December 16, 2013
Designs For A Second Bayfront Ballpark To Save The Oakland A's
With a legal settlement having opened the doors for the redevelopment of Oakland's 50-acre Howard Terminal site just north of Jack London Square and the Golden State Warriors pushing forward with plans to relocate to San Francisco, Oakland Mayor Jean Quan appears to be backing away from plans for a 750-acre "Coliseum City" for the Oakland A's, Raiders, and Golden State Warriors and backing Clorox chairman and CEO Don Knauss and former Dreyer's head honcho T. Gary Rogers who are spearheading the push to develop the Howard Terminal site with designs for a 38,000-seat waterfront ballpark in an effort to keep the A’s in Oakland.
The Save the A's effort also includes at least two other prominent figures, development consultant Doug Boxer (son of Sen. Barbara Boxer) and Mike Ghielmetti, whose Signature Development Group wants to turn Oakland's Brooklyn Basin into housing, retail shops and parks.
The idea is to entice A's owners John Fisher and Lew Wolff to join the plan - or, failing that, to get Major League Baseball to see Oakland as a viable spot for a new ballpark and kill the A's hopes of moving to San Jose once and for all.
About a mile from BART's existing West Oakland and 12th Street stations, backers of the proposed $500 million Howard Terminal ballpark believe another BART station could be added a couple of blocks from the terminal, along the tracks above Fourth Street. And in addition to the ballpark, the site could support over 30 acres of other development and uses.
All that being said, A's co-owner Lew Wolff has characterized the redevelopment of Howard Terminal for the A's as "as close to impossible as anything."
First Published: December 16, 2013 9:00 AM
Comments from "Plugged In" Readers
Seems like this area is better used as a port, since um, that's what it is now. I'm not big into cities converting active industrial land to other uses, especially when there is so much decrepit and unused industrial land elsewhere.
Posted by: anon at December 16, 2013 9:25 AM
This property is not needed for the Port. It is essentially surplus. HOWEVER, even mentioning the idea of an infill BART Station to serve this area is insane, as it would cost hundreds of millions. I'm so sick of the City of Oakland wasting time and resources on ball clubs that don't want to be in the City. Meanwhile, the City is organically rejuvenating with little official help. A little extra municipal effort downtown and along existing transit corridors would be much better for all the citizens of the City than chasing after windmills. But that is what the City of Oakland's political leadership loves to do.....
Posted by: curmudgeon at December 16, 2013 9:38 AM
I'm not in a position to make an informed comment on the feasibility, but I love the idea of building a great waterfront stadium in Oakland. There are so many great things about Oakland but the city is obviously severely crippled by mismanagement and social problems. A project like this would push things in the right direction.
Posted by: pvc at December 16, 2013 9:41 AM
curmudgeon, I think you meant to say "the city" instead of "the City."
Posted by: OMN at December 16, 2013 9:49 AM
I love the idea of building a great waterfront stadium, if all the city/port does is provide the land and/or grease the wheels for approvals. However, Oakland has no money to invest in something like this, and is way too prone to buckle to the extortion threats of club owners (City and County are still paying off the bill to keep the Raiders in Oakland years ago).
Posted by: curmudgeon at December 16, 2013 9:49 AM
What a joke!! New stadiums are nothing more than "corporate" welfare for an industy that pulls in billions per year. The stadiums leave the public $100's of million of dollars in debt and produce no significant econmic benefit to public.
Save the waterfront location for a new mixed use neighborhood (we need more business to shore up the tax base). Capital expense is at an all time low. Let the MLB finance the staduim on their own with ZERO public dollars in the deal. The staduim can be built on the exisiting site... right next to an EXISTING Bart station. And they can LEASE the land from the city pay.
We are in the midst of a major (historic) demographic shift back to the ciites. If the MLB doesn't want to play ball, someone else will (no one wants to live in the suburbs anymore). Take the public money that you would have wasted on a new stadium and invest in the schools, convert 880 to a boulevard in downtown, and a trolley down Broadway. Do these three things and Oakland can be the kick-ass city in the region (SF will ossify due to mono culture and SJ will be a footnote until they decide urbanize).
And finally, the CEO of Clorox, has zero credibilty since he decamped his company from Oakland to the suburbs.
Posted by: VancouverJones at December 16, 2013 9:55 AM
Good point about Clorox. It moved a lot of jobs out of Oakland. It's worth noting that Oakland is still the company's headquarters though.
Posted by: Tim Bracken at December 16, 2013 10:29 AM
Yeah, but the point about Clorox does make me wonder how much they would truly pony up to pay for this stuff. If they're so dedicated to Oakland that they'd push most of their employees to Pleasanton, what does that say about the likelihood that they'd underwrite local ownership of the A's. Grandstanding...
Posted by: curmudgeon at December 16, 2013 10:46 AM
I like it.
A BART infill station there would be expensive, but it's actually a great idea - it would also be just 3 or 4 blocks from Jack London Square, so it would really help that area develop.
I think retaining the cranes is dumb - they were probably going for some portside version of the Highline, but instead it just looks like they didn't have the money to tear out the cranes. (If they used the cranes for something - scoreboards or screens - that'd be a different story.)
Posted by: Sierrajeff at December 16, 2013 10:57 AM
"We are in the midst of a major (historic) demographic shift back to the ciites. If the MLB doesn't want to play ball, someone else will (no one wants to live in the suburbs anymore)"
You are making what I think are specious claims here that have mixed proof at best. I think some cities are becoming more popular sure, suburbs are also still very popular in the US and many cities are still very abandoned
Posted by: zig at December 16, 2013 11:19 AM
Based on the only BART infill station project ever, recently completed, would guess a budget of about $85m to complete. Not small change. Ferry service is pretty good, too - new BART station would kill that so politically maybe a non-starter.
With respect to economic impact, I agree in principle that infill is probably a better use. However, a baseball stadium could have an outsized impact on rejuvenating Oakland's image. Fans would travel into real neighborhoods and spend a lot more money in the city, and would take away a more positive image, boosting visits overall. Moreover, a picturesque stadium on TV all the time is tens of millions in free marketing for a rejuvenated waterfront. A new BART station would also spur additional development. Baseball stadiums actually do have major economic benefits compared to football, and oakland does have an image problem. I say go for it. Better money spent that many other city initiatives.
Also, suggest they build a soccer ready field, although I know dual use stadiums are déclassé. Bay Area could use another soccer team.
Posted by: Anon at December 16, 2013 11:21 AM
I am not clear why MLB doesn't want the A's to move to San Jose as that is where the money is.
Regarding BART in-fill stations like this proposal and 30th St. they better be stops that can be skipped by express trains. This is already a problem for BART on its ever expanding system. It is hard to be a subway and a commuter rail and sitting on a BART train 60+ minutes sucks.
Posted by: zig at December 16, 2013 11:24 AM
One more thought: new station combined with an additional crossover and sidetrack for BART would really help with core system ops and could be eligible for special grant money from the Feds. Worth consideration.
Posted by: Anon at December 16, 2013 11:24 AM
...and the problem with the Coliseum is what, not shiny enough?
But yeah, Clorox moves jobs out of Oakland and now wants to move tax dollars out of their pockets.
Posted by: EH at December 16, 2013 11:37 AM
Sorry about the comments regarding SF and SJ. In today's world California nees all of it's cities to be in great shape. I just hate to see Oakland get kicked when it's down. These deals are just so one sided: public financing, waterfront land at nominal costs, ridiculously low lease payments, property tax right offs, free utilites, future moderinization costs, crummy revenue sharing, etc, etc.
Posted by: VancouverJones at December 16, 2013 11:52 AM
@zig. MLB doesn't want the A's to move to San Jose because the Giants have fought it for years. The corridor from SF to SJ represents a significant portion of the Giants fan base and the Giants have always made clear they are not about to give that up. Personally, as a Giants fan, I feel the Bay Area can support both clubs ... and Oakland A's need a decent stadium in Oakland, although not the one that's being proposed, methinks.
Posted by: Oceangoer at December 16, 2013 11:54 AM
zig makes a good point re: the # of BART stations (it's as fast for me to take Caltrain to 4th & King and then walk to the FiDi as it is to get on BART at Millbrae and get off at Embarcadero!).
But infill stations will also help the system grow, by serving more people (and by pushing BART more towards the model of a subway than commuter rail). Ideally BART should run urban-only trains in off periods, to cut down waiting times (e.g., a train only between 24th & Mission and MacArthur, shuttling back & forth).
In a super-ideal world they could instead run a new BART line from downtown Oakland through J.L. Square and Alameda, then through a 2nd transbay tube to the Transbay Terminal, and thence west down Geary (intersecting current BART again at Montgomery or Powell), or run down Howard or Folsom with stops at Moscone and at 9th before running up Van Ness. (A guy can dream.)
Posted by: Sierrajeff at December 16, 2013 12:16 PM
Re: BART infill stations. The $85 million quoted above was likely for West Dublin/Pleasanton Station...a station that was preplanned before the line ever went in. A truly new infill station would easily be over 100 million with that as a guide. It is horrendously complicated. To start with you need a straight, level section of track 700 feet long.
Posted by: curmudgeon at December 16, 2013 12:25 PM
[Brush Street to MLK] is 650ft, and the elevated tracks seem reasonably straight and level at that point -- according to Google Maps (an approximation...) the tracks are 44ft high the entire way through that section.
Posted by: outtahere at December 16, 2013 1:16 PM
Oceangoer, I know about the Giants territory but you would think among gentlemen something could be worked out with so much more money in the South Bay.
Posted by: zig at December 16, 2013 1:28 PM
The Jack London BART Feasibility Study (2004): http://www.bart.gov/sites/default/files/docs/JLSFeasibility1.pdf.
Posted by: emanon at December 16, 2013 1:48 PM
@emanon Argh, finally! I tried to find a copy of that document a few weeks ago -- all the uris, including that one, were 404 at that time. Looks like it's back up now, thanks.
Posted by: outtahere at December 16, 2013 1:50 PM
i hear santa clara has a new stadium. maybe the santa clara 49ers and the santa clara As can share a stadium.
I cant wait until SF gets a new NFL team for the City, and really cant wait for that amazing new Warriors stadium.
WOuld be nice if we have the Warriors at the EMbarcadero, the Giants in South Beach and get a new NFL stadium near mission rock.
Posted by: moto mayhem at December 16, 2013 2:18 PM
I've been in Oakland for a little over a month now, and there's no reason it can't be the next Portland. A solid start on a downtown/JLS/uptown streetcar would put it well down that path. SF is paralyzed by high costs and political fights, Oakland could seize the opportunity if it wants it. Crime and schools are problems that resolve themselves once the other pieces are in place.
Posted by: outtahere at December 16, 2013 2:32 PM
Funny no one has even mentioned the elephant in the room: With 4.5-ft (minimum) of sea rise likely in next 80 years, won't that stadium (or field at least) be underwater? Why do promoters continue to float (excuse pun) development like Treasure Island high rises and sports stadiums at water line when taxpayers won't be able to afford seawalls and levees that Oakland airport/SFO and other existing infrastructure are going to shortly require... adapt, be resilient and move back...
Posted by: 4oceans at December 16, 2013 2:34 PM
moto you certainly get points for creativity but OakTown the next Portlandia is so rich I'm dying of laughter... consider the future... raw local vegetables hand harvested thru cracks in the cement, meats dry cured out back the morgue, hipsters running for their lives, no earthquakes, 1000s more to follow... this is so hysterical. OakLandia lives!
Posted by: 4oceans at December 16, 2013 2:39 PM
4oceans..more like the next Brooklyn and it is happening NOW
Posted by: curmudgeon at December 16, 2013 2:45 PM
"WOuld be nice if we have the Warriors at the EMbarcadero, the Giants in South Beach and get a new NFL stadium near mission rock."
Sounds like a sure-fire recipe for gridlock. The Giants, alone, already max out the transportation infrastructure in the area and then some.
Posted by: anonanon at December 16, 2013 2:53 PM
@outtahere - I agree, Oakland has a lot to offer and if they can just get some smart leadership, I could see very bright days ahead. They should be pitching new tech companies and giving tax breaks. The hipster scene in Oakland is great, and its 20 minutes from SF. I could see a wave of tech companies moving there with the right incentives, all their 20 something employees would like it, and some might even live there for half the price of SF.
Posted by: The Bunk at December 16, 2013 2:54 PM
I don't see Oakland as the next Portland - but as the next Brooklyn, certainly a possibility. And while I'll always prefer the City, everyone in the Bay Area would benefit from a more vibrant and viable Oakland.
@ 4oceans your concerns are valid and need to be expressed more and more - I just worked on a hotel deal in Miami, and I was shaking my head that someone is doing a new hotel virtually at sea level. However, those concerns could be addressed here by some minor infill and raised platforms. And in any event, if and when it comes to it, it'll be a lot cheaper to do one barrier at the Golden Gate than miles and miles of levees around every individual vulnerable structure and subdivision.
Posted by: Sierrajeff at December 16, 2013 2:57 PM
@4oceans - the most likely scenario is a seawall of some type outside the Golden Gate if it ends up being needed. No need to worry about low-lying areas around the Bay that will be below water. It would be crazy to try to work on things one-by-one, rather than fixing the all Bay Area/Delta/Central Valley concerns in one swoop.
Posted by: anon at December 16, 2013 2:59 PM
Well, I'm signing a lease today on a neat loft space near downtown Oakland, at about half the price of a similar space in the City. I work in Berkeley, my wife works downtown, so easy commutes for both of us. Somewhat concerned about the crime issues, but I've lived in sketchy places before. Hopefully I'm just ahead of the curve and not making a terrible mistake :)
Posted by: outtahere at December 16, 2013 3:05 PM
Sea levels will not rise that rapidly (i.e. not within 30 years), but when they do, (definitely when, not if) seawalls will not be so cheap, simple nor effective. Costs will ultimately be in many hundreds of billions. Will make sense to not bother. Parts of NYC, Florida, SF...will be history. Venice will be a memory.
Treasure Island and developments like that will have a lifespan of less than a century, then will be abandoned. Stupid to bother at all building it, IMO. Stadiums have a lifespan of less than 50 years anyway, they get outmoded.
Posted by: Frank C. at December 16, 2013 3:08 PM
Oakland is sort of like Portland in that the urban growth line is set by the hills, estuary and boundaries with other cities. It makes sense to extend light rail from the west oakland station,through the new port neighborhood, over to alamdeda point and then over to Fruitvale Bart. It also makes sense to the light rail run down Broadway to JLS and then make a turn and head toward the Brookly Basin neighborhood. It's a mistake to try to only attract a certain industry or age group. It's not rocket science... all Oakland needs to do is focus on building the infrastructure that allows people to lead active and interesting lives. I would love to live in a loft style home in Jack London Square. But I'm a human being... I need to be able to walk to grocery store, schools and parks. I'd like to take a water taxi to visit fiends in Alameda. I'd like to take the light rail to the Parmount for a concert or to McArthur St for a doctor's visit or to the Bart station. I have friends and family of different ages and who work in many different proffessions. I'd be really happy if some friends and family could find the things they need to live in the same neighborhood. and when I start my second career, I plan on ditching my commute and setting up shop in my neighborhood. Civic infrastructure is what matters most... not fancy marketing, sports teams or glittering tech companies (per se).
Posted by: VancouverJones at December 16, 2013 4:51 PM
Might as well move the proposed Warriors arena there as well. It would face a small fraction of the legal and ballot opposition and years of delay that certain SF residents will impose.
Posted by: anon at December 16, 2013 5:14 PM
"The hipster scene in Oakland is great"
thats a good reason not to move there.
Posted by: moto mayhem at December 16, 2013 5:22 PM
Congratulations outtahere !
Posted by: The Milkshake of Despair at December 16, 2013 5:52 PM
There won't be any residential here. The site is subject to land use restrictions because of past contamination.
Posted by: Schaetzer at December 16, 2013 9:52 PM
If you list the top 25 problems Oakland has, this is the solution to 0 of them.
Posted by: formidable doer of the nasty at December 17, 2013 2:18 AM
Re: Sea level rise due to global warming, first of all, 4 to 5 feet within 80 years is an exaggeration. Skeptical science is a great resource with current studies and they say 80
Cm to 1m by 2100. But forget about that. Tell me one stadium that's 80 years old besides Wrigley and Fenway. If baseball is even played in 80 years that would go against the trending of the sport.
Posted by: Truth at December 17, 2013 8:51 AM
If baseball is still played in 80 years, boredom will be the leading cause of death in this country.
Posted by: formidable doer of the nasty at December 17, 2013 1:40 PM
"If you list the top 25 problems Oakland has, this is the solution to 0 of them."
It is a problem enhancer - so many yuppies with their iPhones congregating in one place - target rich environment
Posted by: wrath at December 17, 2013 3:07 PM
Oakland: Come for the housing, stay for the weather.
Posted by: EBGuy at December 18, 2013 11:39 AM