A's Unveil Plans For New Waterfront Ballpark At Howard Terminal
The A’s are set to "unveil a 'bigger than baseball' mega-ballpark deal that includes a 'jewel box' waterfront stadium at Howard Terminal," according to Matier & Ross of the S.F. CHRONICLE. The plan would turn the current Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum site into a "tech and housing hub that would keep the Oracle Arena as is, while stripping the massive stadium there down to a low-rise sports park and amphitheater." A's President Dave Kaval said that the franchise's "call for control of both the 55-acre Howard Terminal waterfront site and 111-acre Coliseum site in East Oakland is essential if the team is to deliver on its promise of a '100 percent privately built ballpark.'" Matier & Ross report the ballpark will be designed by Danish architectural firm Bjarke Ingels Group and is a "deliberate throwback" to early 1900's parks. It would be "nestled amid wedge-shaped high-rises -- some as tall as 20 stories -- with windows looking directly down on the playing field." The site is "too windy for the ballpark to be open to the water," but it would include a "publicly accessible rooftop park with sweeping views of the waterfront, Oakland and San Francisco." The plan also includes an "aerial gondola to shuttle 6,000 fans an hour from downtown Oakland over Interstate 880 and the railroad tracks to Jack London Square." There also would be "pedestrian bridges over the tracks -- though apparently not an auto bridge." The A’s already have "put in an offer to buy the Coliseum site" for $137M. Kaval said that the offer "isn’t set in stone, and that the team is open to partnering with the city, county or both -- even other private interests -- to develop the site" (SFCHRONICLE.com, 11/28).
TIME TABLE: In S.F., Ron Leuty notes the A's expect to "complete the privately financed, 34,000-seat ballpark in time for the start" of the '23 season. Details, such as "how much the development will cost and how exactly it will be financed without taxpayer help, haven't been disclosed." However, the A's have been "negotiating for much of the past six months with the Port of Oakland for the Howard Terminal site." The Coliseum site "essentially would become a revenue stream for the A's that could help finance a new ballpark and help the team ease concerns about pro sports leaving the neighborhood around the Coliseum" (BIZJOURNALS.com, 11/28).
TWITTER REAX: Author Neil deMause tweeted the designs are "crazy-looking." The Athletic's Pablo Maurer: "I feel like they turned the controls over to an intern who spent A LOT of time playing SimCity 2000 in his childhood. I keep waiting for a Godzilla to appear from the periphery and crush it." N.Y. Times' Shane Goldmacher: "Instant reaction: I love this A's stadium proposal." Tampa-based WTSP-CBS' Noah Pransky: "Like Tampa proposal, project seems to lean on ancillary development to pay for the ballpark, typically a financial loss-leader. Unlike Tampa proposal, project doesn't seem to be tapping into local taxes at all."