A’s Struggle to Find New Home Base for Ballpark

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A rendering of the proposed new A’s ballpark at the Howard Terminal site, surrounded by port cranes and warehouses. Image courtesy of MANICA Architecture.

The Port of Oakland is moving ahead on a plan to let the A’s build at Howard Terminal, despite vocal opposition of labor and port businesses. 

The Port of Oakland Commissioners, unmoved by the vocal opposition of labor and port businesses, unanimously voted this week to begin talks to allow the Oakland A’s to build a new baseball stadium at Howard Terminal in downtown Oakland.

Monday’s approval is only one step in the long process for the A’s plan to build a new 35,000-seat ballpark, which would include housing and other projects. The tentative agreement gives the A’s four years to complete an environmental impact report for the 35,000-seat baseball stadium. The franchise hopes to build the ballpark by 2023.

The approved term sheet provides for a 66-year lease that would cost the A’s  $3.8 million a year for the first 20 years, according to Ballpark Digest.

After 20 years, the rent would increase, according to the S.F. Chronicle.

“A great day for Oakland and the Oakland A’s,” said team President Dave Kaval, reported KTVU. “Over the next year it’s going to be really important to get the environmental reviews, to get the state legislation done and bring it to a City Council vote early next year.”

Port  staff recommended approval of the term sheet ahead of Monday’s vote.  In addition, Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf backed the commissioners’ decision, calling it a historic milestone.

Lining up against the proposal is a coalition that includes the ILWU, the  longshore workers’ union; train operators, bar pilots, cargo shipping companies; and truckers, who say the stadium would undermine operations at the port, costing jobs and disrupting shipping.

“It’s not a done deal,” said Mike Jacob, vice president of the Pacific Merchant Shipping Association.

“You would sacrifice the port for privatization of the public resource, the third busiest port of the West Coast for a baseball stadium and condominiums? These condos are not for poor people, these condominiums are for people who want to watch a baseball game,” said Clarence Thomas, a retired longshore worker, reported KTVU.

“It’s going to impact labor and thousands of jobs in the port area. There’s no infrastructure for transportation. It will impact the trucker getting in and out of the port, ship traffic coming in out of the port. This area of the port is over half our container moves every year,” said Aaron Wright of the ILWU, reported KTVU.

Scott Taylor of GSC, a 20-year tenant of the port, told the board he was concerned that the A’s would be paying  cheaper rent for land for their development.

“Someone around here is proposing a monthly rent for the A’s at somewhere between $76,000. I’ve heard even lower numbers than that per acre on a yearly basis, and I just want you to know that GSC is paying close to $100,000 per acre. That’s extremely concerning.”

Kaval, of the A’s, told the media that the concerns of labor and port businesses would be addressed.

“There’s going to be a huge infrastructure plan that we worked with the city on, based on the input of these stakeholders, whether it’s the bar pilots, the truckers or the maritime interests. We’ve made large concessions on our project. The two are not mutually exclusive. You can have a plan that supports both and that’s exactly what we plan on doing,” he said.

 

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