Oakland A’s $12B ballpark development plan wins key agency vote

Teams request to strip Howard Terminal from port designation approved by state panel

Rendering of new stadium project at Howard Terminal, Port of Oakland with Oakland A's president Dave Kaval (BKF Engineers, GSB.Stanford.edu)
Rendering of new stadium project at Howard Terminal, Port of Oakland with Oakland A's president Dave Kaval (BKF Engineers, GSB.Stanford.edu)

A $12 billion plan to develop a ballpark for the Oakland A’s has scored a key vote in favor of its request to remove 56 acres at Howard Terminal from port designation.

The San Francisco Bay Conservation and Development Commission voted 23-2 that Howard Terminal isn’t needed for port use, a major leap in the A’s drive to build a new stadium in the Port of Oakland, the San Francisco Chronicle reported.

Commissioners said a staff analysis demonstrated Howard Terminal isn’t needed for port functions and there is “adequate capacity” elsewhere to handle cargo growth.

“I’m very confident the Port of Oakland’s operations will survive without Howard Terminal,” Commissioner Mark Addiego said.

The A’s have proposed building a $1 billion, 35,000-seat waterfront ballpark at Howard Terminal, which could transform nearbyJack London Square.

The privately financed project would also include 3,000 residential units, up to 1.5 million square feet of commercial space, up to 270,000 square feet of shops and restaurants, a 3,500-seat performance center, 400 hotel rooms and up to 18 acres of public open space.

The vote comes after commission staff released a final recommendation that Howard Terminal, now used for truck parking, storage and auxiliary port use, can be used for a ballpark project.

Mike Jacob, vice president of the Pacific Merchant Shipping Association, which represents port workers, argued the terminal plays a critical role at the port. Workers have called the stadium project a “real estate grab” that will transform the port into a “yuppie playground.”

Sign Up for the undefined Newsletter

“Once port land is lost it can never be reclaimed, and it’s unfortunate that the commission has made this determination,” Jacob said in a statement.

The go-ahead by the state conservation and development agency gives the A’s and the city until 2025 to enter into a binding agreement. The team still needs approvals from the State Lands Commission, the Department of Toxic Substances and Control for site remediation, and the port for a real estate agreement.

The City Council will decide July 5 whether it will place an “advisory” measure on the November ballot asking residents how they feel about the project.

The A’s are negotiating with Oakland on a final development agreement and community benefits package that will have to go to the City Council for a final vote. Mayor Libby Schaaf told the Chronicle that the unresolved issue is how to pay for infrastructure upgrades.

The A’s want a final vote from the City Council before the end of the year, when Schaaf terms out of office and two council members give up their seats to campaign for mayor.

The city and the A’s are also facing three separate lawsuits challenging a certified environmental review of the stadium project, saying its analysis was insufficient.

[San Francisco Chronicle] – Dana Bartholomew

Read more