With all this talk of lease extensions, I decided to go back into the original 1995 lease the A’s had at the Coliseum (for my own edification). The document, which was signed by Wally Haas as he was selling the team, goes over two specific scenarios: what happens for the A’s if the Raiders return, and what happens for the A’s if the Raiders don’t return. That latter part will be covered soon. For now, take a look at the language that eventually resulted in what we now know as Mount Davis, the 10,000-seat, 90-skybox grandstand in the outfield. The language is copied verbatim, typos and all.
B. CENTER FIELD GRANDSTAND STRUCTURE PERFORMANCE SPECIFICATION
Constructed in the 1960s, the Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum has its origins in the symmetrical, reinforced concrete modernist style engineering structure that was prevalent throughout this period. Of these parks, Oakland is singularly the best baseball park. This is a great place to see a game with the fan close to the action and comfortable in spite of the facility’s size. Seating surrounds the field, is intimate and humanly scaled. Circulation reinforces one’s location and orientation to the field at all areas nd levels.
The proposed centerfield grandstand structure must reinforce this environment. It cannot be a monolith looming over the outfield fence. Other than the playing field, it will be the natural focus of the stadium. Therefore, the structure’s size, shape and mass must provide a positive contribution to the stadium’s overall design.
Mitigation of the structure’s mass, vacant stadium seating and vacant luxury boxes must be part of the overall design concept. The upper level seating shall be covered in the baseball configuration, this level and potentially elements of the vertical elevation shall incorporate team graphics, back-lighted advertizing signage and regional artwork to break up and reduce the structure’s scale. These elements shall become an integral part of the structure’s overall appearance. However, mitigation cannot rely on coverings and signage alone.
The structure shall relate to the existing stadium’s size and proportion, not exceeding it in overall height. This structure shall incorporate league scale design elements: a diverse, articulated, angular building profile with strong shadow lines, which diminish the overall mass of the structure. It shall present an appropriate character of scale, proportion, facade detail and material to compliment the park. The structure shall also incorporate small scale design elements to enhance the seating, circulation and the overall pedestrian environment through texture, materials, color and detail.
Scoreboard and video boards shall be placed on the structure for optimal baseball viewing. These will include:
• A scoreboard/message board fully populated scoreboard, zone mapped and broke out as required for both video and text display.
• A separate video board.
• A manually operated out-of-town scoreboard.
This must be an appropriate statement of entry, creating a welcome statement with a sense of place, even though it is not the main entry to the stadium. The BART bridge shall terminate at a formal gate and lead to a roomy concourse(s). The plus 33 concourse should connect flush with the rest of the stadium at that level or by ramp. The plus 6 level must be continuous around the entire stadium. The BART entry shall present a pedestrian scaled environment low height lighting, attractive street furniture with integrated signage, attractive fencing to screen from view the slew/industrial beyond and mitigation of the overhanging upper deck structure. These pedestrian areas shall be part of a cohesive circulation system that leads the visitor to all services, facilities and concessions stands.
Program elements shall be considered which influence the massing and appearance of the building. The outfield fence shall maintain its general configuration, 8 feet high padded, 300 down the lines, 375 at the power alleys and 400 at deep centerfield. An asymmetrical angular fence is encouraged. The 5000 “bleacher” seats shall be as close to the field as possible. These seats must have unobstructed sight lines of the field consistent with the existing seating areas. This seating shall be continuous behind the fence, interrupted only by the batter’s eye. The batter’s eye shall match the existing 40 feet high x 96 feet wide; height to be confirmed. Best efforts will be made so that the first row of seating shall be no more than four feet above the top of the fence, possibly separated from the fence with landscaping.
Two years after the structure was completed, Steve Schott and Ken Hofmann sued the Coliseum JPA over lost revenue related to the Mt. Davis addition and the compromising of the Coliseum as a baseball venue. The parties eventually settled, resulting in the sweetheart lease the A’s currently have.