Oakland A’s ballpark project secures court victory

Environmental report complaints rejected by judge, but hurdles remain

Mayor of Oakland's Libby Schaaf with Oakland stadium
Mayor of Oakland's Libby Schaaf with Oakland stadium (Getty, Oakland A's)

The Oakland A’s received some positive news on prospects for the $12 billion development which includes a new stadium at the Howard Terminal. Multiple legal challenges to the project’s Environmental Impact Report were nearly all rejected by Alameda County Superior Court Judge Brad Seligman, according to court documents.

The lawsuit was filed in April by the East Oakland Stadium Alliance, Union Pacific Railroad, Capitol Corridor Joint Powers Authority and a coalition of port workers. Seligman sided in favor of the development on all counts, with one exception. The judge questioned whether the development would dispense and mitigate wind; however, he determined that there wasn’t a standard to determine “what is too windy” for this project.

There are still hurdles to make this development a reality. The team and the city still have to come to an agreement on the number of affordable housing units in the development, continued opposition from labor unions who represent port employees, and resistance from some community members who want the city to invest in other projects.

After a period of doubt for the prospects of a new stadium, the summer brought back optimism that it can still be accomplished. The San Francisco Bay Conservation and Development Commission voted to allow the terminal to be used for something other than a port. And the Oakland City Council denied a referendum on the November ballot to let voters decide whether to use public funds on the project.

There has been pushback from elected officials, including Councilmemeber Noel Gallo, who would like the A’s to stay at their current home at the Coliseum and use the proposed construction funds on other issues facing the city.

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One of the biggest supporters of the new stadium has been Mayor Libby Schaaf who is attempting to not lose the city’s three professional sports teams under her tenure.

​​”Our city will continue to work closely with the Athletics on a shared vision and timeline to bring a responsible deal for a new, iconic ballpark district to the City Council for a vote this year,” she said in a statement.

If the deal with the Howard Terminal doesn’t work out, the most likely outcome would be the A’s looking to relocate to another city that can provide a new ballpark. The expectation was that Las Vegas would be plan B; however, those plans could be upended with the state being non-committal to providing public funds for the project.

The grand plan for Howard Terminal would make it one of the largest developments ever in California, centered around the 35,000-seat ballpark that would host the Oakland A’s. The baseball team, acting as the project’s developer, has promised to create a mixed-use neighborhood around the stadium. Plans include 3,000 residential units; 1.5 million square feet of office space; 270,000 square feet of mixed retail, cultural and civic space; a 3,500-seat performance theater; a 400-room hotel and 18 acres of public open space.

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