The Oakland A’s need a new stadium and the long-awaited first step has been granted by the local port authority.
For at least one more season, the Oakland A’s will share the Oakland Coliseum with the NFL’s Oakland Raiders. But the Raiders are leaving for Las Vegas soon, and the future of the A’s in the Bay Area is a question if they continue to play in the 53-year old ballpark.
On Monday, the Port of Oakland’s Board of Directors unanimously approved an exclusive negotiating agreement with the A’s to provide land at the inactive Howard Terminal. The commission has tentatively agreed to give the team four years to complete an environmental-impact report on the 50-acre site.
The A’s hope to build a 35,000-seat ballpark as the centerpiece of a housing and retail development. Team president Dave Kaval said the deal would generate an estimated $3 billion in economic impact for the downtown and West Oakland communities, along with 5,000 jobs.
“It’s really a transformative project for Oakland and the Oakland A’s and generations to come,” Kaval said.
As is typical in these situations, there is some push back against the A’s building a stadium at the Howard Terminal site. Members of the International Longshore and Warehouse Union and the Marine Engineer’s Beneficial Association staged a protest outside Monday’s meeting, arguing that putting a stadium so close to an active port would adversely affect their jobs while also creating traffic issues.
There’s an artist rendering of the A’s stadium. seen in a tweet from the team.
There are some crucial steps left in the A’s’ pursuit of a new ballpark, including the sale or lease of the land and getting city council and state approval. But after a prior failed effort to secure space on the Laney College campus, initial approval for the land to build on has been received this time around.