This is the place the Athletics have chosen for their new $500-mil ballpark

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A mock-up of what a new Athletics ballpark could look like on the proposed site from Newballpark.org

by Charlie O. Mallonee

The day that all Oakland Athletics fans have been waiting for has finally come. On Wednesday, the Athletics announced that they have selected a site for their new $500-million privately financed baseball only ballpark. That site will be will be known as the Peralta Ballpark Plan.

The location is between Lake Merritt and I-880 and is currently occupied by commercial warehouses, parking lots and the administrative offices for the Peralta Community College District.

Plans call for more than a ballpark on the site

This plan calls for a complete makeover of the area that will include more than the Athletics new facility. It will include:

  • New housing
  • There will be emphasis on affordable housing
  • Small business space will be available
  • Restaurant and retail space that will serve the locals and fans
  • Parks will be a part of the overall development
  • Commercial real estate will also have a place in the plan
  • If this sounds a lot like what happened in China Basin when AT&T Park was built, that is exactly the hopes and plans for this development.

What is the proposed schedule for the project?

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An aerial shot of the proposal ballpark site
  • Year one: Community Process – the residents, businesses and city government of Oakland have buy into the project in order to make it work.
  • Year two: Permitting (this is California), environmental approval and final ballpark design
  • 2021: Groundbreaking ceremony
  • 2023: Play ball!

What about financing?

  • The ballpark will be privately financed by the Oakland Athletics similar to how the Giants and the Warriors have built or are building their own facilities. Details to follow.
  • What about financing for the remainder of the project? Oakland Athletics owner John Fisher has made his fortune in commercial real estate. He is exactly the type of person who can pull together developers who will want to invest in this type of project, and because Oakland has been an economically challenged city, they are positioned nicely to receive federal and state money to help make a project like this successful.
  • The other factor this project has going for it is the overcrowding in the Bay Area. Oakland is really the last place where commercial office and work space can be developed. It may be last place in the Bay Area where “Transit Oriented Development” that includes work space, affordable housing, shopping and entertainment without needing a car can be made a reality. Would tech companies rather have employees and offices in Iowa or Oakland? It is an easy choice.

What about access to the ballpark?

The Coliseum offers some of the easiest in and out access of any sports complex in America. The new site would offer:

  • BART
  • Access to several freeways
  • The ability to walk and bike from downtown Oakland and surrounding communities
  • AT&T proved you do not have to have a 25,000 car parking lot to make a stadium work in California
Coliseum before Mt. Davis
The Coliseum with its beautiful views before the blight of Mt. Davis

What about the view?

How about a view of Lake Merritt, the Oakland skyline and the Oakland Hills? It might remind you of the great views from the Coliseum before “Mt. Davis” was built.

What would happen to the Coliseum site?

  • The A’s would work with the City of Oakland and the County of Alameda on a plan to develop what is undoubtedly a very valuable piece of land. Remember John Fisher is a major developer of real estate and knows how to bring people together for big projects.
  • The site is ideal for housing, hotel, retail and office development. Remember “Transit Oriented Development”? BART and Air BART are already at that location. That airport is one mile away. The land sits on I-880. It is prime real estate in an area that is running out of room.
  • The other part of the plan for that site is really exciting. The Athletics plan to build a multi-use sports complex and an Urban Youth Academy for baseball and soccer (remember John Fisher also owns the San Jose Earthquakes). This where Major League Baseball can really get involved as part of their initiative to reach out to urban youth.

Oakland Athletics President David Kaval said on Twitter, “A great day for Oakland and the #rootedinoakland”.

This is a day many thought would never come, but it is just the beginning. There is a great deal of hard work to do between now and April 2023.

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