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EIR draft details benefits of new waterfront Athletics ballpark

New Howard Terminal rendering (4)

Oakland has released a draft Environmental Impact Report (EIR) covering a new waterfront Athletics ballpark, pointing out the many benefits to locating the facility at the downtown Howard Terminal port site.

The team has proposed a new waterfront Athletics ballpark to replace the Oakland Coliseum as the team’s home, part of a larger development that includes up to 3,000 residential dwelling units, up 1.5 million square feet of commercial space, up to 270,000 square feet of retail space, a hotel with up to 400 rooms, a performance venue with a capacity of up to 3,500 individuals, and parks. The Coliseum would be torn down, replaced by an amphitheater as part of a larger redevelopment of the site.

According to the draft EIR, the new waterfront Athletics ballpark would contribute to the Oakland economy and standard of living in the following ways (among others; this is just a summary):

  • Creates public waterfront access and more than 18 acres of new waterfront parks and open space areas
  • Improves Oakland’s resilience against sea-level rise
  • Transforms an industrial site into a sustainable community at no expense to taxpayers
  • Reduces car travel within the city while adding more public-transportation options to the mix
  • Includes measures aimed at improving air quality in surrounding communities, achieves net zero greenhouse gas emissions, and provides numerous other long-term health benefits for residents
  • Adds 3,000 homes, including affordable housing, in an area that the City of Oakland designated as a “Priority Development Area” in the Plan Bay Area 2040 vision for long-term growth.

You can read the draft EIR here.

“The release of the Draft EIR is another important step forward in the process of building a new privately financed ballpark at Oakland’s Howard Terminal,” said Oakland A’s President Dave Kaval via press statement.

“I’m excited about keeping our A’s rooted in Oakland,” Mayor Libby Schaaf said in a city press release. “The Howard Terminal ballpark requires the highest environmental standards while giving us an opportunity to expand our entertainment district near Jack London Square, increase housing, provide good jobs, and keep our beloved waterfront working.”

The East Oakland Stadium Alliance, which has opposed the Howard Terminal development for various reasons and is arguing the A’s build a new ballpark at the current Coliseum site, issued the following statement on its behalf from Mike Jacob, Vice President and General Counsel of the Pacific Merchant Shipping Association:

“Our coalition of labor, community, and business groups who are significantly impacted by the Oakland A’s proposed project at Howard Terminal will be doing a thorough analysis of this draft report. We know that Oakland’s working waterfront is no place for a stadium, office, and luxury condominium complex, and this environmental review must ultimately shine a bright light on the many significant adverse impacts of building the proposed stadium complex at this location.

“We anticipate that the Howard Terminal Draft EIR will once again confirm the obvious and what everyone already knows — that the current Coliseum site remains the ideal and most logical location for a new ballpark that will make A’s fans proud to call home. This is especially true since the Coliseum site already has an approved Environmental Impact Report.

“Unfortunately, this Draft EIR is also being released under an unresolved claim that the A’s project has the authority to proceed under a now-expired fast-track process. Because there is still a lawsuit pending on this very question in state appellate court, we are very disappointed that the A’s and the City are moving forward with the release of this Draft EIR prior to the final resolution of this critical issue.

“We look forward to more fully reviewing and addressing this DEIR in the days ahead and continuing to support efforts to secure a new A’s ballpark at the Coliseum site in East Oakland.”

(For the record: the lawsuit referenced here is an appeal of a decision by Alameda County Superior Court Judge Noel Wise against a suit bought by the coalition, concluding that the A’s and the state of California met all criteria for an expedited environmental review.)

Members of the public will have 45 days to submit comments on the Draft EIR.

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