In a move that was not really surprising, the Oakland A’s ballpark plan as part of the $12-billion Howard Terminal development moves forward after approval by the San Francisco Bay Conservation and Development Commission.
The plan had already been approved twice by BCDC staff, so the result of the vote and the whopping margin of victory–it was approved by a 23-3 margin–now pushes the process to the next step.
Specifically, the BCDC vote removes the Howard Terminal development site’s 56 acres from port designation, clearing the way for designation as a mixed-use development site. Though the influential state Seaport Planning Advisory Committee had earlier recommended rejection of the request, that nonbinding recommendation was rejected by BCDC staff: with port officials saying the Howard Terminal site was not needed to accommodate future port growth (the ballpark site is current used as storage, not as a working port).
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 an industrial site into a mixed-use development.
Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf, a proponent of the development, issued the following statement:
Today’s vote moves Oakland toward a more prosperous future. Our city has historically been overlooked for major economic development, but today that story about Oakland changes.
I’m deeply grateful to the BCDC commissioners and every local resident – in Oakland and across our Bay Area region – who showed up to advocate for more affordable housing, more union jobs, and more public access to our waterfront.
We will continue to work closely with our community to bring this bold vision into a beautiful reality and keep our A’s rooted in Oakland for generations to come.
Still to come: other state approvals from the likes of the California Department of Toxic Substances Control, a binding commitment from Alameda County, final approval of a lease and an agreement on community benefits, including affordable housing, tied to the project. We will also see some other political challenges again, including continued calls for the development to be put to a nonbinding public referendum.
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