That’s Amaury’s News and Commentary: A’s Port of Oakland buildings, railroad and gondola

No word yet on the Oakland A’s Howard Terminal ball park but baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred is losing patience (artists rendition of Oakland A’s Howard Terminal ballpark image from Piedmont Exedra)

A’s- Port Of Oakland, Buildings, Railroad and Gondola.

That’s Amaury News and Commentary

Amaury Pi-González

Recently commissioner of Major League Baseball Rob Manfred said he is not optimistic about a new deal to keep the team in A’s in Oakland. He made the remarks to the Sports Business Journal and confirmed relocation is on the table for the A’s but not only to Las Vegas but as well to other locations in other cities.

Manfred said that Tampa Bay Rays and the Oakland A’s need new ballparks, but reiterated (as he has done in the past) that Oakland is the team right now that concerns him the most. Manfred said (quote) “Frankly, in some ways we’re not sure we see a path to success, in terms of getting something built in Oakland.”

The commissioner is following the situation in Oakland and could be worried about the points listed below, that seems to be on the table between both parties.

Below deals with some of these topics.

-Port of Oakland. How can the ballpark affect the Port of Oakland operations? Concerns that the port needs to expand to accommodate large cargo ships. That this would be more difficult with a baseball stadium at Howard Terminal. Port of Oakland workers have demonstrated in front of the A’s team owner John Fisher in San Francisco as they are against the proposal to build the new stadium at Howard Terminal. Workers say that will displace blue collar jobs.

-Buildings. The Athletics plan calls for Howard Terminal to build one (1) residential tower as high as 600 feet and another at 400 feet tall. These buildings would compete with designs such as the Ordway building, which is 400 feet tall and the tallest building in downtown Oakland. Ordway building is also known as #1 Kaiser Plaza.

-Railroad. The DRC (Oakland Design Review Committee) wants a safe way for the visitors to the park to avoid the railroad tracks altogether. The DRC is concerned with the safety of people to get to the park across the railroad crossings. AMTRAK trains travels right in front of Jack London Square. Note. Union Pacific controls the rails.

-Gondola. In 2019 the Oakland A’s proposed the idea of a gondola to take fans from BART to Howard Terminal. However, this idea was not in the plans and reviewed by the committee. The proposal was to move fans from downtown Oakland to a stadium at Howard Terminal. The fans would be “ferried” via an elevated gondola similar to what you might see at a ski resort to the stadium. Looks like the gondola is a No Go.

Above are some of the key points to be discussed by the Alameda Board of Supervisors this October 26. As of today the official agenda for the meeting still pending and has not been announced to the public.

It seems that Commissioner Rob Manfred, who has put a clock in baseball to ‘speed up’ the game, has also put the A’s on the clock when it comes to the new Howard Terminal ballpark.

Amaury Pi Gonzalez is the lead Spanish play by play announcer for the Oakland A’s on flagship station 1010 KIQI Le Grande San Francisco and does News and Commentary at http://www.sportsradioservice.com

That’s Amaury’s News and Commentary: A’s Future Uncertain as 2021 Season coming to an End

Oakland A’s team president David Kaval says he was startled when he learned that the Alameda County Council would not vote on tax revenue for the A’s infrastructure and Kaval said it appears to be a no go (file photo Mercury News)

A’s Future Uncertain as 2021 Season coming to an End

That’s Amaury News and Commentary

That’s Amaury Pi-González

The 2021 season is soon coming to an end. The hopes of the Athletics advancing into the playoffs are still depending on the last 30 games or so, when it all will be decided. But the future of the A’s in Oakland might not be decided in the next 30 days. That seems more unclear.

The latest: Alameda County said it is not ready to deliver a vote this month of September. Without their vote (County of Alameda) and their share of taxes revenue, the Oakland city officials have said that not enough money would be generated from the city’s share alone in order to cover the infrastructure costs. The County wants the City of Oakland and the A’s to agree before.

The vote is now delayed or maybe it will never take place. Dave Kaval, President of the Oakland A’s who has now been involved in this endeavor for years said: “We have been speaking to the County of Alameda and we are trying to do our part” “At the end of the day it’s a binary decision. They will be involved or not” and added as he received the letter. “I was startled to receive that and it appears it’s a no go”.

Kaval continues to say that the Athletics organization is working in two different plans, the one to keep the A’s in Oakland and continuing researching a location for the team in Las Vegas. Back in April (when the baseball season was just starting) the A’s asked the city to create two infrastructure financing districts. Both together include pedestrian bridges, traffic upgrades for fans to make it to the ballpark. As well as a village for 3,000 homes, hotels, offices, performing arts space for parks.

From these plans the Oakland A’s were counting on getting reimbursed $844 million over 45 years in bond money for all the infrastructure they would pay upfront. Libby Schaff, the Mayor of Oakland, recently said (for? times) she believes the team will stay in Oakland.

So…around and around it goes, where does it stops nobody knows.

Historical note: Back in the 1930’s, when radio was king, a young 22-year old actor by the name of Orson Wells was the star in The Shadow, an iconic radio show where Well’s was a Super Crime-fighter. A very famous and quotable line from the show: “Who knows what evil lurks in the heart of men. Only the Shadow knows…”

That’s Amaury News and Commentary: WWII took Six Years, A’s and City of Oakland since 2001

Artist’s rendering of an Oakland A’s Howard Terminal ballpark at Jack London Square in Oakland, the A’s say they will listen to Oakland Mayor Schaff and the City of Oakland and try and work with them on their offer for a new ballpark at Howard Terminal (image from Curbed SF)

WWII took Six years, A’s and City of Oakland since 2001

That’s Amaury News and Commentary

By Amaury Pi-González

OAKLAND–On Friday, Libby Schaaf Mayor of Oakland, said the City of Oakland agreed to resume talks about the proposed new Howard Terminal ballpark with the Oakland A’s if the A’s agree to its conditions as a starting point. The A’s declined to make a comment. Refreshing our collective memories, this effort to build a new park did not began just a couple of years ago.

In 2001 NHK Sports Inc had three (3) sites in Oakland proposed for the new A’s ballpark. Uptown Oakland neighborhood, the Oakland Coliseum, the Howard Terminal, plus one outside of Oakland (20 miles south) in Fremont, which quickly struck-out.

Negotiations/Talks have been going on since 2001 to the present. That is 20 years of talking between all parties in the saga to keep the A’s in Oakland. In 2001 Jerry Brown was the Mayor of Oakland, later Ron Dellums followed by Jean Quan and since 2015 to date by Libby Schaaf. The Second World War began in 1939 and ended in 1945, about six years.

Since the latest vote on July 20 by the City of Oakland, both sides have “rested” from renegotiating the construction of the 34,000 seat Howard Terminal ballpark. Since then Mr. David Kaval, President of the Athletics has visited Las Vegas multiple times, looking for sites in the desert.

There are still a lot of issues to be resolved. Will the A’s provide hundreds of affordable homes as required by Oakland city law, plus millions of dollars out of their own pockets, which will benefit the community? There is no guarantee.

In April the Oakland Athletics non-binding financial sheet, asked the city to create two tax assessment district, one financing improvements like streets, sidewalks and cleanup of the soil to prepare for the construction on the 55-acre Howard Terminal side, plus a village of 3,000 homes, offices, hotels, performing arts center, parks and open spaces. Alameda County is needed to help cover cost of the infrastructure. The A’s believe about $860 million would be generated from property tax growth by the project.

However, The City of Oakland promised to seek state and federal funds to pay the A’s the $352 million they need for all the off-site improvements.

That offer came as a surprise to Mr.Kaval and the A’s and the team would need to review it before deciding to continue with negotiations. The City of Oakland will be able to renew and consider voting on the request by September. Will this be enough to strike a deal?

The current lease with the Oakland Coliseum expires in 2024. I consider myself a positive man, but after 20 years it presents a tremendous challenge to A’s fans and obviously the Commissioner of Baseball who already ran out of patience and gave permission to the Athletics to look elsewhere.

Amaury Pi Gonzalez is the lead play by play announcer for the Oakland A’s Spanish radio flagship station 1010 KIQI LeGrande San Francisco and does News and Commentary at http://www.sportsradioservice.com

Dealbreaker on Howard Terminal ballpark: A’s looked for two infrastructure projects Oakland Council gave them only one

Oakland A’s owner John Fisher and team president David Kaval behind the Oakland A’s dugout in undated photo have turned down the Oakland City Council’s offer after they voted yes on Tue Jul 20, 2021 (file photo from Athletics Nation)

By Jeremiah Salmonson

The Oakland City Council held a special meeting Tuesday to discuss the A’s Howard Terminal Development Proposal. The meeting took place at 9 AM local time over zoom.

Tensions were high heading into the meeting on Tuesday. The climate over the development project has been hot since Major Lague Baseball and the Oakland A’s essentially delivered an ultimatum to the city. The ultimatum was essentially, “approve our Howard Terminal ballpark plans or we are leaving town.”

MLB has stated they do not beleive the current site to be viable for the future of the MLB product. This obviously leaves the A’s with little choice but to pursue a more updated model of a downtown ballpark with other amenities.

On Tuesday after the community input section of the meeting, Councilmember Fife asked A’s President Dave Kaval a very direct question to the tune of, “If the current city proposal isn’t in consideration from the A’s what are we doing here?”

The response from Kaval drew mixed responses after the meeting. The A’s appeared very set that the council either vote on the A’s proposal or the A’s were not interested in hearing what they had to say. The council did not do so. Instead, after hours of community input and conversation with the council they decided to vote on the term sheet the city had released on the prior Friday.

One key difference between the two are the number of IFD’s (Infrastructure Financing Districts). The A’s want two in order to pay for the project while the city of Oakland only wants one. The city did appear to make the concesison of adding a BID (Business Improvement District).

However, the A’s did not appear to want to play ball at all with the city on this issue. One concession the city did seem to make is that the A’s would not have to pay for off-site infrastructure. It appears the city is willing to reimburse the A’s through taxes of these costs or at a minimum subsidise them.

The Council voted in a 6-1-1 decision to approve the preliminary term sheet the city put together. All members voted in favor excpet Councilmember Carroll Fife abstained and Councilmember Noel Gallo voted against the project. However, it will prove mute if the A’s refuse to return to the negotiating table on the approved term sheet and not the one the A’s put fourth.

The meeting did not end on an overly optimistic tone as it appears the A’s will not return to the negotiating table. Only the next few days if the A’s are headed out of town or if they are willing to try and get a deal done with the city that involves some compromise.

That’s Amaury’s News and Commentary: Oakland City Council Approves Own Term Sheet- Kaval travels to Las Vegas Wednesday

Artist’s rendering of the proposed Howard Terminal ballpark at Jack London Square in Oakland. Oakland City Council submitted a term sheet on Tue Jul 20, 2020 which the Oakland A’s and team president David Kaval rejected (image from lvsportsbiz.com)

Oakland City Council Approves Own Term Sheet -Kaval Travels to Las Vegas Wednesday

That’s Amaury News and Commentary

By Amaury Pi Gonzalez

OAKLAND–In the saga of the Oakland Athletics and the City of Oakland, regarding the construction of a new ballpark at the Howard Terminal, the more things change, the more they stay the same. Like I wrote last week on this so called “decisive” vote by the Oakland City Council, it was to be expected.

The City of Oakland voted “Yes” on their term sheet to keep the A’s in Oakland. Two days ago, Dave Kaval, President of the Oakland A’s said that the vote was “the bottom of the nine innings with two outs.” Within the hour after today’s vote, the Oakland A’s said they are not OK with today’s City Council final vote on what could be the conclusion of the game for the staying or leaving of the legendary franchise.

The Mercury News reported “City officials and the Oakland A’s did some last-minute negotiating Monday to keep the team’s waterfront ballpark plan on track, but neither side appeared ready to budge on the financial blueprint to set it into play.”

Some $500 million seems to be the issue. The City of Oakland would like the A’s to commit to infrastructure and affordable housing and other community endeavors, but A’s management doesn’t seem very enthusiastic about the idea as they already have said they (the team) will build the Howard Terminal ballpark.

Dave Kaval, President of the Oakland Athletics who said prior to today’s vote that both sides remained far apart, also announced that regarding of the vote, he will be traveling again to Las Vegas tomorrow (Wednesday) to continue the process on the possible relocation of the team to that city.

The Oakland A’s lease with the Oakland Coliseum runs out in 2024. The City of Oakland lost the Warriors to San Francisco and the Raiders to Las Vegas, now the Athletics are “on the clock”. Will they leave? Your guess is as good as mine. But if we hold both sides accountable to their words, this vote was not satisfactory to the Athletics, a lay person will say, that’s it, end of story, next case.

Amaury Pi Gonzalez is the lead play by play talent for Oakland A’s Spanish flagship station 1010 KIQI LeGrande San Francisco and does News and Commentary at http://www.sportsradioservice.com

A’s environmental report for Jack London Square ballpark released: City of Oakland goal park to be a destination

Oakland A’s team president David Kaval stands by the glass door at the Oakland Coliseum. Kaval  hopes if everything works out the construction of the A’s new park at Howard Terminal at Jack London Square should break ground by 2023 (file photo from the San Francisco Chronicle)

By Jerry Feitelberg and Joe Hawkes (SRS staff writers)

OAKLAND–The City of Oakland released an environmental impact report on Friday that proposes a new state of the art stadium for the Oakland A’s on the waterfront site at Howard Terminal. The new park would included 35,000 seats, 3,000 units of residential condos, housing, apartments, office working space consisting of 1.5 million feet and retail business space of 270,000 feet.

The A’s who have offices at Jack London Square will move the rest of their operations from their offices at the Oakland Coliseum to Jack London Square when the park is ready. The city said that they had envisioned big plans and ideas for the waterfront site and to convert it into a neighborhood for living, shopping, entertainment, and the A’s new park.

This is the A’s second attempt to get a park built in downtown Oakland their first attempt was at the Laney College location located at Lake Merritt but that was shot down after the college’s faculty staff objected to the A’s building a stadium at the site and it would disrupt business and traffic.

The A’s are now seeking the Howard Terminal site this time they have the city behind them on this project not to mention the 2018 legislation bill AB734 which the legislature passed which requires all complaints against the construction of the new park be filed under 270 days.

If the A’s can not move to Howard Terminal it had been suggested that the A’s could stay at the Oakland Coliseum location but the A’s and Major League Baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred are all in for moving to Howard Terminal and that the Coliseum location for a new park is not an option.

Kaval said that he was pleased about getting the environmental impact report out and looked at it as a step forward towards getting started on the new Howard Terminal ballpark “We are really excited to get our draft out there, and to advance the project forward so it can be voted on by the City Council this year, which is really our key goal.”

Opponents to the new park have stated that traffic, parking, poor transit access are some of the issues that dockworkers and maritime residents have said they are concerned about. The port is concerned about conducting their business while their are ball games taking place, traffic from retail, restaurants, and housing residents.

Stadium opponents spokesman Mike Jacob vice president of the Pacific Merchant Shipping Association said “that Oakland’s working waterfront is no place for a stadium, office and luxury condominium complex at this location.”

Jerry Feitelberg is an Oakland A’s beat reporter and Joe Hawkes is a news contributor at http://www.sportsradioservice.com

 

 

That’s Amaury’s News and Commentary Q &A: Mid-season Chat with the Athletics President

photo from TK Sports and sportsblogs.com: Oakland A’s president David Kaval is Amaury Pi Gonzalez’ guest for this week’s That’s Amaury’s News and Commentary

Mid-season Chat with the Athletics President

That’s Amaury News and Commentary

Amaury Pi-González

OAKLAND–The All-Star Game has come and gone. The American League continues to show its superiority over the National League. It doesn’t matter if the games counts or are only exhibitions, the American League keeps winning, extending their winning streak to seven-in-a-row. Talking about winning, the Oakland Athletics are on a roll again, with almost the same record as they had last season at this time of the year when they took-off with a sensational second half, advancing to the postseason.

There is nobody more enthusiastic about the A’s success that Mr. Dave Kaval, their President, and why not. There is great news all overcoming from this organization as we entered the second half of this season. I had basically two questions in mind for Mr. Kaval.

APG: How do you feel about the 1st half of the season for the A’s?

DK: “How can you not love this team?! Fiers’ lights-out no-hitter; Ramon Laureano’s laser arm in centerfield; Josh Phegley’s emergence at the plate and the amazing defense of Matt Chapman and Matt Olson at the corners. They’re an exciting”

APG. What is the latest on the proposal for the stadium at Howard Terminal?

DK: “We’ve had a very busy few months working on our plans for a waterfront ballpark at Jack London Square. In May, the Board of Port Commissioners voted 7-0 to approve a term sheet between the Port of Oakland and the Oakland Athletics”

A big test for the club is coming, as they embark on a road trip that takes the young A’s to Minnesota and Houston, two first-place teams. The Minnesota Twins are one of the great surprises this season as they have owned the Central Division (once dominated by the Cleveland Indians) during the first half of the season. They will play a four-game series at Minnesota 18th to the 21st, the next day they are in Texas, against the Houston Astros for a three-game series.

While a lot of discussions is focused on the Wild Card already, the A’s have a total of 11 games left against Houston, seven at Houston and four at Oakland. Not to overlook Minnesota, but Houston is getting healthier and they are a formidable team when they have Springer, Altuve, Bregman, and Company, plus a very good pitching staff headed by All-Star Justin Verlander. It should be fun, because the A’S are not afraid of anybody these days, and they also had their share of injuries.

We thank Dave Kaval, as we share his enthusiasm, with the largest minority in the Bay Area, that of Latinos (around 2 million people) many more during the next Census and, many who have been supporting the Athletics for many years, are also excited about the possibility of a new ballpark.

Amaury Pi-González is a pioneer in establishing Spanish baseball radio play by play in the Bay Area that dates back to 1970s.The Spanish broadcast for 72 games are heard on KIQI 1010A/990AM with studios in San Francisco, serving also the Sacramento/Stockton market.