MLB offers A’s approval to discover shifting to a different market

The A’s will begin scouring other markets for potential relocations on instructions from Major League Baseball while they continue to watch the construction of a new waterfront ballpark in downtown Oakland, the team said Tuesday.

A new stadium has long been a priority for the A’s who proposed a 35,000-seat baseball stadium at the downtown Howard Terminal site and accompanying mixed-use development, a $ 12 billion project.

The opening of the relocation facility could add urgency as the A’s have asked Oakland City Council to vote on the proposal by July.

“The future success of the A depends on a new ballpark,” A owner John Fisher said in a statement Tuesday. “Oakland is a great baseball city and we will continue to pursue our waterfront ballpark project. We will also be following MLB’s direction to explore other markets. “

The A play in the outdated Coliseum, their home since 1968, and in recent years the NFL Raiders and NBA Warriors have left Oakland to move to Las Vegas and San Francisco, respectively. The proposed Howard Terminal ballpark, which is expected to cost more than $ 1 billion and will be funded by private funding and project-related revenues, is the team’s most advanced move in building a new home in Oakland.

In addition to the baseball stadium, the proposed project includes 3,000 residential units, 1.5 million square meters of office space and 270,000 square meters of retail space. According to A’s proposal, the project is expected to generate $ 955 million for the Oakland City General Fund and $ 450 million for social benefits. It is also proposed to use $ 855 million in tax revenue from the site to fund infrastructure costs.

Major League Baseball said in a statement Tuesday it was “concerned about the progress of the A-ballpark’s new efforts with local officials and other stakeholders in Oakland.”

“The A’s have worked very hard over the past four years to build a new ballpark in downtown Oakland. They invested significant resources while facing multiple roadblocks,” the MLB statement said. “We know they continue to be very committed to success in Oakland. With two other sports franchises recently leaving the community, their commitment to Oakland is more important than ever.

“The Oakland Coliseum location is not a viable option for baseball’s vision of the future. We’ve directed athletics to explore other markets while they continue to operate a waterfront ballpark in Oakland. Athletics needs a new baseball field to stay competitive. So it is now in our best interests to consider other markets as well. “

Justin Berton, a spokesman for Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf, said in a statement: “We share the urgency of MLB and their continued preference for Oakland.

Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf (right) answers questions while A President Dave Kaval looks on during a press conference at A’s corporate headquarters in Oakland, California. Wednesday, November 28, 2018, announces early plans for the construction of a new ballpark at the Howard Terminal.

Jessica Christian / The Chronicle

“Today’s statement makes it clear that the only viable way to get the A’s roots in Oakland is to have a waterfront ballpark. … Now, with the recent start of the financial discussions with the A’s, we are calling on our entire community – including regional and local partners – to band together and support a new, financially viable, world-class, fiscally responsible neighborhood that will improve our city and city Region and keeps the A’s in Oakland where they belong. “

As recently as last year, the A’s may have wanted to open the Howard Terminal baseball stadium in 2023. However, A’s president Dave Kaval said in an interview Tuesday that due to delays, “the earliest event could likely be 2027”.

The lease of the A in the Coliseum ends after the 2024 season, but could probably be extended. Kaval said MLB’s direction on Tuesday was “a confirmation that time is running out, that we really need clarity about our future and the location of our home.

“We have a great vision for a downtown baseball stadium at the Howard Terminal,” said Kaval. “But for the same reason, progress in this area has not been rapid enough and we are concerned, as is the state-of-the-art league.”

Kaval has asked Oakland City Council to vote on the project before the summer break. Council chairman Nikki Fortunato Bas said in a statement Tuesday that the council “has a duty to keep the A’s in Oakland”.

“I met Dave Kaval on April 30th and told him that the leadership of the council … is ready to meet with A to discuss the project,” Bas said. “You did not reply and I tried to repeat our offer today. We are also waiting for additional information from the A’s about the project so that the city staff can plan the term sheet for the city council. “

Opponents of the project raised concerns about the impact on transportation and the environment, saying it would affect the shipping business in the Port of Oakland. The East Oakland Stadium Alliance, which opposes the project, has asked the A’s to explore the building at the Coliseum site.

“If they were to focus on rebuilding the Colosseum, which is already approved for a new stadium village, there would be no threats to force the city to give away public funds to support a luxury development complex in the region’s industrial job center,” said the group in a statement.

A’s ideas for a ballpark near Laney College in Oakland or a move to Fremont or San Jose failed. According to ESPN, Las Vegas, the current home of the A’s Triple A daughter, would be the “most likely option” for the A if they moved. Commissioner Rob Manfred previously listed Las Vegas, along with Montreal, as a candidate city for a possible MLB expansion. Portland, Ore .; Charlotte, NC; Nashville and Vancouver, British Columbia.

Kaval said it was “a real (MLBs) decision as to which locations we would look at.” … But this process will begin immediately. “

Tuesday’s news came with the A’s in Boston to start a series against the Red Sox. On the field, the A’s have had a successful run in the last few seasons and reached the playoffs for three consecutive years. Bay Area-born manager Bob Melvin said Tuesday afternoon the news “certainly doesn’t preclude the A’s from building an Oakland stadium and the team is” focused on playing. “

“The A’s have long been an important organization in Oakland,” said Melvin. “I think that’s still the hope. … We continue to play in Oakland. Until something really changes, it’s the same for me and the same feeling that I’ve always played there. “

Matt Kawahara covers the A’s for The San Francisco Chronicle. Email: Twitter: @matthewkawahara

Related Articles

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Back to top button