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Maritime Industry Balks at A’s Howard Terminal Ballpark Plan

New Howard Terminal rendering (3)

The Oakland A’s pitch for a new ballpark and surrounding development at Howard Terminal is drawing opposition from the Port of Oakland’s maritime industry, which has several concerns about the plan. 

The Port of Oakland’s Howard Terminal is being pursued by the A’s as the site for a new ballpark, which could open as early as 2023 and replace the Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum as the team’s home. Under the current plans, the A’s would make the new ballpark an anchor for surrounding development at the site that would include housing.

While the idea of a ballpark and surrounding development on waterfront land is one that carries a lot of appeal for some, various concerns have been raised since the plans were unveiled in November–including site contamination and how the proposal could affect traffic in the area. The Port’s maritime industry is raising its own contentions with the proposal, including the ballpark’s location at the edge of a turning basin, fears that ballpark lighting will hamper the vision of bar pilots navigating through the area, and safety concerns created by the potential for fans to gather around the ballpark in kayaks. In addition, there are concerns that increased traffic congestion brought on by the ballpark and new surrounding development would conflict with operations at the Port. More from the San Francisco Chronicle:

“Between the traffic congestion it will bring, the navigational risks it will pose to shipping vessels and the land-use conflicts it will create, there’s no way for this project to proceed without doing irreparable harm to Oakland’s working waterfront,” said Mike Jacob, vice president at the Pacific Merchant Shipping Association and a leader in the coalition of port workers, bar pilots, truckers and cargo terminal operators who are bringing their concerns to the Oakland Board of Port Commissioners.

The A’s counter that the ballpark and housing project wouldn’t endanger any port jobs or adversely impact the port’s shipping business.

“In fact, it will create 5,000 new jobs, alongside the hundreds of jobs that currently exist there now,” A’s spokeswoman Catherine Aker said.

In the middle of the debate are the port commissioners, who are negotiating with the A’s, who want to acquire Howard Terminal on the Oakland Inner Harbor.

An environmental review of the Howard Terminal site is underway, and the A’s would need to take control of the Howard Terminal property before moving forward with redevelopment plans.  As part of the overall proposal, the A’s would privately finance the new Howard Terminal ballpark while carrying out an extensive redevelopment of the Oakland Coliseum property. The Coliseum itself would be converted into a small sports park/amphitheater, with surrounding land redeveloped to include housing, a tech hub, a youth sports complex, retail, and light manufacturing. In addition, the A’s propose leaving the adjacent Oracle Arena–which is hosting its last season for the NBA’s Golden State Warriors as they prepare for this fall’s debut of San Francisco’s Chase Center–open for concerts, sporting events, and other gatherings.

Rendering courtesy Oakland A’s.

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