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Hurdles Remain in A’s Pursuit of Howard Terminal Ballpark

New Oakland Athletics Ballpark Renderings May 2019

In their pursuit of a new ballpark at Howard Terminal, the Oakland A’s still have multiple hurdles to clear to move forward with plans at the site.

The A’s have been pitching a proposal that calls for a new privately financed ballpark and surrounding development at the Port of Oakland’s Howard Terminal. Along with plans for the Howard Terminal site, the A’s have been pursuing a redevelopment of the Oakland Coliseum site that would include demolishing RingCentral Coliseum and replacing it with a small sports park/amphitheater, retaining Oakland Arena as an event venue, and redeveloping the surrounding the land with mixed-use amenities. However, the concept for the Coliseum was in doubt after the City of Oakland filed a lawsuit against Alameda County in late September over its previous decision to move forward with selling its 50% share of the site to the A’s for $85 million. The city officially dropped that suit last week and will negotiate with the A’s over its half-share of the 155-acre site, but the team still has plenty of work to do to bring its vision to fruition.

The Howard Terminal project remains the subject of an ongoing environmental review which, when completed, will analyze the proposed development’s potential impact on the site. Additionally, the idea of a ballpark and surrounding development continues to draw opposition from a coalition of port stakeholders, who believe that the project would interfere with existing uses on the site. Furthermore, the Oakland City Council would eventually have to consider the creation of a special use tax district to help fund infrastructure at the site, the approval of which is not a formality at this point. More from the San Francisco Chronicle:

Next up will be approval of the environmental impact report on the project, which will lay out transportation needs at Howard Terminal as well as the impacts of the ballpark, hotel and 4,000 units of housing that make up the team’s waterfront plan.

“We look forward to the city’s release of the EIR for our Howard Terminal project in the next month or so, followed by a 45-day public comment opportunity,” A’s President Dave Kaval said….

But the real test will come when the council deals with the special use tax district it will need to set up to help pay for Howard Terminal infrastructure costs — those could run up to $200 million.

Adding to the drama, the vote to create the special ballpark district will likely come at the same time as voters are being asked to approve a new $148-per-parcel tax to help maintain the city’s deteriorating parks.

The A’s plan for a new ballpark and Coliseum redevelopment amounts to ambitious goal. It has undoubtedly made progress since being unveiled almost a year ago, but city officials still have multiple layers to consider before it is determined whether it moves forward. The A’s have been aiming to open the new Howard Terminal ballpark in 2023.

Rendering courtesy Oakland A’s and Bjarke Ingels Group.

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