Athletics pick waterfront site for new ballpark

OAKLAND, Calif. — Oakland Athletics president Dave Kaval can look out his office window and immediately envision a new privately funded ballpark, which now feels like much more of a reality — with renderings and a real plan, not to mention the city’s support.

The A’s have found a waterfront location for their ballpark, with picturesque views toward San Francisco, the Bay Bridge and Port of Oakland. Plans were announced Wednesday, with the goal to open in 2023.

“We are excited about the A’s plans at Howard Terminal, not just for the club but for their fans, who deserve a first-class venue to support one of the most competitive franchises in Major League Baseball,” MLB commissioner Rob Manfred said. “The organization has been consistent in their desire to thrive in the city of Oakland and we are glad that those plans are moving forward toward the opening of a new ballpark in 2023.”

Kaval, who oversaw a successful new stadium for Major League Soccer’s San Jose Earthquakes, had hoped to finalize a site by the end of the year. The A’s settled on the Howard Terminal site near Jack London Square after meeting with 500 members of the community and nearly 80 organizations.

There is no announced price at this stage, and Kaval didn’t want to even share an estimate. A California Environmental Quality Act assessment will begin immediately.

He plans to host an open house Thursday for community members and fans to learn more.

“We did a tremendous amount of community engagement where we listened to people in West Oakland, in East Oakland, and I think what we found is this project is bigger than baseball,” Kaval said. “It’s not just a ballpark it’s something that could have a lasting impact in a positive way on our community here in Oakland to ensure the A’s are here for another 50 or 100 years or really basically forever.”

The ballpark site is about 6 miles from the Coliseum and there is no mass transit. The A’s, whose new downtown offices will have a view of the project, and the city said they plan to build a gondola that would go from the waterfront area of ballpark over Interstate 880 to downtown.

Coming off their first playoff berth since 2014, the A’s had to switch gears after a proposed plan at Laney College fell through last December.

“It’s great, and the renderings make it seem real,” A’s general manager David Forst said. “… It doesn’t mean a whole lot for baseball until it’s there, but we can certainly start looking at it in terms of baseball planning. … I’ve been here a long time. We’ve talked about a lot of iterations of ballparks and places and this is the place we want to be.”

The A’s also intend to redevelop the site around the aging Oakland Coliseum that they have long shared with the NFL’s Oakland Raiders, who plan to move to Las Vegas. The NBA’s Golden State Warriors will begin playing in San Francisco at new Chase Center next year.

“The significant thing is the A’s are positioning themselves as Oakland’s team,” county supervisor Nate Miley said. “With both the Raiders leaving and the Warriors leaving, the A’s are Oakland’s team.”

A project at the current Coliseum site would begin after the A’s are in their new ballpark, Kaval said, with a hope of making significant progress by 2024.

The first step in the A’s acquiring the Coliseum land — either a purchase or lease agreement — will be the City of Oakland buying it from Alameda County, Mayor Libby Schaaf said.

“This is a really gorgeous starting line,” Schaaf said.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *