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A’s Nearing Vote on Tentative Term Sheet for Howard Terminal

New Howard Terminal rendering (1)

Port of Oakland officials will vote next week on a tentative term sheet with the Oakland A’s for a proposed Howard Terminal ballpark, a decision that could advance the ongoing planning process.

The A’s are working on their proposal for a new ballpark at the Port of Oakland’s Howard Terminal. Under those plans, the waterfront ballpark would be built as an anchor for new development in the surrounding area that includes housing, while the A’s would also lead a redevelopment of the Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum site.

In what will be a key vote, the Oakland Port Commission is expected to decide on May 13 whether to approve a tentative term sheet with the A’s. Approval of the tentative term sheet would not finalize the project by any means–an environmental impact report still has to be completed, additional approvals at the local and state levels would remain, and the A’s and the port would have to finalize a land lease–but it would spell out some of the plans for the proposed ballpark and development. That includes a design that is intended to not interfere with existing or future port uses, as the potential for the project to hamper port operations has been a major concern in some circles. More from the San Francisco Chronicle:

“We don’t exactly know what the final plan is yet, but this pretty much lays out what we are planning,” A’s President Dave Kaval said.

“The biggest thing we’ve changed is that we have created a very large area to allow for the expansion of the maritime turning basin to make sure that our project doesn’t interfere in any way with the existing or future operations of the Port of Oakland,” Kaval said.

The new stadium would be built on the Oakland Estuary adjacent to Jack London Square and sit on the edge of the inner harbor’s turnaround basin, where ships — some as long as three football fields — reverse direction in a 1,500-foot-wide space.

Bar pilots had expressed concerns that the ballpark’s lights and fans in boats could be safety hazards. The pilots were also worried the development — which includes retail and housing as well as the stadium — would limit the future expansion of the basin to accommodate ever-bigger cargo ships.

The A’s have cited 2023 as a targeted opening date for the Howard Terminal ballpark, and the organization is hoping to begin construction next year. Approval of the tentative term sheet next week would be an early step in that direction, but plenty of work will remain in order to finalize any plans for the site.

Rendering courtesy Oakland A’s.

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