Posts Tagged ‘Howard Terminal’

Baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred said the Oakland Athletics need to quickly reach a binding agreement for a new ballpark and that relocation could be considered if a deal isn’t struck for a facility in the Bay Area.

“I was at the Coliseum myself recently,” he told the Baseball Writers’ Association of America on Tuesday before the All-Star Game. “The condition of the Coliseum is a really serious problem for us. I’ve said it, this is not news. It is not a major league-quality facility at this point.”

Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf is pushing for approval of a waterfront ballpark at Howard Terminal. The San Francisco Bay Conservation and Development Commission voted last month to reclassify a 56-acre terminal at the Port of Oakland as a mixed-use area where a new ballpark could be built. The team, under controlling owner John Fisher, also has explored a possible new ballpark in Las Vegas.

An Oakland City Council vote on a ballpark is possible later this year.

“Mayor Schaaf continues to work hard to try to get an arrangement, an agreement to develop the Howard Terminal site,” Manfred said. “I’m hopeful that that can still happen. And I said this recently and I’ll repeat, it needs to happen now. It needs to be done.”

The A’s have played at the Coliseum since 1968 and their lease expires after the 2024 season.

After proposing and withdrawing plans for ballparks in Fremont and San Jose, the team announced in November 2018 it had found a waterfront location for a new ballpark at Howard Terminal, close to the Jack London Square neighborhood. The stadium would cost more than $1 billion, with views toward San Francisco, the Bay Bridge and Port of Oakland.

After trading veterans and cutting payroll to a major league-low of $48 million on opening day, the A’s are an AL-worst 32-61 and have drawn a big league-worst 362,756 in home attendance, an average of 8,637.

“I think Oakland, the A’s, face an extraordinarily difficult situation. John Fisher has invested literally tens of millions of dollars over the entire period of my commissionership in an effort to get a stadium done in Oakland,” Manfred said. “I think that negativity always accompanies the situation where players are traded and a club for whatever set of reasons decides to start over. But I think bigger picture, John is committed and has invested really significant dollars in trying to get baseball in Oakland on an even footing, a sustainable footing over the long haul.”

A’s President Dave Kaval said last month he has made weekly trips to Las Vegas, investing time on design work and feasibility studies. Manfred declined to discuss whether MLB would waive charging the team a relocation fee — MLB has not charged relocation fees in the past.

“Mr. Fisher has to make a decision as to whether he wants to make an agreement or can make an agreement that is approved by the City Council that would keep the A’s in Oakland,” Manfred said. “If that’s not possible, we have a process that deals with an application for relocation, and I assume that’s where it goes if in fact no agreement can be made in Oakland.”

Baseball owners have put off possible expansion from 30 teams to 32 until Oakland and Tampa Bay get deals for new ballparks.

“I need to get Oakland and Tampa resolved before we could realistically have a conversation about expansion,” Manfred said.

The Oakland City Council on Tuesday approved preliminary terms for a new $12 billion waterfront ballpark project for the Oakland Athletics, but it’s unclear if the vote will be enough to keep the baseball team at the negotiating table instead of leaving the San Francisco Bay Area city.

The 6-1 vote backed the proposal that requires the development to include affordable housing, tenant protections and environmental measures, the San Francisco Chronicle reported.

Mayor Libby Schaaf and council leaders said the vote marks a milestone in negotiations, despite city officials being able to reach a deal with the team in last-minute negotiations.

“This is the path to keeping the A’s rooted in Oakland in a way that protects our port and taxpayers and will produce the benefits our community demands and deserves,” the city leaders said in a statement.

But A’s President Dave Kaval said the financial terms do not work for the team.

“To vote on something we have not been privy to and not had time to digest is a difficult thing for us. It’s hard to understand how that is a path forward,” Kaval said at the meeting.

The A’s are the last professional franchise remaining in Oakland after the NBA’s Golden State Warriors relocated to San Francisco and the NFL’s Raiders to Las Vegas. The defections weigh heavily on the Bay Area city of roughly 400,000 people, some of whom pleaded with the council Tuesday to work harder to keep the team and accompanying coliseum jobs.

Others, like Emily Wheeler, said good riddance: “The A’s are like an abusive boyfriend and you need to stand up to them.”

The A’s project includes a $1 billion privately financed 35,000-seat waterfront ballpark at Howard Terminal, 3,000 residential units, office and retail space, hotel rooms and an indoor performance center.

The team’s lease at the aging RingCentral Coliseum runs through 2024. The league has said rebuilding at the current location is not a viable option. In May, Major League Baseball instructed Oakland’s brass to explore relocation options if no ballpark agreement could be reached.

Former Oakland Athletics pitcher Dave Stewart submitted a $115-million bid to purchase the city of Oakland’s share of the Oakland Coliseum site, he told Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle.

Stewart, who’s from Oakland and played with the Athletics for eight seasons, would like to develop the location and potentially build a new stadium for the team if its plans to erect a ballpark at Howard Terminal don’t come to fruition.

“I grew up right there and I’ve watched what’s happened in East Oakland,” Stewart said. “East Oakland seems like a forgotten area.

“My thought was, ‘Why should people there have to go to San Francisco for nice restaurants or stores?’ If there is going to be affordable housing there, why not nice restaurants and shops – and you create employment opportunities. Why wouldn’t you create a city within the city and revive the area?”

Stewart acknowledged that he talked with Athletics president Dave Kaval about how the Oakland Coliseum site can be used and that he’s open to working with the club, according to Slusser.

The 63-year-old didn’t get into the details of other investors involved in his bid.

Oakland city council voted in June 2020 to start negotiating the sale of its half of the location with the Athletics.

The team has proposed building a waterfront stadium at Howard Terminal, but it likely won’t be able to open a new ballpark by the 2023 campaign. The lease for the Oakland Coliseum ends in 2024.