as a working facility by the Port or Oakland. While the notion of a waterfront ballpark site is certainly appealing, there are plenty of issues with the Howard Terminal site, no matter how badly city officials want to see a ballpark there. For starters, there is a decided lack of mass transit serving the site — a big consideration in the Bay Area. Second, there is certainly remediation issues that would need to be addressed before construction on a ballpark could even begin.

Which is why the A’s, led by team president Dave Kaval, have reportedly eliminated the Howard Terminal site from consideration. With many local folks comparing this site to Candlestick Park, it doesn’t seem to be a very good idea to place a ballpark there.

Which leaves the current Coliseum site and the Lake Merritt site, near Laney College. There is a certain sense of symmetry here, as the Lake Merritt area was once pitched as the original site for the Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum before politicos settled on the current Coliseum site. There are some issues with the Lake Merritt site — parking and traffic would be huge challenges — but there’s a chance for a more urban experience near Laney College, and there’s some significant public support for the location as well.

But the Coliseum site has its own charms. First, it’s served by BART and features plenty of freeway access. Second, with the Oakland Raiders slated to move to Las Vegas in 2020 (and maybe out of the Coliseum before that), the A’s have a clear path to controlling the entire site. That’s enough land to pull off a SunTrust Park-style development. Heck, built it right next to the Coliseum and then give fans the same sort of outfield views they had before the Raiders wrecked the facility with Mount Davis.

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