Oakland mayor and A’s agree to exclusive negotiations for stadium sites (if city council and Port of Oakland approve)

Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf and Oakland A’s president Dave Kaval announced yesterday that the two parties have approved an exclusive negotiating agreement to explore building a new stadium at either the Howard Terminal site or the Oakland Coliseum site. This means … okay, let’s figure out exactly what this means:

  • Nobody seems to be reporting how long the exclusive agreements will remain in place, but this may be yet to be worked out. (More on that in a moment.)
  • Will the A’s owners be asked to pay more than their $135 million offer for the Coliseum property? “Price is part of what will be hashed out,” said Schaaf.
  • Kaval says he’s hoping for a resolution by the end of this year so a stadium can open in 2023, which, sure he is, but target dates like these change all the time.
  • Kaval called this “a 50- to 100-year decision for having a long-term home,” and Schaaf echoed that “we also want a 100-year plan” for a stadium, all of which is a nice thought but flies in the face of trends in planned ballpark obsolescence.

None of this is final: All Mayor Schaaf has done is proposed that the city council and Port of Oakland enter into exclusive negotiating agreements with the A’s, so presumably it’ll be up to those bodies to determine how to write the actual language. One hopes that, even if it gives the A’s some time to be the only bidders at the table (as team execs demanded earlier this week), it won’t preclude Oakland from doing due diligence on what those parcels are actually worth, since that’s going to be key to determining how much the A’s owners should be paying for them. Given that it’s a step that could end up costing taxpayers hundreds of millions of dollars if you get it wrong, they’ll want to be sure they don’t leave it out.

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6 comments on “Oakland mayor and A’s agree to exclusive negotiations for stadium sites (if city council and Port of Oakland approve)

  1. I do not think any new ballpark will be @ Howard’s Terminal. Why? 1: No train station. 2: unknown environmental cleanup costs. It leaves the Coliseum site, but no one ( except the Rams) is building a privately funded ballpark without benefits or projected benefits. Which is why the A’s ( if they remain) will have.the Coliseum site to develop.

  2. The lifespan of a stadium seems to correlate with who has to pay for a new one. Owner’s money, 50-100 years. Someone else’s money, soon as possible.

  3. If you thought, as I did, that the Laney College/Peralta site that the A’s tried for last year was problematic, then man oh man is Howard Terminal even more problematic.

    The nearest BART station is over a mile away (there is a ferry terminal right there though) and heavy rail tracks (Amtrak and freight) run on the street directly outside the proposed stadium site. The site is supposed to be used exclusively for port activity right now and some of the industrial users and tenants have been pretty clearly against a ballpark there. There’s also the laundry list of agencies and parties that have to sign off throughout the process because of the site’s position on and over water, not to mention likely having to raise the whole site to account for sea level rise. And that’s all just scratches the surface.

    The Coliseum site is not without its own drawbacks and challenges, but it already has an approved EIR for development and better access to transit.

    It seems to me that this is all picking up some steam towards what has been essentially the inevitable conclusion of the past several years of chatter: a new ballpark and development on the Coliseum site.

    It’ll be interesting to see how quickly (or slowly) this process gets narrowed down to the last option standing.

    1. Don’t forget the Candlestick’ish wind that supposedly graces HT with its presence.

  4. There are definitely issues with HT. The A’s have always claimed that. Part of the reason the city wanted that site was in an effort to address the many problems the site has (at least partially using someone else’s money).

    There was a time (when the dalliance with the Raiders remained active) when I thought that Oakland might actually be willing to put some significant money into HT. If they were, it might have made sense for the A’s to take the city’s preferred option. Absent additional infrastructure/cleanup funds, however, HT is an expensive option.

    Tend to agree with those above… the present site is really the only one that makes any sense in Oakland. Why not co-operate on it and end the uncertainty over the franchise’s location for 35-50 years or so?

    Like the Rays, the A’s don’t really have anywhere better that they can get to without paying a huge amount. At this point the only sensible solution is to make the best deal possible in Oakland.

    If the city wants to keep a pro sports team (and I’m not saying they should or shouldn’t consider retaining the A’s a priority), this is their opportunity to make the best deal they are likely to get to retain one.

    Not exactly a win win, but it seems the most sensible solution.

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