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Oakland City Council: We Won’t Be Rushed on Howard Terminal Decision

New Oakland Athletics Ballpark Renderings May 2019

Oakland City Council members indicate they will take their time considering a proposed Oakland A’s ballpark at Howard Terminal, pointing to several questions that need to be answered.

The A’s have proposed a new ballpark at the Port of Oakland’s Howard Terminal, with the facility to anchor a larger development initiative at the site that will include housing and other amenities. Since being unveiled by the franchise in November, the proposal has made progress politically, but it still has to gain city council approvals before moving forward.

Thus far, the A’s have maintained that the ballpark and mixed-use development–including development at Howard Terminal and the RingCentral Coliseum site–will be privately financed, but there are still unanswered questions relating to infrastructure. In addition, some councilmembers want a clearer sense of how any transportation issues at the Howard Terminal site will be addressed. City council hearings on a pair of state bills to support the Howard Terminal project–including one that would streamline the permitting process, and another that allows for the creation of a special taxing district around the ballpark to finance infrastructure–start Wednesday, and are part of a longer vetting process for city officials. More from the San Francisco Chronicle:

“One of the biggest questions people have is transportation,” [Councilman Dan] Kalb said. “How are people going to get to and from the ballpark? We’ve all heard about the plan for an overhead gondola from downtown. That’s an interesting idea, but we need to see a much more comprehensive plan.”

Another big question is who will pay for the roads, walkways, sewer lines and other support structures needed for the privately financed development to pencil out.

So far the team has been tight-lipped.

“We are working with the city on the infrastructure plan,” team spokeswoman Catherine Aker said.

The A’s have been hoping to get final approvals for Howard Terminal by the end of next year, positioning the ballpark for a 2023 opening, but whether that is achievable remains to be seen. In addition, the A’s are proposing to redevelop the Coliseum site. The project would include an amphitheater to replace the Coliseum, new construction in the existing parking lots, and would call for leaving Oracle Arena open for a variety of events.

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