Oakland Ball Club Selects New Stadium Site, But Obstacles Remain
4 Oct, 2017By: Michael Popke
After years of professional sports teams leaving Oakland for greener pastures — or, more likely, better venues — the only way the Oakland A’s were going to stay was if a new stadium were built.
Looks like the A’s won’t be moving.
“Finally, we’ve got our site,” team president Dave Kaval told the San Francisco Chronicle earlier this month, referring to a 13-acre location near downtown Oakland on which officials hope a new privately funded baseball-only stadium will be built. “It’s really the strongest location when it comes to private financing, and that’s really an important component to be successful.”
According to the paper:
The A’s hope to play their first game at their $500 million-plus ballpark in 2023. But there’s a lot that has to happen first — starting with cutting a deal with the Peralta Community College District, which owns the site and has its headquarters there.
The site has several features the A’s made clear were a priority in their hunt for a new stadium location. It’s right off Interstate 880, although providing vehicle access will require millions of dollars’ worth of new freeway ramps. It’s also close to BART — the Lake Merritt Station is a nine-minute walk to the north — and it’s on the edge of downtown.
To try to win over the Peralta district’s Board of Trustees, the A’s are proposing to construct housing and commercial space on an 8-acre Laney parking lot just north of the site — a spot now known for its Sunday morning flea market — and funnel revenue from it to Laney. The A’s would also help build a garage there with the idea of boosting the college’s overall parking capacity.
The Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum, which originally opened in 1966 and was the home of the A’s for almost as long, also hosted football and is long past its usefulness. Until this season, the upper deck was covered with a tarp that reduced capacity to 34,000; the stadium now holds more than 47,000 fans. (The venue also went through some goofy name changes in recent years. Anybody remember Overstock.com Coliseum, later shortened to O.co. Coliseum?)
As part of the proposal, the coliseum would be repurposed as a community sports park and urban youth baseball academy.
Oakland City Council President Larry Reid, also a member of the Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum Authority — the nine-member board that needs to approve any new stadium deal — isn’t a fan of that repurposing idea because he says it’s not the best use for that site. But Reid does support the A’s “going wherever they want to go — as long as they stay in the city of Oakland.”