Newballpark.org noticed last week that the Oakland A’s hadn’t updated its Howard Terminal stadium timeline in a while, and tweeted about it, and then by Saturday the old one with a 2023 opening date had been replaced by an entirely new one with … not:
As you can see, the due dates for the draft environmental impact review and city council vote have been pushed forward from last fall (which already didn’t happen) and the first half of 2020 (likewise) to “late 2020” and next summer. And also, there are now no projected dates at all for when the stadium will begin construction or be completed.
Now, this is in part totally reasonable in the middle of a pandemic that has upended the sports industry: With no one even sure when fans will be able to go back into stadiums again, it’s kind of silly to project when teams can start raising money to build new stadiums, or if new stadiums should even look like they did in the Before Times. But at the same time, the Howard Terminal project has been shaky from the start — that EIR has been overdue since way before Covid; the dock workers union is still loudly protesting against siting a stadium alongside a working port (look, more protests just this past weekend!) as is the Sierra Club; it’s still not entirely clear how fans would get from their cars to the stadium; the property-tax kickback district to fund around $200 million in Howard Terminal infrastructure has been approved by the state but not yet by the city and who knows how property tax collections will even look in the future; and lots of people still think it would be simpler and more cost-effective to just build a new stadium at the current Oakland Coliseum site.
In short, the Howard Terminal stadium appears to be entering the “reevaluating” phase, which is where most every plan for the future is right now, but it’s also where a long series of A’s stadium plans have gone to die, so we’ll see how this turns out. More time thinking about that $200 million in infrastructure definitely seems warranted, at least, and right now we all have nothing but time.