Laney College slams door on A’s stadium plans, team heads back to drawing board

That record-scratching noise you just heard was the Oakland A’s stadium plans screeching to a halt:

The governing board of the community college that owns land on which the Oakland A’s want to build a new ballpark ordered the chancellor to stop plans with the team…

“We are shocked by Peralta’s decision to not move forward,” the A’s said in a statement Wednesday morning. “All we wanted to do was enter into a conversation about how to make this work for all of Oakland, Laney, and the Peralta Community College District. We are disappointed that we will not have that opportunity.”

So, um, yeah. We all knew this was going to be a potential problem with the Laney College site — as soon as the A’s started hinting at the site, Peralta Community College officials were saying that faculty and students would likely oppose it — but an outright “Don’t let the door hit you on the way out” was not exactly expected. Time for the A’s owners to go to Plan B, I guess—

[A’s President Dave] Kaval previously told The Chronicle there was no “plan B” if the ballpark site near Laney College didn’t work out.



35 comments on “Laney College slams door on A’s stadium plans, team heads back to drawing board

  1. No plan B? That’s kind of scary if you’re an A’s fan although I have to think this is posturing to get a good deal out of the current site.

    • Yeah, that worked well, huh?

      The Islanders owners have been saying “no Plan B” on Belmont, too. Will be interesting to see how they walk that back if they don’t win the development rights.

      • Nets arena needs the Islanders and can’t afford more arena competition in that market. That’s their Plan B. Those Belmont bids are non binding !

        • The third bid on Belmont withdrew because they felt the selection process has already picked the winner. All that governor campaign money did it’s work. So according to Blumingfeld development group the fix was in. The Islanders will than wait for the Nets response.

    • Why? They have a lease until 2024 and the Coliseum may not be the best place to see a game but it’s in no risk of collapsing. Plus the Raiders and Warriors are leaving which makes scheduling easier, reduces competition for the dollar somewhat, and in the case of the Raiders means you con’t have to contend with current field issues. In short, nothing will get worse for the A’s and many things will get better even if they do nothing.

      I’m sure they want a new stadium but it’s not some sort of existential crisis.

  2. There’s absolutely a plan b. It’s the Coliseum site. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: I think the play on the Laney/Peralta site is, on some level, a strategy to ultimately get more team-favorable conditions from the city/county on developing the Coliseum site.

    • If so, they probably should have tried using it for leverage before Laney/Peralta pulled the rug out from under them.

  3. This is very similar to the Arizona Coyotes trying to partner with and use Arizona State University’s land where ASU also shut them down.

    • The particulars are considerably different. ASU is a major university and honestly didn’t need that deal in any way. They would have gotten to use the new stadium for their hockey team but they they draw very little–they rarely sell out their current arena that has a capacity of 800–so the allure of playing in front of seas of empty seats probably wasn’t all that great. Laney is a community college and could have really benefited from an influx of funds that the As were promising but their entire campus would have been forever in the shadow of that huge new stadium. That had to be a tough call for them. I’m somewhat surprised they didn’t go with it only because their current campus isn’t much to look at currently. They arguably could have ended up aesthetically ahead even with a big stadium next door by having the As fund a major refurbishment of campus.

      • >by having the As fund a major refurbishment of campus.

        Is here any evidence this was actually going to happen? Aren’t the A’s pretty poverty stricken? If not why not build their own shit?

    • And SDSU using the MLS to butter up San Diego on the Qualcomm site and then pushing them out once the floodgates open.

    • I’d love to see it happen but it’s the longest of long shots.

      1) Portland would need a retractable roof due to all the rain. That would make building a stadium quite expensive.

      2) Portland is very liberal. No owner is getting a penny of tax money out of them.

      3) Nowhere to play on a temporary basis. Providence Park used to be a AAA baseball stadium but is now Soccer/Football only.

      • Potland will never support a MLB team. The city evicted a AAA team and renovated the stadium for a soccer team. If you think Tampa has it bad just wait…Manfred is already dropping bombs about expansion in Potland

    • Right idea, wrong location.

      The place MLB needs to go is Raleigh, North Carolina. No major league-level sports competition for 400 miles in any direction, in a market that currently supports two of baseball’s most profitable minor league franchises at their levels of play (Carolina Mudcats and Durham Bulls). A corporate support base that would drop the Hurricanes in a heartbeat to associate themselves with MLB, and a fan base that’s doubling every ten years and which would flock to a major league-level summer season sports attraction.

  4. These ham n’ eggs gambits always remind me of the great Robert Klein routine parodying real estate seminars… you know the one, “with the equity you don’t have in the buildings you don’t own, you leverage the purchase of Cleveland. All of it!”.

    If the A’s were ever serious about the Laney site, they needed to open negotiations with the owners of the land FIRST.

    This is simply another attempt to avoid negotiating by releasing information on your plans publicly first in the hopes that momentum will build and someone else will prevail upon the group that actually owns the land for you. Sadly this has worked for other groups.

    It deserved to fail. It has failed. This is a good thing.

    Maybe next time the people in charge of the A’s ‘stadium site search’ – the A’s – will actually do things in the proper order. Obtaining an option to purchase should be the first order of business, not a detail to be ironed out at a later date…

    I hope they can find a site that is suitable/acceptable to all parties. Is the city of Oakland preferred site (HT) still a possibility? If not, they could do worse than building a new facility at the present site.

    • The HT site is a regulatory nightmare compared to Laney. And the neighboring leaseholders don’t want it there. Tack on to that the safety concerns with street level heavy rail tracks running adjacent to the site.

      • Add in that HT’s cold, windy conditions would make Candlestick Park look like a tropical oasis.

    • John,

      Good point. I’m a veteran of the A’s attempt to move to Fremont. That was exactly what happened there. They built up all of this hype but were never able to address the reasonable concerns of the property owners. Once the owners publicly said no, it was over.

      • Correct me if I’m wrong but that was a very different situation.

        If memory serves me right in Fremont the land belonged to Cisco and Cisco was willing to basically give it to the A’s in exchange for naming rights on the stadium (and a bunch of gee-whiz technology showcases–I was a Cisco employee at the time of that deal so I mostly remember a big display in the Executive Briefing Center of all the nifty technology proposed for that ballpark).

        The problem was the forecast traffic increase which Fremont was unwilling to handle.

  5. Speaking of drawing boards, this is not likely to happen.

    Dreger: Elephant in the room is what NHL is going to do about Coyotes

    But, keep believing in Santa Claus!

    • Yes, NHL talking heads like to sing choruses of “high hopes” whenever the dead dogs come up…

      The problem for the “shared” arena argument is that the hockey team couldn’t make a go of it even then. They also would be pushing out concerts that could generate more revenue than the NHL does in that market.

      It’s the definition of a lose lose proposition for the NBA team. It adds nothing to their business.

  6. The Plan B thing was BS I think the new stadium gets built at the coliseum site. If that doesn’t work I think Manfred forces the Giants to waive their rights to San Jose (San Jose is closer to Oakland than SF those rights should have always been shared) and the A’s build there. I highly doubt that the A’s move, especially to Portland.

    • San Jose is arguably the largest untapped baseball market in the US. The Silicon Valley money would easily fill the luxury boxes. While the Giants really have no need for it, they’re not going to give that up cheaply. The issue has always been that the A’s couldn’t pay what the Giants would want.

      I also don’t think the other owners would override the Giants territorial rights. That would upset the apple cart too much. I’ve joked that this is similar to a number of mobsters each with their own turf. Once the borders are no longer respected by some, a full scale gang war could erupt.

      • The Bay Area is the only 2 team MLB market with separate territories for each team. The Yankees and Mets share a single common territory. So do the Dodgers and Angels. So do the Cubs and White Sox. There’s no reason it shouldn’t be that way in the Bay Area.

        The argument that could theoretically be made to owners is that they’re just recitfying territorial rights in an existing market, not allowing a new team to move into another’s market, which is really what they don’t want.

      • If you are Giants ownership, you know that MLB/Selig ruled that SJ was ‘their’ territory. This was largely based on a flawed reading of the Haas family’s agreement to allow the Giants to move to South Bay if they could not get a new facility built in their existing territory in the late 80’s/early 90s, but still…

        For the Haas’ (and A’s), this was a trade… ‘sure, we’ll let you move to San Jose, and we will receive your existing territory in return’.

        Of course, that did not happen. Present Giants ownership, understandably, has a more rose coloured memory of that discussion.

        As Vinnie says, if the Giants give up that territory they are going to expect something in return. If the league wishes to “prevail upon them for the good of baseball”, then perhaps the other 28 owners would like to chip in to indemnify the Giants… you know, ‘for the good of baseball’ and all.

        To the best of my knowledge the Giants have never named their price (much like the Leafs in Toronto)… and why would they? The last thing you want is to name a ridiculously high number and just have someone say “ok”… that would be leaving money on the table. We all know how scumbag billionaires feel about leaving money on the table right? Worse than blasphemy…

    • If MLB was going to force the Giants to give up their claim to San Jose to bail out the A’s that would have happened years ago. Remember at the time Oakland was in dire financial straits, foreclosures were high, crime was some of the highest in the US. Now it’s gentrifying, it’s the fastest appreciating housing market in the country and it generally looks prosperous. If you were going to give the A’s a “get out of Oakland” card you would have done it when it looked like they needed it.

  7. From the SF Chronicle:

    “Two weeks ago, Peralta officials laid out their terms for going ahead — privately demanding that the A’s put up $6 million to cover the college district’s costs to negotiate a potential deal over the next two years. Those expenses included hiring consultants, conducting studies and doing public outreach.

    A’s officials, we’re told, were taken aback by the size of the request — but also knew they had little option but to play ball. Just days ago, they responded to Laguerre and the board, agreeing to the $6 million but also laying out conditions for how the money would be spent. They included routine audits and regular meetings with the Peralta board to discuss the progress of talks.

    The A’s thought everything was on track for the board’s approval of negotiations at its regular meeting next week. But with just 24 hours’ notice, Laguerre convened a closed-session board meeting Tuesday night to go over the A’s terms. When it broke up, the deal was off.”

    Looks like an attempt at a shakedown.

    “Give us money to even consider this.”
    “Well, okay, but we want to see the records on how the money is spent.”
    “… deal’s off.”

  8. Sacramento will not support building an MLB stadium, now five years ago before soccer caught on we probably would of.

  9. The A’s have one choice and it’s the only one they ever had in the east bay….the Coliseum site.

    They need to tear it down and build on the current site to save on running new lines and a new BART pedestrian bridge.

    Shack up with the Giants at ATT park for 3 years. Come back to a shiny new 450M or so ballpark at the Coliseum site.

    Then “piece by piece” build development around the new stadium. Oakland is gentrifying at a alarming rate.

    Remember the area around ATT park when it opened in 2000 and today?

    Night and day, in 10-15 years a village can be constructed around the ballpark in phases.

    Sounds like what Mark Davis was proposing……shocking

    • No real need to temporarily move. Plenty of room to build next door to the Coliseum, especially if you’re building a baseball-only stadium with a significantly smaller footprint than the current facility.

  10. Some non-news here about the A’s not ‘giving up’ and going to remain in Oakland: