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New Oakland A’s waterfront ballpark receives OK from waterfront commission staff

The San Francisco Bay Conservation and Development Commission (BCDC) staff is recommending approval of a new Oakland A’s waterfront ballpark at Howard Terminal, with the project poised to clear another big hurdle.

The BCDC is the next regulatory body to consider the Athletics’ plan for a new Oakland ballpark. The A’s are proposing the downtown Howard Terminal waterfront development, featuring $12 billion in private investment, including a billion dollars for a new 35,000-capacity ballpark to replace the Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum as the team’s home. The development would also include 3,000 units of housing, as well as 1.5 million square feet of office space, 270,000 square feet of retail space, a 400-room hotel, 18 acres of parkland and an estimated $450 million in community benefits. It would represent a massive makeover of the Oakland waterfront, transforming a industrial site into a mixed-use development.

The BCDC will consider the request to remove the ballpark site’s 56 acres from port designation, clearing the way for designation as a mixed-use development site. The influential state Seaport Planning Advisory Committee had earlier recommended rejection of the request, saying that the entire Port of Oakland be reserved for long-term shipping. That recommendation was rejected by BCDC staff: with port officials saying the Howard Terminal site was not needed to accommodate future growth (the ballpark site is current used as storage, not as a working port), the full body could approve the A’s ballpark as soon as its scheduled June 2 meeting.

Not to say there are not still many hurdles along the way: Multiple lawsuits argue that city of Oakland did not follow state guidelines to identify and mitigate all potential adverse effects of the $12-billion Howard Terminal development, one of the largest non-transit developments in state history. And the state Department of Toxic Substances Control will need to weigh in on the plan as well. Still to come: final Alameda County approval and what’s sure to be a hotly contested lease for the development.

Rendering courtesy Oakland Athletics.

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