The Oakland Athletics and president Dave Kaval have officially announced their intentions to build a stadium at Howard Terminal, and to pursue a second project to redevelop the current site of the Oakland Coliseum.
The A’s — who at this time a year ago saw their preferred site adjacent to Laney College near downtown Oakland, owned by the Peralta Community College District, fall through — have long viewed Howard Terminal, on the east edge of Oakland, as a highly-desirable spot on which to build a new ballpark. If all goes according to plan, construction on the 34,000-seat stadium will begin in 2020, with a planned opening in the spring of 2023.
The plan released by the team describes a new, privately-financed stadium as the centerpiece of a new waterfront development in Jack London Square, a “ballpark within a park,” surrounded by green space, restaurants, housing and small businesses. The second part of the plan will involve re-development of the current Coliseum site (once the Golden State Warriors vacate Oracle Arena).
“We are excited to build a bold, iconic ballpark at Howard Terminal. This design will allow us to blur the boundaries of a traditional ballpark and integrate into the surrounding neighborhood,” Kaval said in a statement. “However, this undertaking is bigger than baseball. In addition to developing at Howard Terminal, we plan to redevelop the Coliseum to help that site realize its full potential for the residents of Oakland for the long-term. We look forward to continuing our work with the community to develop both projects.”
As a next step in this process, the A’s will embark on a “120-Day Action Plan” focused on gathering additional community feedback, beginning the environmental review process at Howard Terminal, negotiating an agreement with the Port of Oakland, developing a framework with public officials for the Coliseum redevelopment, and developing a framework for an economic and community benefits agreement.
The new ballpark, designed by Bjarke Ingels Group, will feature an elevated park that wraps and frames the seating bowl, coming down to meet the waterfront, incorporating street-level concourses and eateries.
Unlike the Coliseum, Howard Terminal has limited public transportation accessibility, and there was no information released as to who would be paying for those upgrades, or how the A’s ownership group, headed by John Fisher, would deal with their port neighbors, whose businesses would be impacted by the construction and presence of a new ballpark and entertainment district which would be a hive of activity on non-game days.
Apart from traditional logistical improvements around the site like parking, traffic flow, and public transportation, the A’s stated that they are also looking into a gondola, a ferry stop, and pedestrian bridges. The current ballpark renderings do not show parking, but the club stated that there will be on-site parking available.
“Our design for the A’s new home at the heart of Oakland’s revitalized waterfront seeks to return the game to its roots as the natural meeting place for the local community,” Bjarke Ingels, founding partner of BIG, said in a statement. “An elevated tree-lined promenade frames the ballpark on all sides, dipping down to meet the public square and open the field to the water and city views. The perimeter park connects a cascade of social spaces for the fans to enjoy the sport on game days and extends the urban fabric with a neighborhood park to be enjoyed 365 days a year. In other words—we are putting the ‘park’ back in ‘ballpark.’”
As for the abandoned Coliseum site, which sits in a less-than-desirable location, the club has proposed preliminary plans that include a large park, surrounded by substantial new housing, including affordable housing, a skills center, community gathering space, office and retail developments, and restaurant. It will all be centered around the original diamond, much like the field at Kezar Stadium remains, surrounded by modest stands, from the former NFL facility.
Oracle Arena would be converted into a concert venue and cultural events center.