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Friday, March 31, 2023

Oakland A’s ballpark plan faces significant trial in Bay Area commission hearing

Oakland — A Bay Area commission will make an all-or-nothing decision Thursday on Oakland A’s dreams of a new waterfront ballpark and luxury housing at Howard Terminal, the latest hurdle for a development that’s headed nowhere.

If the San Francisco Bay Conservation and Development Commission decides that the terminal land may not be suitable for a 56-acre development, the team’s 35,000-seat stadium and 3,000 housing units surrounding the village, office space, retail, hotel A $12 billion proposal for the construction of Rooms and public parks cannot proceed.

Alternatively, if the commission signs off on the development, A’s team officials are on a tight self-imposed deadline until the November election to sign a deal with city officials, according to the team’s at the Oakland Coliseum. With the current lease scheduled to expire in 2024.

“We believe that you can have a thriving port that serves the needs of the California economy as well as a thriving ballpark – both of those things can exist at the same time,” A team president Dave Kaval said Thursday. Said in an interview before the hearing.

Port of Oakland workers handle the vast amount of cargo shipped to the Bay Area every day—an amount that has been steadily increasing year after year—but Howard Terminal hasn’t seen shipments in nearly a decade.

Instead, the parcel of land is used as a parking lot for large trucks, a storage area for shipping containers, and a training ground for stevedores and dock workers. Is the location suitable for a brand new housing and ballpark development? The commission is to decide in Thursday’s hearing.

In March, the Seaport Planning Advisory Committee, a body of appointed Bay Area representatives, voted 5-4 to recommend using Howard Terminal only for port activities and not a ballpark plan, predicting that the 50-acre One day the land will be needed. Meet the increasing cargo demands.

But in an agenda report ahead of the commission hearing – where 18 of the 27 members would need to vote to approve the project – a staff analysis changed the situation, now siding with Port of Oakland officials. , who believe that there is enough space at the port. final development.

The staff found that the new ballpark and village “will not detract from the area’s capacity to meet the projected increase in cargo, and (the team) has demonstrated that cargo forecasting at the port can be met with existing terminals”.

Oakland, Ca - August 21: Oakland Athletics President Dave Kaval Laughs During A Discussion On The Field Before His Mlb Game Against The San Francisco Giants At The Coliseum On Saturday, August 21, 2021 In Oakland, California.  (Jose Carlos Fajardo/Bay Area Newsgroup)
OAKLAND, CA – AUGUST 21: Oakland Athletics President Dave Kaval laughs during a discussion on the field before his MLB game against the San Francisco Giants at the Coliseum on Saturday, August 21, 2021 in Oakland, California. (Jose Carlos Fajardo/Bay Area Newsgroup)

The commission consists of elected officials from around the Gulf region appointed by the governor to make decisions for the port’s economic future, including filling areas of the Gulf’s waters in order to expand the port to meet growing cargo demands.

“We, as a commission, are not deciding on a permit to build A’s new stadium and housing – we have a responsibility to ensure that sufficient port land is available,” Contra Costa County Supervisor John Gioya Said, one of the 27 members of the commission

Various factors can affect shipping volume, making it difficult to predict many years into the future, Gioia said. A recent change to Tesla’s production model, for example, will reduce exports from the company’s factory in Fremont and change forecasts of how much cargo is expected in the future, notes the staff report.

Should the commission go against the recommendation of its staff, the A’s days in Oakland would most likely happen, with Kaval threatening to find stadium space in Las Vegas or even the team’s minors outside the Vegas Strip— Also did a decamp for a ballpark used by league affiliates. In Summerlin, Nevada.

On the other hand, even if the Commission decides to build space at the Howard Terminal, A will need to continue negotiations with the city council, which has still not set a date for a final decision on the project.

Kaval said the team has sought to reach an agreement with the city council before November’s election, fearing a newly elected leader could delay talks. Mayor Libby Schaff, a supporter of the Howard Terminal ballpark proposal, is being thrown out of office.

“We will need to work with (the new council members) to get them up to speed,” Kaval said. “It has to be done this year.”

World Nation News Desk
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