Despite objections from the A’s, the Oakland City Council on Tuesday approved terms for the team's Howard Terminal ballpark. The decision keeps the $12 billion waterfront project alive, but they're not the terms the team wanted.
The council's 6-1 vote, with one abstention, during the special meeting allows the city and the team to continue negotiations on binding contracts related to the project and perhaps ensures the A's future in Oakland -- for now.
A no vote likely would have stalled any further talks about the Howard Terminal proposal and forced the A's to continue exploring relocation options.
Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf said based on extensive negotiations the team can and should agree to the terms approved by the city council.
"We are unified in keeping the A's rooted in Oakland in a way that protects our port, protects our community and protects the taxpayers is responsible," she said. "We believe in this vision of a world-class waterfront ballpark district."
But the A's have a different view on the council members' action, since they didn't vote on the terms the team proposed. A’s President Dave Kaval said the city's terms don't work for the team.
"Yeah, we were disappointed that the city council didn’t vote yes on our proposal," he said. "So, we're taking some time to understand exactly what they voted yes on. Many of the provisions we had never seen before. But we're going to analyze those things, see how they either compare positively or negatively with our term sheet and really dig into that in a thoughtful way."
A's team officials essentially have said the Howard Terminal project is the team's best and perhaps only option for staying in Oakland, and the club has been cleared by Major League Baseball to seek relocation options if the Oakland project fizzles. Team executives already have made multiple visits to Las Vegas to explore possible stadium options there.
The A's Howard Terminal proposal consists of a 35,000-capacity ballpark, 3,000 residential units, 1.5 million square feet of commercial space, 270,000 square feet of ground-floor retail space and 18.3 acres of new public parks.
The team also is proposing the city help fund the infrastructure around the ballpark project, a provision that seems to be a critical sticking point for some council members.
The A's and the city of Oakland also disagree on affordable housing and sources for the Community Fund, which would set aside money for things like workforce development.
City officials said they are targeting "30% affordability" for housing through both onsite units and offsite displacement strategies. The A's have said they want a waiver for onsite affordable housing.
The A's lease at the Coliseum expires in 2024.
Before the vote, Councilmember Noel Gallo had already made up his mind and it was a no.
"What am I losing?" he said. "Right now, Oakland has many emergencies that I need to attend to: homelessness, housing, public safety, and I need to invest my dollars there, not on a professional team."
CORRECTION: A previous version of this story provided the incorrect tally for the city council vote.