Wednesday marked the latest chance for the Oakland Athletics to pitch their plan to stay in the city of Oakland.
It was the city’s community and economic development committee meeting on Wednesday. But right now, the only thing Oakland A's and the city seem to agree on is that they still disagree on some very big issues regarding the $450 million ballpark they want to build at Howard Terminal.
With the 55-year lease on the Oakland Coliseum expiring in three years, the writing has been on the wall for a long time.
If the Athletics are going to stay in Oakland, they will need a new ballpark.
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“This is our last option in Oakland,” said Dave Kaval, President of the Oakland A's. “We need a downtown urban location, and that is Howard Terminal. We’re in a position now where it really is Howard Terminal or bust.”
The team committed to cover the $450 million construction costs for the ballpark itself. But the overall project is in the billions.
Meanwhile, Oakland taxpayers are still hurting from past lease deals with the Raiders and Warriors that left them on the hook for millions of dollars, even after those teams left
So far, the A’s will only commit to a 20-year non-relocation agreement. But the city wants a deal that will keep the A’s team and its name in Oakland for 45 years.
“What does that mean? It means the Oakland A’s will be the Oakland A’s, and not the Bay Area A’s or whatever the case may be,” said Molly Maybrun, Oakland City Project Manager.
Oakland city law also requires developers include affordable housing in projects but the team wants an exemption.
Instead, it wants future taxes to pay for the housing. That is something a few city council members soundly rejected.
“I think it’s a bad precedent. It’s a bad idea and to me. That’s a shocking element of this that I have difficulty swallowing,” said Oakland Councilmember Dan Kalb.
Kaval also told the city that he hopes the full council will vote to approve the project later this month because time is running out.
The meeting was happening even as The Las Vegas Review Journal reported on Wednesday that Oakland A’s leadership will be in Las Vegas over the next two days, meeting with elected officials and touring sites for a ballpark in Nevada.