The cutting-edge Bjarke Ingels Group (BIG) has been hired to design a new Oakland A’s ballpark and any associated development, moving forward on plans for the two leading potential ballpark sites.
The Danish firm doesn’t have a lot of experience with sports architecture, but did make a splash in 2016 when it was retained by the Washington Redskins to design a potential new NFL stadium. And BIG is certainly is one of the highest-profile design firms in the world. It’s designing Google’s new space-age headquarters and working with The Smithsonian Institution on a new master plan.
BIG will work on the big picture; Gensler, which does have sports-architecture experience and worked with the A’s on upgrades to the team’s spring-training home in Mesa, AZ, will assist. The San Francisco Chronicle is reporting the Howard Terminal site — the waterfront location near downtown Oakland — is the first choice among the Athletics ownership for the new ballpark site, but that they’d also like to retain development rights to the Coliseum site, housing the team’s current home, as part of a larger financial deal. Obtaining the Coliseum development rights is proving to be problematic, per the Chronicle:
Mayor Libby Schaaf raised further questions about how such a deal might be financially structured in a private meeting with Oakland business leaders on Friday. According to sources, Schaaf told the group that the city doesn’t have the money to buy out Alameda County’s half-interest in the Oakland Coliseum site to help smooth the way for a possible A’s development there.
Schaaf told us Tuesday that the picture is actually “a little more complicated.”
“We are fully committed to buying out the county’s share of the Coliseum land, but we will not repeat mistakes of the past by being financially irresponsible when it comes to sports teams,” she said.
In any case, involving Bjarke Ingels should lead to some interesting designs. The firm made waves in an initial conceptual design for a new Redskins stadium that included a moat for kayakers, as shown above.
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