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 podcast: NL opponents always set for Dodgers; Astros hold onto first, everyone out for them too; plus more

Photo credit: @ChicagoSports

On Amaury’s News and Commentary podcast:

#1 Amaury, in the power rankings, everybody in the National League seems ready to chase the Dodgers as the team to beat every time they face the Dodgers.

#2 The Houston Astros the first place team in the AL West and have been giving their AL opponents some fits this season. Although they hit a rough patch, losing three of their last 10 games, they’ve been proving that opponents are going after them.

#3 The Milwaukee Brewers, who almost took out the Los Angeles Dodgers in the postseason last year, are another team who’s contending. They are just two games out of first place in the NL Central only trailing the Chicago Cubs. The Brewers are stocked with offense, including slugger Christian Yelich.

#4 Not too far in the distant future, the Tampa Bay Rays will be splitting their home games at Parc Olympic in Montreal. How much of a serious indication that their days in Tampa Bay are numbered?

#5 The Oakland City council are putting the Oakland A’s through the new stadium question test. Their main questions are paying for the new Howard Terminal location, and besides running a gondola from 12th Street BART to Howard Terminal, the council is looking for more answers to getting fans to the new stadium by other public transportation means.

Amaury Pi-Gonzalez is the Oakland A’s Spanish play by play announcer heard on 1010 KIQI San Francisco and does News and Commentary podcasts each Tuesday at http://www.sportsradioservice.com

Oakland A’s podcast with Jerry Feitelberg: A’s close out road trip, taking 2 out of 3 from Rays; Oakland City Council questioning new A’s ballpark

photo from newsday.com: Oakland Athletics’ Ramon Laureano connects for a grand slam off Tampa Bay Rays pitcher Colin Poche during the eighth inning of a baseball game Wednesday, June 12, 2019, in St. Petersburg, Fla.

On the A’s on podcast with Jerry F:

#1 The Oakland A’s Ramon Laureano’s grand slam was certainly a huge part of the A’s 6-2 win on Wednesday against the Tampa Bay Rays.

#2 The A’s had a decent road trip, finishing two games over .500 at 6-4, a nine-game swing that took them to Anaheim, Arlington, and Tampa Bay.

#3 The A’s Matt Olson is swinging the bats he clouted his 11th home run of the season with a home run off Rays pitcher Yonny Chirinos.

#4 Tampa has a potent line up being first in their division and very difficult to get a win at Tropicana Field and the Rays being tied with the New York Yankees in the American League East for first place the A’s came away from Tampa with two wins out of the three game series.

#5 The A’s still have a lot of work in front of them as they open up a ten game homestand starting Friday night against the Seattle Mariners. The Mariners will start Marco Gonzalez (6-6, 4.77 ERA) and for Oakland Chris Bassitt (3-2, 3.57 ERA).

#6 With the Oakland City Council not ready to vote on moving forward with approving the plans at Howard Terminal for the A’s new ball park.

#7 Oakland City Councilman Dan Kalb didn’t beat around the bush he made it clear that Council members want a full understanding about how finances for infrastructure and one of their biggest issues is on public transportation while the gondola from 12th Street BART to Jack London Square is a start Kalb is asking the A’s for a more comprehensive plan for public transit for the public to get to and from the ball park.

#8 In answer to the Council’s concerns on these issues, Oakland A’s media relations manager Catherine Aker said the team is working on an infrastructure plan. The A’s are expected to ask the city for $200 million for infrastructure plans.

#9 This was the same amount the Oakland Raiders asked for in order to build a new stadium, but the Raiders never got a deal with the city. Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf said public tax dollars will not be used for the project but a special tax around the new ball park a district tax will help pay for the infrastructure plans, including taxes coming from the 3,000 housing units and a 400-room hotel.

Listen for Jerry’s podcasts each Thursday on Oakland A’s baseball at http://www.sportsradioservice.com