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Governor’s Signature Moves A’s Howard Terminal Ballpark Bills Forward

New Oakland Athletics Ballpark Renderings May 2019

The Oakland A’s proposal for a new ballpark at Howard Terminal received a boost last week from California governor Gavin Newsom, who signed two bills crucial to the plan.

The Port of Oakland’s Howard Terminal is being targeted by the A’s for a proposed project that would include a new ballpark to replace RingCentral Coliseum. In addition to a new ballpark, the concept for Howard Terminal calls for new mixed-use development to be constructed at the site, including housing units, retail, office space, open space, and more.

Under the current plans, it is expected that the ballpark and development will be privately financed, though public dollars could come into play for related infrastructure. One of the bills signed Friday by Newsom would allow Oakland to create a special taxing district to help fund any infrastructure contributions, while the other legislation that received his signature effectively streamlines the permitting process by allowing the State Lands Commission to decide if the ballpark and surrounding development is an appropriate use of the site.

Plenty of steps remain in the ongoing planning process, including the completion of an environmental impact report and approvals at the local level, but Newsom’s signature for both bills nonetheless helps the A’s move closer to bringing the plan to fruition. More from the San Francisco Chronicle:

AB1191 by Assemblyman Rob Bonta, D-Alameda, streamlines the process for the A’s to receive the necessary permits for the stadium. The law gives the State Lands Commission, which manages 4 million acres of tidelands and submerged lands, the authority to decide whether the ballpark is an appropriate use of the site at the Port of Oakland.

SB293 by Sen. Nancy Skinner, D-Berkeley, allows Oakland to create a new tax district to pay for roads, walkways, electrical and sewer lines and other infrastructure near the proposed stadium.

The A’s hope to open a privately funded, 35,000-seat stadium, along with nearby housing and commercial developments, on a 50-acre site at the Oakland Estuary near Jack London Square.

The project is opposed by shipping companies and port workers concerned that the ballpark would obstruct a key basin where dozens of ships load and unload each week, but city leaders are backing the plan. Mayor Libby Schaaf has said the city could consider a $200 million infrastructure deal to help cover the costs of roads and utility improvements around the site.

As noted, the A’s still have considerable work to do to move forward with the project. Pivotal city council votes would have to be taken in the future to approve the project as well as potential financing deals, and the council will have plenty of issues to sort out as it considers the proposal. In addition to the proposal for the Howard Terminal site, the A’s are hoping to lead a major redevelopment of the Coliseum property—a project that would help make the privately financed ballpark more viable economically. The redevelopment would include an amphitheater to replace the Coliseum, new construction in the existing parking lots, and the operation of Oakland Arena–the former home of the NBA’s Golden State Warriors–for a variety of events.

This article first appeared in the Ballpark Digest newsletter. Are you a subscriber? It’s free, and you’ll see features like this before they appear on the Web. Go here to subscribe to the Ballpark Digest newsletter.

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