The proposed new ballpark for the Oakland A's on the Howard Terminal site near Jack London Square has inched forward Tuesday in what is likely to be a complicated approval process at the state and local level.
Talk of building a fancy new ballpark to replace the Oakland Coliseum dates back to 2009, when the A's first began threatening to decamp to San Jose. And talk of using this Howard Terminal site dates back six years, to 2013 — with a brief foray into plans for a major Coliseum area development that was going to have a new Warriors Arena, new Raiders stadium, and a new A's stadium, and we all know how that turned out.
As of next year, when the Raiders plan to leave for Las Vegas, Oakland will be down to just one professional sports team. And they city is therefore hellbent on keeping Athletics around, despite the fact that the team has been playing in one of the oldest and jankiest stadiums in Major League Baseball.
Part of that plan to keep the A's includes selling the entire 155-acre Coliseum property to the team. As the Chronicle reported Tuesday, the Alameda County Board of Supervisors voted unanimously to move forward with a deal to sell its half ownership of the property to the A's for $85 million. This gives the A's a huge potential development opportunity following the departure of the Raiders and the Warriors, and a huge upside once they get to move to newer digs at the Howard Terminal site. The team says it will use the site — which includes parking lots and Oracle Arena — to build a tech campus, housing, parks, and create a "chopped-down 'Roman ruin-like' multisports facility" out of the Coliseum, per the Chronicle.
But getting back to the Howard Terminal plan, the first committee in the state legislature to vote on it, the Assembly Natural Resources Committee, voted 7-0 in favor of the new stadium. But as the East Bay Express puts it, project sponsors still have to "stitch together a crazy quilt of land trust issues," and next up will be the Assembly Local Government Committee.
In addition to the stadium, the development around it will include 4,000 new housing units, as well as new retail and other amenities.
As we heard last week, the Oakland maritime industry has already come out against the stadium proposal. The local longshoremen union ILWU Local 10 and a coalition of unions and maritime businesses issued a statement of opposition, saying that the stadium development will negatively impact the shipping lane adjacent to it, as well as truck traffic going in and out of the Port of Oakland.
The opposition sounds similar to the years-long opposition effort to the Warriors Arena in San Francisco by representatives for and donors to UCSF Medical Center. They similarly complained of traffic worries impacting the hospital — and their fears have yet to be tested.