SBD/March 19, 2014/Facilities

Oakland To Start Negotiations With Local Group Over Potential A's Waterfront Ballpark

Oakland businessmen are looking at a 50-acre site for an A's ballpark
The Port of Oakland is "getting behind a plan to build" a waterfront ballpark for the A's "on the site of a recently abandoned shipping terminal," according to Matthew Artz of the OAKLAND TRIBUNE. The Board of Port Commissioners next week "is expected to approve entering into exclusive negotiations with a group of prominent local businessmen who want to lay the groundwork for a stadium on the 50-acre site in the hopes that A's ownership or a future team owner will build it." The businessmen "sought the one-year agreement and hope to eventually secure an additional two- to three-year option period during which they would work to obtain the necessary permits and perform an estimated $1 million environmental review on the site." However, A's co-Owner Lew Wolff has repeatedly said that the proposed ballpark at Howard Terminal "won't pencil out." Wolff has said that the terminal, just north of Jack London Square, is "too far" from public transportation and "would require a costly environmental cleanup." Artz writes the push for a waterfront ballpark is "seen as part of a strategy by Oakland leaders to persuade MLB that the city has viable stadium options, while pressuring" Wolff and A's co-Owner John Fisher "to either build in Oakland or sell the team" (OAKLAND TRIBUNE, 3/19).

KEEP WAITING: In San Jose, Mark Purdy writes, "Whatever happens, the A's are not going to get a new ballpark, anywhere, for years and years. So everybody should concentrate on something more immediate and practical. For example, will Oakland please allow the A's to build a new scoreboard at the Coliseum?" Right now, that is "what the A's want." But Oakland right now "is not eager to make it happen." That is why Wolff a few weeks ago "made public his seemingly fanciful notion of building a 'temporary stadium' for the team somewhere in Northern California after its Coliseum lease expires" following the '15 season. Wolff and the A's "recognize that the Coliseum scoreboard stinks." They want to "spend millions on a new scoreboard system, which involves the hardware and electronics to run it," but they "don't want to spend that money unless the cost can be amortized over the next five to 10 seasons" (SAN JOSE MERCURY NEWS, 3/19).
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