Oakland A’s win appeal of EIR for Howard Terminal development

MLB team and city resume negotiations for stadium deal

Oakland A’s owner John Fisher, Oakland Mayor Sheng Thao and rendering of proposed stadium development at Howard Terminal (MLB, Getty, City of Oakland)
Oakland A’s owner John Fisher, Oakland Mayor Sheng Thao and rendering of proposed stadium development at Howard Terminal (MLB, Getty, City of Oakland)

A $12 billion Oakland A’s ballpark and redevelopment project at Howard Terminal scored a major win after a court struck down an appeal about Oakland’s environmental review.

The First District Court of Appeal in San Francisco ruled the review sufficient as the A’s and Oakland resume negotiations over the protracted stadium deal, the San Francisco Chronicle reported.

The ruling upheld a decision by Alameda County Superior Court Judge Brad Seligman last fall that Oakland’s environmental review had reasonably found the A’s took adequate steps to limit air and water pollution and other potential hazards at the port site.

It also backed the review’s assertion that the $1 billion ballpark and $11 billion surrounding development were superior to a rebuilt stadium at the Coliseum, ringed by industrial development.

A coalition of port workers, truckers and cargo terminal operators had filed a lawsuit last April contending Oakland didn’t adequately study the adverse impacts of the project. It came after the City Council had certified the city’s 3,500-page environmental impact report.

The court, in its 3-0 ruling, also agreed with Seligman that the plan fell short by failing to explain how to limit the impact of offshore winds on the stadium.

The A’s report says wind should be reduced “to the maximum feasible extent without unduly restricting development potential” – a standard the court said was overly vague.

The court rejected all other claims by the East Oakland Stadium Alliance.

The alliance fought the Howard Terminal project on grounds that building a waterfront ballpark development would disrupt port operations. Oakland, the A’s and the port commission insist the port and ballpark can exist side-by-side.

The Oakland Athletics, owned by billionaire John Fisher, has proposed the 56-acre stadium project at Howard Terminal just west of Jack London Square, across from Alameda. 

Sign Up for the undefined Newsletter

In addition to a 35,000-seat stadium, it would include 3,000 homes, 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.

Mayor Sheng Thao, sworn into office in January, said with the legal victory the city was “one step closer to reaching our goals.”

She said the city and the A’s are back to the negotiating table despite ongoing talks with Las Vegas about a potential move to Sin City. MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred wants the team and Oakland to reach an agreement by the end of the year. 

The largest sticking points are the cost of infrastructure, the amount of affordable housing and the team’s relocation agreement.

While the city already has secured $321.5 million in funding for the infrastructure improvements, its most recent cost estimate suggests the total cost may be $600 million.

In January, Oakland struck out in obtaining a $182.9 million federal grant to help pay for off-site infrastructure.

— Dana Bartholomew

Read more

The proposed stadium development at Howard Terminal in Oakland with Oakland A’s owner John Fisher and Oakland Mayor Sheng Thao (MLB, Getty, City of Oakland)
San Francisco
Oakland fails to win $183M grant for A’s ballpark project
Oakland A’s Dave Kaval and PMSA's Mike Jacob with Howard Terminal stadium
San Francisco
Lawsuit adds more drama to the A’s proposed ballpark
Major League Baseball's Commissioner Rob Manfred, Las Vegas
San Francisco
MLB points to Las Vegas as future home of Oakland A’s