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A’s confirm: We’re still focused on new Oakland ballpark

Howard Terminal ballpark

Oakland A’s GM David Forst confirmed what we’ve been reporting consistently: team ownership is focused on a new Oakland ballpark, with Las Vegas serving as a Plan B–for now.

Two weeks ago MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred clumsily posited that he was not optimistic about the chances of a new Oakland ballpark, leaving baseball Twitter to conclude the team was on its own way to Las Vegas and dropping its pursuit of a new Howard Terminal waterfront development that includes a new ballpark. Our response, based on information from folks close to the process, was that the A’s were still negotiating with Oakland, and Las Vegas was a distant Plan B. Furthermore, with no public money from the state or Clark County for a new ballpark, the chances for a new A’s ballpark were quite low.

At the MLB GM meetings in Las Vegas, Forst confirmed our reporting, per AP: “I’m aware of the commissioner’s comments, obviously,” Forst said, before noting team president Dave Kaval is the point person on the project. “I know [Kaval’s] working tirelessly in both spots. We’re just looking forward to having a new ballpark somewhere.”

Big projects take big time, and there’s been a choice for both the A’s and city of Oakland not to negotiate in the press. Perhaps the best way to view this is not a baseball story, but as a development story. The A’s have been terrible about Howard Terminal messaging, making it less about a massive investment in the city and more about the money they need for the ballpark to happen. The A’s have proposed a 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.

In the end, no city leader rejects a $12 billion development pitch where the vast majority of the funding will be privately financed.

RELATED STORIES: Vegas politicos throw cold water on A’s ballpark public funding; No, the A’s aren’t on the move to Las Vegas–yet Court denies challenges to new Athletics ballpark in preliminary EIR ruling; A’s ballpark referendum denied by Oakland City Council; A’s ballpark plan moves forward after approval by state agency; Another win for A’s pursuit of new Howard Terminal ballparkA’s focusing on two Vegas sites, raises possibility of ballpark tax subsidiesNew Oakland A’s waterfront ballpark receives OK from waterfront commission staffVegas investor says A’s have “strong interest” in Tropicana siteKaval: We’re down to two potential sites for new Vegas ballparkMore lawsuits challenge new Oakland A’s ballparkLawsuit challenges new Oakland ballparkOakland council member raises potential referendum on $12B A’s ballpark projectAdvisory board recommends against A’s ballpark at Howard Terminal siteAs new Oakland ballpark plan moves forward, Las Vegas becomes long-shot betOakland City Council OKs new ballpark EIROakland Planning Commission approves A’s ballpark EIRA’s reportedly looking at Tropicana for Vegas ballpark siteA’s succeed in launching bidding war in Las Vegas

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