Amid the ongoing discussion of the Oakland Raiders possible move back to Los Angeles (they have since pulled their bid after losing the support of NFL owners), Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf is forging ahead with her plans to sell A’s ownership on one of her proposals for a new ball park.
One of the ten sites identified for a possible new stadium is the Howard Terminal location just north of Jack London Square. A location that would be a fifteen minute bike ride and ten minute car trip from Emeryville. A location that would link Emeryville back to the roots of Oakland Baseball which began with Oaks park in Emeryville (not Oakland). A location that could spur revitalization of the West Oakland area and provide needed jobs for local residents. A site that could help move forward the proposed EBOT Trolley that would provide a vital transportation link from Emeryville to West Oakland BART and beyond.
This plaque above, tucked away in the wrought iron & ivy fence of Pixar Animation Studios on Park Avenue, commemorates the location of the Oakland Ballpark and notable Baseball legends Casey Stengel & Billy Martin. Joe DiMaggio and Jackie Robinson were other notable players to play at the park.
“I think Howard Terminal would be a fantastic site for a ballpark — one of the most spectacular pieces of real estate in the world,” Schaaf explained to Chronicle columnists Matier & Ross in this article. Schaaf has expressed a desire for “an urban, walkable ballpark” that’s closer to downtown. The 50-acre parcel is owned by the Port of Oakland. 14 of the acres would be used for the stadium and the balance for other potential development.
The bad new is the sites about a mile walk from BART (slightly closer than the walk from BART to the Giants AT&T park). Freeway improvements and $90 million in infrastructure improvements to site would also be required in addition to extensive toxic cleanup (something the city has indicated it would provide assistance with). The site would also require State approval as it’s part of the California Tidelands Trust.
The Howard Terminal location has been met with lackluster enthusiasm from A’s owner Lew Wolff has been noncommittal on any of the proposed sites. Wolff has previously stated about the Howard Terminal location “it would be easier to build on Treasure Island.” The original plan for the Howard Terminal location was presented while former Mayor Jean Quan was in office.
The site is one of ten that the city has identified in the above document outlining alternative Oakland ballpark sites. The other proposed area that would be near us is the Oakland U.S. Post Office Distribution center on 7th St. This location would in fact be a bit closer to Emeryville and freeway off-ramps but without the waterfront views.
Either location would surely be a boon to business activity along Mandela Parkway and the corridor between the stadium and West Oakland BART. Anyone who’s ever visited a downtown stadium (including SF’s AT&T) can appreciate the vitality it brings to industrial areas. A new stadium can also lead to an increase in real estate prices and spur the “Gentrification” threat that some in West Oakland have sworn to oppose.
The Athletics are the only Major League team playing in a multi-purpose stadium and their quest for a new home has prompted attempts to relocate to San Jose and Fremont (both have stalled). If Oakland in fact lost the A’s to another city in tandem with the Warriors plans to move to San Francisco and the Raiders intent to move, it would leave the city without a major sports franchise. Sports teams that have been a source of civic pride and history throughout the decades.
Read more on the proposal on SFChronicle.com (subscription required).