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A’s may delay, alter future Oakland ballpark plan

New Howard Terminal rendering (4)

A planned new Oakland ballpark plan for Howard Terminal may end up being delayed or even scrapped, as the COVID-19 pandemic and underlying economic uncertainty will certainly impact facility planning for the Athletics.

The Athletics have proposed a multiuse development at Howard Terminal, on the downtown Oakland waterfront, anchored by a new ballpark, with an opening date of 2023. That would be an ambitious opening date even under normal circumstances, but these are normal times. There’s tremendous stress on the economy right now, and we’ll see plenty of talk about the future of venue design in coming months as the United States works on pandemic-mitigation plans. Committing to a new ballpark, especially one that us part of a billion-dollar-plus development, is certainly a leap of faith.

Which is why the A’s are reviewing plans for a 2023 opening, per the San Francisco Chronicle:

But Wednesday, Catherine Aker, the team’s vice president of communications and community relations, told me in an email exchange, “The timeline may be adjusted due to the COVID-19 pandemic.”

Don’t be surprised if the idea of a new ballpark at the Oakland Coliseum site is revived under the circumstances. The A’s have released a broad vision for that project that includes tearing down 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. It would be a lot cheaper to build a new ballpark next to the Coliseum, tear down the Coliseum and then redevelop the area with those mixed-use amenities, dropping the notion of a sports park. Plan B may eventually become Plan A.

Rendering courtesy Oakland A’s and Bjarke Ingels Group.

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