Lawsuit adds more drama to the A’s proposed ballpark

A port labor coalition says the San Francisco Bay Conservation and Development Commission didn’t consider the environmental impacts of the $12B project

Oakland A’s Dave Kaval and PMSA's Mike Jacob with Howard Terminal stadium
Oakland A’s Dave Kaval and PMSA's Mike Jacob with Howard Terminal stadium (Getty, PMSA, Major League Baseball)

The turbulent saga for a new Oakland A’s stadium continues.

A port labor coalition has filed a suit against the San Francisco Bay Conservation and Development Commission after it green-lit the team’s plans for a $12 billion development that includes a stadium at Howard Terminal.

The lawsuit alleges the agency violated environmental law and failed to consider the environmental impacts of the development, the San Francisco Chronicle reported.

Commission approval this summer was key for the project to move forward. But the most recent lawsuit could once again jeopardize the development.

“It elongates the process to get to a final approval, which is concerning because we are really running out of time in our current situation in the Coliseum,” Dave Kaval, president of the A’s, told the newspaper.

Mike Jacob, vice president of the Pacific Merchant Shipping Association, which represents port workers, said the commission failed to properly evaluate the project’s impacts before voting in favor of the A’s request.

He said there’s “absolutely no question” that there are significant environmental impacts.

“It’s more complicated than the A’s and the city would like it to be,” Jacob said. “They are trying to push something through, but that’s not how you do regional planning and that’s not how our system is set up.”

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The team and the city are facing legal challenges from groups, including the coalition of port workers, truckers and cargo terminal operators, on the certification of the environmental review of the project, saying the analysis was insufficient.

All of the lawsuits must be resolved within 270 days, according to state law.

The A’s proposal includes a $1 billion, 35,000-seat waterfront ballpark at the site, and plans to transform nearby Jack London Square.

The privately financed Oakland Ballpark at Jack London Square 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 A’s are pushing for final approvals this year of what could be one of the largest developments in state history.

One sticking point is how nearly $200 million in offsite infrastructures will be covered, Kaval said.

A year ago, the city of Oakland said the A’s would not be responsible for paying an estimated $352 million in infrastructure costs. Later amendments committed the city to leverage regional, state and federal funds to cover the cost.

Dana Bartholomew

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