Quan touts regulatory-sidestepping Howard Terminal vision

UPDATE 12/16 12:00 AM – Matier and Ross finally have their column on Howard Terminal. The retention of the shipping cranes is a nice touch, even though they would be largely ornamental. Judging from the rendering, the right field fence would be 150-200 feet from the waterfront.

Howard Terminal ballpark on west end of property

What’s missing? Any explanation about how the City/Port could get around the BCDC and CEQA.


Original post:

There are some days when you feel your work is validated. This is one of those days.

Oakland Mayor Jean Quan appeared at Save Oakland Sports’ year-end event last night, talking up a plan that, according to East Bay Citizen, “allows it to skip some regulatory hurdles.” Quan repeated something we heard from the summer, that Howard Terminal was zoned for a convention center. The only citations I can find from the City’s archives mention a possibility of a convention center from the 50’s, well before CEQA and modern land use initiatives. Currently Howard Terminal is zoned for industrial and maritime uses. While a zoning change is normally a simple City Council resolution item, the fact is that the Port itself identified numerous obstacles to making that change, namely the issue of maintaining maritime use at the site.

To that end, the Port of Oakland received three proposals for ongoing Port use at Howard Terminal. Two involve local concerns: Phil Tagami’s plan to use the site temporarily for either bulk or break bulk cargo, and Schnitzer Steel’s expansion plan, which is not explicitly a maritime use. The third plan comes from Kentucky coal mining company Bowie Resources Partners, in partnership with Dutch oil shipper Trafigura. Bowie’s an interesting proposition, as they export a great deal of their coal from the Port of Stockton. According to this press release, Bowie was in talks with the Port of Richmond to create a secondary shipping facility. Howard Terminal could work in a similar manner, though the precautions associated with shipping coal are enough to give one pause. Nevertheless the Port has to consider these options, since they need to figure out a way to offset the $10 million per year the Port will lose by idling Howard Terminal. A decision on how Howard Terminal will operate in the future is expected in the spring.

Ballpark proponents seem to be willing to play the long game here, with site readiness not coming for perhaps several years. Any continued use of the site for shipping purposes would potentially delay that readiness, unless a plan was put into place that allowed a ballpark to be built on a shut-down part of the site. At 50 acres in total size, there should be ways to make this happen. Developing the entire 50 acres would be another story.

Quan said that the to-be-released plan would be able to sidestep various environmental requirements, including some from the BCDC. However, that contradicts the Port’s own language from its Howard Terminal RFP:

11. Land Use and Permitting

In addition to any environmental regulatory oversight resulting from contamination, the Site is subject to the Tidelands Trust, consistent with the grants affecting the property with oversight from the California State Lands Commission. The San Francisco Bay Area Seaport Plan of the San Francisco Bay Conservation and Development Commission (“BCDC”) designates the Site for Port Priority Use. The Site is located within the City of Oakland, and is designated as General Industrial/Transportation Uses in the City of Oakland General Plan. Any proposed change of use or any proposed construction, maintenance or new development at the Site will be subject to environmental review pursuant to the California Environmental Quality Act (“CEQA”).

The BCDC’s role has become more well known, as the fate of the Warriors’ Piers 30/32 arena plan is in the BCDC’s hands. However, note that the loudest clamoring over environmental impacts is not coming from the BCDC itself. Instead the noise is coming from opponents of the arena, who are using rules set by the BCDC and CEQA to invite greater scrutiny over the arena. While Howard Terminal lacks the picturesque quality of SF’s Embarcadero, it is still subject to BCDC regulations and should invite scrutiny on its own. The southeast corner of Howard Terminal is built on piers over water, just like Piers 30/32. Exactly what measures the City could use to get around CEQA and the BCDC are a complete mystery. I, for one, am looking forward to hearing it out.

The City had another waterfront site at one time in Victory Court. It was sold as a transit-friendly, partly publicly-owned, easy-to-acquire site that should cost less than $22 million to acquire. In keeping with that estimate, Oakland and East Bay business interests were willing to pledge up to $100 million to acquire and prep the site. At the time Mayor Quan touted Victory Court more vociferously than she is Howard Terminal now. Exploding costs ($240 million final site cost estimate) and the demise of redevelopment (downplayed as a factor as it was happening) effectively mothballed Victory Court, with no real public statement made by the City about what happened.

Whether you want to read this site as objective, slanted, or both, it’s important to get tough questions raised. That’s why I feel good about what Quan said yesterday. It’s proof that we’re doing our job well, that we’re asking the right questions, questions that need legitimate answers. Without this blog asking the tough questions, who will? East Bay media appears to be fine playing cheerleader. The City has been working behind the scenes to get site control, while not getting an EIR or even a feasibility study for Howard Terminal going.

So in the spirit of disclosure, let’s see the plan, Madam Mayor. Given her track record, the real situation is not expected to be as rosy as she often paints it. Matier and Ross supposedly got an exclusive on the plan, so we may see some real information as early as tomorrow.

99 thoughts on “Quan touts regulatory-sidestepping Howard Terminal vision

  1. Thanks ML, good work. I am not really expecting anything, but it will be nice, to see whats in the plan.

  2. This would probably only work if the City of Oakland contribute the land, MLB picks up the tab for infrastructure improvements, and Wolff/Fisher/another ownership build the park. At this point, still a total pipe dream, but nothing will surprise me anymore.

    Somewhat off-topic, but I wonder if BART would be able to build an infill station near Howard Terminal on the cheap. It could serve as an event-only stop, very much likely the Stanford Stadium Caltrain stop, which doesn’t have any station attendants or ticket machines, just some platforms on the sides of the tracks. It would be tough because the alignment at, say, Market and 5th is elevated by about 20 feet, and would almost certainly be extremely expensive. But still, just a thought…

    And on the same note, what ever happened to the Oakland Streetcar that was supposed to run from Uptown to Jack London Square via Broadway? I thought the city commissioned an EIR that was supposed to be released in late 2013. That’d be huge for the transit connectivity aspect. An Oakland park isn’t going to work without BART or some direct connection.

    • @Lev – A new inline station would cost $75 million or more depending on engineering. A stop can be run as an offline stop, but that doesn’t make it necessarily cheaper. Since all of BART is electrified and automated to an extent, they’d still need to install fare gates and other infrastructure. Stanford’s Caltrain stop makes sense because there are only 6 games a year. For night games that stop only works before games. After games people have to walk to Palo Alto. Serving the A’s 82 games a year while also creating the closest stop to an expanding and developing JLS doesn’t make an offline stop likely. JLS neighborhood groups and downtown advocates would push hard for an online stop.

  3. Apropos of the Bart infill station suggestion, there is an exception to CEQA for some kinds of transit oriented developments, per S.B. 375 (the “sustainable communities” law). If Oakland could turn Howard Terminal into some kind of “transit oriented development,” they might be able to sidestep the bill.

    Either way, the requirement to prepare an EIR (and an EIS under NEPA) is only a procedural requirement to evaluate alternatives – as long as Oakland and the A’s follow proper procedures, it won’t affect the opportunity for future development.

  4. What did Wolff and MLB say about Howard Terminal again?… (so this week HT, next week should be CC again for A’s ballpark)

  5. @Elvis,
    The A’s aren’t interested in following “proper procedures” at HT. This is ALL about the city of Oakland, and no one else (except perhaps a shipping company).

  6. Only a week ago, wasn’t Oakland proposing an A’s ballpark in Coliseum City, now this? (an impractcal, costly clone of phone company park?) – now wonder Oakland city officials haven’t found a solution for the A’s – Lew Wolff looks wiser by the day.

  7. Howard Terminal is more of a pipe dream than Colosseum City and that’s really saying something. Quan’s entirely strategy seems to be ineptly supporting proposals of highly questionable viability and it reeks of desperation.

  8. are there new sites in and around Oakland that we have not heard about? because those sites will be mentioned next as possible places for a new park. LOL !

  9. Quam reminds me of political “analyst” Dick Morris, who spent the 2012 election campaign going on Fox News telling viewers what they wanted to hear: that all the polls were wrong and Romney was going to win big.

  10. Great, let’s get BART into this game as well. As if this situation wasn’t dysfunctional enough …

  11. @SMG Yeah about as desperate as SJ vs MLB is, which is why if SJ cant come off some tax money, the A’s will probabley be gone from the Bay Area

  12. There is a study that was done to evaluate a BART station in JLS. I believe it pegged te number for uh a station at $300M in 2006. That’s not happening. The same study recommended a street car system down Broadway to JLS to improve accessibility. It’s gone nowhere and it was about 1/4 of the cost, if I recall correctly.
    I am very skeptical that anything will come of this.

  13. Well, at the very least we’ll get to see awesome renderings of a ballpark at Howard Terminal, complete with housing, retail, mixed-use, the whole nine yards. Heck, I hope they throw in a Warriors arena to boot! Like the Coliseum City renderings, nothing like some good drawings to make your day…

  14. Mayor Quan is awesome. If she were in a town like LA or NYC she would be non-stop fodder for the late night comedians…and the best part is that I am convinced that she is oblivious to her ineptitude…(I’ve heard that this is also how other Bay Area leaders see her as well)…

    @Lakeshore/Neil – I don’t believe MLB cares what SJs contribution to the deal is…I believe they only care about the “bad actor” getting paid their ransom request…because the “bad actor” has threatened nuclear war via a scorched earth lawsuit against MLB…if they get F’d….remember that would only be a breach of the MLB bylaw…no case law, no statute, no admin law, merely a bylaw within the MLB constitution….the threat of which BS fears more than SJ v MLB…because that case could go “all the way” to SCOTUS and would take…well, years…

    Cochette keeps saying that their primary focus is ATE. Another hurdle – When they re-file the now dismissed state law claims in Superior Court it will most likely be eventually heard in another county pursuant to CCP 394(a). MLB will make a motion to change venue – if SJ opposes they would probably lose – not sure how this will work if the state claims are consolidated with the existing S4SJ v. SJ suit….bottom line is the state law case won’t be at issue until mid-2014 at the earliest…and MLB/Keker has promised a Motion for Summary Judgment which will easily take that well past mid 2014….The only good news is that LW and both of the likely new Mayors for SJ (both lawyers themselves) are committed to seeing the lawsuit all the way….wherever and whenever that may be…

    @pjk – better yet – on election night when Karl Rove explaining how Romney can still win Ohio when Megan Kelley calls him out…”Karl is this just something you say to yourself…to make you feel good as a Republican”…ROFLMAO

  15. @RS,
    Curious: if SCCo became a shared territory to accommodate an A’s move to San Jose, what could the Giants possibly file a lawsuit over? Territories (geographic and television) have changed/been altered numerous times in MLB’s history. MLB’s constitution allows for these changes with 3/4 of the owners vote. Giants ownership knows this. Heck, A’s ownership and the rest of the lodge know this as well. What gives?

  16. Wouldn’t be surprised to see the Oakland business leaders release artist renderings of the Howard Terminal ballpark real soon as the campaign continues…

  17. There’s so much inaccurate reporting going on. Saw a report the other day saying the A’s favor HT over Coliseum City when in fact, they’re not interested in either.

  18. @Tony D – Remember the “bad actor” is the one who got the territory for free – no consideration – I’ve heard they have promised BS a lawsuit which would presumably go after ATE. They would claim injury by the A’s coming into their territory without their consent, etc. They clearly would have anti-trust standing, etc. They would start with filing a Temp Restraining Order against A’s moving to SCC, seeking a Permanent Injunction, the suit against MLB would primarily be for AT Violations, etc. I heard they promised a scorched earth approach and BS is convinced they are serious. I’ve heard they have circled the wagons enough…I’ve heard that BS is frightened by this…This is what is giving BS his “Mice Nuts”….

    Again, no one knows what the outcome of that type of suit would be. The bad actor would be on an island all by themselves. In essence they have already sued the A’s and MLB in their S4SJ suit. For that matter the A’s are truly the real-party-in-interest in the SJ v. MLB suit. These teams are just one step away from breaking the MLB rules anyway….

    I’ve heard BS brokered a potential deal for a sum certain, but the bridge is too far.

    I’ve heard one counter proposal was that if the A’s are allowed to move to SCC then they are willing to submit to binding arbitration which will determine the actual damages suffered by the bad actor after a number of years in SCC, let’s say five years. I’ve heard that the A’s have also offered to assume the debt on ATT (that’s been on the table since around the time the Fremont deal fell apart)….and a combo of the two as well…blah blah blah….

    Mr. Mice Nuts can’t bring the deal together…yet…but there is a number…

  19. @ML — $75 sounds way low. I remember that BART concluded a station at 30th and Mission in San Francisco would cost $500, and that would be infill too. That’s underground, but even optimistically that’s $200M. The thing is, transit funding is sporadic and can come largely from federal grants. I realize that none of this is, at this point, even remotely realistic, but in an ideal world (at least from my perspective) a ballpark at Howard Terminal with a nearby JLS BART Station would be absolutely unbelievable for Oakland.

  20. Obviously, those first two numbers should be in millions…

    • @Lev – Those were estimates I was given from BART for the “Coliseum North” infill station and the Irvington station on the Fremont/Warm Springs extension. Subway stations are an order of magnitude more costly. Not included in the estimate is additional land acquisition, which is generally required for the elevated stations.

      @Lakeshore/Neil – I think you’re missing something here. Just because MLB may not like whatever San Jose and Oakland are offering doesn’t mean that San Jose should start negotiating against itself to attract the A’s. MLB should at least provide a counteroffer. If not, San Jose’s just spinning its wheels.

  21. Rayburn’s Son Hope your right, but as I understand it MLB told the A’s no in June, because they did not want the team to take on to much debt, paying off the Giants for TR’s, land cost for the Dirdon site, and paying for the ballpark, was more then they were cool with, they did not tell the A’s no, because of TR’s, so the question is does SJ have land thats big enough, for retailmixed use like the Fremont plan did, to help cover the cost of the ballpark, or is SJ going to chip in with tax money, to offset the cost at Dirdon? if the answer is little to none, the A’s are gone. Its one thing to have the right to build in SJ, which it seems the A’s have, but the deal has to be right, a lot of people like to bring up the fact that the A’sMLB have said no to HT and CC, they dont bring up thr fact that MLB has said no to Dirdon as well, in its present form, BTW I dont here anyone bashing Lew for not pulling the site back, since MLB has said no. I know JQ macks it easy, to talk about her, but she and Lew are both working with sites MLB may have said no to, HT, CC, and Dirdon, it looks like the only problem with Dirdon is what SJ is willing to put in, so SJ vs MLB or not, SJ may have to come of tax money, if not A’s are gone, so I stand by my statment

  22. @Lakeshore/Neil – If it were Boots Del Biaggio or Bruce McNall maybe, but not for Fisher…and it’s not about SJ….

  23. @RS it is about SJ, if they need to come up with tax money and dont, at that point we all take a big fat L

  24. @ML I guss your right, but MLB may not offer eather city, anything.

  25. @ML The point was brought up, that SJ would not put tax money, behind the Dirdon site (in the past thried), I was simply saying rather its at this time or latter on, SJ may need to come up with, some sort of tax, if its that site they stick with, and if they do not, give on the tax side its a good chance they (A’s), may leave the Bay Area, and that this point was beyond SJ vs MLB, because when MLB turned down the A’s in June, it had more to do with the turms of the deal, then the right to build in SJ.

  26. @pjk

    I liked Romney and I watch Fox news. Dick Morris just made a mistake. Haven’t you ever made a mistake before?

  27. @Ivan That was one hell of a mistake. (-:

  28. Can’t argue that there is more to be done here. Though I think it’s rich that ML says, “show us the plans”, while Lew has stated for several years that they did so much research that led to them finding that Oakland as a whole is not feasible, but has NEVER EVER EVER ONCE shown or explained said “research”. The only answer they give is that “it would take hours to go through everything”. In several years, you think he could have carved out a few hours to actually show what he did. The entire process of this is exhausting: considering that Selig/MLB blocked local Oakland ownership, in order to give the deal to Lew, who is BASED in SJ and has stated for years (even prior to gaining ownership) that he wanted to move the A’s to SJ). Instead of wasting years looking to move the team, it would have been nice had he actually met with Oakland officials to work on what it would actually take to get something down in Oakland. Apparently saying “it’s not going to work” and withdrawing from interaction is sufficient. Though it’s pretty funny that Selig knew all along this is where things would end up, and he isn’t allowing the SJ move to happen. Actually, it’s sad, but it’s kind of funny too.

    • @asch – Actually I have seen the case. For Oakland, it’s pretty poor. Wolff tried to do this with Jorge Leon and guess what, the guy wouldn’t listen. That’s too bad, there could’ve been a real dialogue. Can’t make the willfully blind see the light. As for not allowing the A’s to move, it’s very simple. The payoff’s the issue. That has always been the issue, it will always be the issue. Everything else, including city politics, is a sideshow.

  29. re: it would have been nice had he actually met with Oakland officials to work on what it would actually take to get something down in Oakland.

    …Mark Davis has been doing exactly this with the Raiders. So where’s the Raiders stadium deal? There isn’t one – probably because public funding is needed and Oakland can’t offer it. Should Wolff meet with Oakland and get skewered by the press for pointing out that taxpayer dollars that Oakland doesn’t have would be needed to make the ballpark work in Oakland?

  30. Re asch,
    Meanwhile, back on planet Earth…

  31. Asch, you do realize that it’s now been 9 years since Wolff took over the team. In that time, no one has come up with anything contradicting what he’s said about Oakland. A number of ideas have been thrown out. Nearly all have been abandoned because of the cost. If you don’t think we’d love to see Wolff’s plans, you’d be wrong. His Oakland North plan was heavily criticized for being unfeasible. And like it, Fremont never got off the ground. Since then, Wolff hasn’t had a plan to ask for, but he has offered to show several individuals his notes and has had some people see them. The only one truly being vocal about saying he’s wrong still haven’t proven him wrong despite a very serious effort to do so.

  32. I think pjk might be undercover Lew everything stated is the same every time about not feasible, where’s the money I want to see it now. It won’t work they have done study’s, Lew has tried, but no substance/facts accompaning it. Like it’s been said before none of us matter if and when a deal will be made the public will know when they want to, everything is done in private. u don’t need details forget about everything from past mayors and start from this one. She has brought in many investors for various projects that are being done. And it takes time for deals like this, everyone acts like u can flip a switch and it’s done. U keep preaching tax payer money no this no that oak won’t do it, that’s what the investors are for. If sj was smart they should bring in some people to front the city money to cover the tax payers. U want to see money yesterday but it don’t work like that.

  33. @asch: the smug gnats fans, pro-giants media spin doctors and anti-San Jose A’s fans who keep maintaining that “the A’s move to San Jose is not going to happen” may be in for an unpleasant surprise.

  34. Yes, the A’s move to San Jose may not happen. But as we’ve said on this board for years: San Jose losing doesn’t mean Oakland winning. MLB just a few weeks ago showed its “commitment” to Oakland by threatening to move the team to ATT Park. What makes anyone think MLB won’t take the team and move it to the best market available that offers a taxpayer-funded stadium? A golden, once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to land an MLB team probably awaits San Antonio, Portland, Sacto, Charlotte, NC; etc very soon. Let the bidding begin.

  35. “The payoffs the issue.” And there it is; the truth on why this thing is taking so long. It’s not about MLB keeping the A’s out of San Jose, it’s not about the Giants not wanting to give up the T-Rights, etc. You know, knowing this actually makes me feel a lot better about this situation. San Jose is there for the A’s taking; just need to financially satisfy MLB/Giants and perhaps have SJ “help” them out a bit. It’s gonna happen. In the meantime, entertainment provided by JQ and Co. Go Raiders!

  36. @karim… It’s being done in private- kinda like VC was- and the amazing thing is no one- media or pro- Oakland crowd ever demanded an answer as to what happened. Quan has no problem lying to the press- she knows that they never will question her. Finally, anyone who still claims that LW lied he never tried after 4+ years of a BRC coming to the same conclusion. CC was dismissed by baseball a long time ago- it was a non-starter site; HT has been dismissed by MLB according to LW just several days ago. We’re all waiting with baited breath for JQ big announcement as to how she can avoid regulatory requirements (that she is using to block the W’s new arena in SF) to make HT feasible. Why the delay in starting the EIR- use the money you approved for VC and make it happen if it truly is feasible-

  37. It’s sad to think that Oakland blew the only realistic potential opportunity to get a new ballpark built for the A’s, and that time period was during the administration of Mayor Jerry Brown. He had the political clout, contacts with the private sector, and the stature to get things done. Unfortunately, Jerry Brown’s administration did little to raise the stature of Oakland, and instead his mayoralty was mainly used as a stepping stone to become Governor of California, again. Sometimes you only get one opportunity to accomplish something, and then that opportunity goes away. I think that seems to be the case with Oakland, as it relates to keeping the A’s. I sure hope that San Jose does not make the same mistake.

  38. Jorge Leon made a brilliant move by not looking at that information. Can you imagine if he would have? This entire Wolff lied never tried mantra would have been over the minute he read anything. It’s hard to be mad at things that are true.
    Instead of holding anyone’s feet to the fire in their own camp, why not continue to villify the carpetbagger lied tried Lewser Lewie Wolf Wolfe Wulf? Even the reaction to Oakland only folk to the VC non-EIR that was promised to the good people of Oakland by their mayor was not as much, “You just started and you’re already lying to us?,” it was more like “Build there anyway Lew!”
    So, so fascinating.

  39. @Rayburn’sSon–I agree after San Jose refiles the surviving parts of its case, mlb could seek to change venue to another county if they wanted to do so. I’m not sure what they’d gain beyond slight delay, given the small size of the remaining claims. Maybe San Jose judges would hometown mlb in discovery disputes, but I doubt it. And under current budget constraints and courtroom workloads, I’m pretty sure that no other county superior court would be happy about receiving such a xmas present from mlb.

    Anyone who wants a good laugh at the unnecessarily convoluted language of the law should google up the statute RsS cited–California Code of Civil Procedure section 394.

  40. Hmmm, was looking at Matier and Ross to see if they had comments on Howard a Terminal, they didn’t. They did note however that Oakland City Administrator Deanna Santana is a finalist for the job in Dallas, TX. Interesting

    • UPDATE 12/16 12:00 AM – Matier and Ross finally have their column on Howard Terminal. The retention of the shipping cranes is a nice touch, even though they would be largely ornamental. Judging from the rendering, the right field fence would be 150-200 feet from the waterfront.
      What’s missing? Any explanation about how the City/Port could get around the BCDC and CEQA.

  41. @Lakeshore – San Jose spent some $150 million renovating the convention center and is looking to start discussions with SAP (holder of the labeling rights to SAP Center) to remodel the SAP Center for about another $150 million project that will most likely include a mix of tax incentives, fee breaks, tax write-offs, etc. with a mix of some corporate contributions. If getting the A’s to San Jose is a matter of finding the right mix of tax incentives, I’m sure our city representatives would have made clear their support to make the deal work. I believe the negotiations are stalled because the gap in compensating the Giants is too large for Wolff and party to make it all economically feasible. Other projects issues, like more seating, is also a factor but can easily be changed at a later date, I assume.

  42. @Steven Thats good news.

  43. Awesome! An AT&T clone at JLS! Really though, very nice renderings. Throw in all the usual bull shit from JQ and Knauss and we have what promises to be a very good “side show.” So $500 million for ballpark, $200 million for site prep, and perhaps $100 million for surrounding infrastructure improvements (I’ll leave out the $ for hypothetically buying the A’s); there must be a platinum mine somewhere in Oakland that we don’t know about. To bad M&R didn’t ask Oakland backers the tough questions re cost and how to pay for this. Nevertheless, again great drawings..

  44. Wait a minute; what about the Raiders and CC?

  45. How to pay for it? The same as always – get rich owners to do it. Return on investment? Not a concern. Are we really up to $800 million for an HT ballpark? Yikes.

  46. BTW, where’s the “plan?” We got cool drawings and a lot of political hot air, but nothing close to resembling a “plan.” Should we be surprised?

  47. @Tonty D.
    Your right the drawings where cool.

  48. @pjk
    RE: How to pay for it? The same as always – get rich owners to do it. Return on investment? Not a concern. Are we really up to $800 million for an HT ballpark? Yikes.
    $800 million, I would hate to state the obvious, that Wolff said he does not want to build at that location, but before you can convince him it’s a good idea (if it is), can we actually find out if we can BUILD ON IT, damn we don’t even know that, so if Wolff wanted to build on it, and Oakland magically had 800 million dollars, we still would not be sure it could get done.

  49. They are some beautiful images. But right now that’s all they are… images. Also I’m shocked, SHOCKED, that M&R didn’t do Quan’s job for her and find ways to bypass CEQA and BCDC (probably because there really isn’t any way to do so). Just more of the same hot air out of Oakland, and apparently it’s getting more expensive the longer they blow hot air. HT was already cost prohibitive at $700 million, and now it’s $800 mil. Which brings any “white knight” buyer’s cost up to north of $1.3 billion (probably more given what MLB teams have been going for of late, particularly in large markets).

    It was an interesting idea, but the cost alone has already killed HT before it got off the ground. Compare that with the Uptown plan that would have already cost a high, but far more reasonable $385 million back in 2001. Or San Jose today which would only cost the team $500 million. And that’s why HT won’t happen, if the finances of Diridon were shaky in MLB’s collective mind at $500 million, what will HT look like to them at $800+ million? Even if Oakland were to pull out Cobb County levels of cash to help offset some of that $800 million it would still leave the A’s holding a half a billion dollar bill for that imaginary ballpark with even less guarantee of private revenues than San Jose can provide. MLB is probably having a good laugh over the HT “plan.”

  50. Has it yet been determined that if the A’s were to get a new ballpark built within Oakland, would they then still be able to maintain their small market status? In that way, the A’s would still be able to continue on as revenue sharing recipients. I don’t believe that any A’s ownership, current or future, would spend a dime on a new ballpark, without the assurances of maintaining their small market status.

  51. IIpec, as the CBA is written now ANY new bay area ballpark promotes the A’s to large market status. Only the Coliseum is keeping them in the “small market” category.

  52. IIpec/Dan
    If there was anything ever build in Oakland (as unlikely as that may be), I am sure CBA would reflect the A’s as a small market team, it would have to, they can’t be defend as large market, when the Giants have them restricted to two Alameda/ Contra Costa counties out of nine.

  53. Lakeshore, the A’s market as it exists today includes the entire bay area, same goes for the Giants. The “territorial rights” ONLY control where their physical location can be. A new park in Oakland as the CBA was specifically written would upgrade the A’s to large market status the same as San Jose would. As it should quite frankly. The Bay Area IS a large market, even divided in half figuratively.

  54. @Dan, Thanks! One can’t cut up a pie unequally, yet still charge the same price. It won’t work.

  55. Practicality issues of the site aside, isn’t the ballpark facing the wrong way? Don’t we want it facing East to minimize winds like at AT&T?

  56. I don’t even care about the cost (which isn’t really spelled out in this puff piece of pseudo journalism), this a terrible idea. Copying AT&T Park within site of AT&T Park is just bad business.

  57. Lev, they’re facing it the only way you’re going to get any kind of waterfront view (looks to be S/SE). Their whole premise is to copy AT&T Park as much as possible.

  58. I guess Phase 3 @ CC is dead hah ? LOL

    stunning design though and very romantic too. Hit balls into the bay !!!!

  59. The Bay Area population is usually pegged at about 7M; Chicage metro area at about 9M. But a lot of fans from the central valley, especially from Sacto and Stockton, and from Santa Cruz County (and I suppose Monterey County) are ardent Giants or A’s fans. The Giants and A’s, in fact, have 1/2 of central Calif. and all of N. Calif. watching them. (The dodgers, well, the dodgers we have with us always, like the yankees.) Meanwhile the franchises in Chicago (and New York) have sizable competing markets much closer. (For Chicago, Milwakee’s next door; Minn., Detroit, Cinn., even St. L and Cleveland, aren’t far away. Given the importance of tv revenue now, the Bay Area should be able to support high payroll AL and NL teams.

  60. daniel, I was saying this last week. Coliseum City is dependent on the A’s being at that site, yet Quan is simultaneously undermining her own Coliseum City plan with an even more ambitious and infeasible plan at Howard Terminal (a plan MLB and Wolff have already told her doesn’t work financially). This is just a slightly more advanced verison of the same thing Oakland has been doing for over 10 years now. Drawing lines on a map and saying, “it can be built here!”

    This one just came with two pretty pictures. Which frankly is the only good thing about this latest HT push. We get yet another rendering of an A’s ballpark that we’ll never get to see in reality to go along with the renderings of Uptown, Coliseum North, Pacific Commons and Diridon that we’ve all be looking at longingly for years to take our minds off the fact that in reality the only thing we get to look at besides the A’s on field is Oakland’s folly Mount Davis.

  61. Pingback: A waterfront site for the A’s in Oakland? Eh, not so fast. | HardballTalk

  62. FWIW, if HT exists as a viable site and there actually are people ready to spend money to build there, this is great news for all of us. But since the day I got the bad news that Santa Claus wasn’t real, Ive been skeptical of things that appear to be fantasy, like Bigfoot, Martians in New Mexico and Howard Terminal ballpark plans.

  63. it wasn’t martians in New Mexico. It was the Ferengi.

  64. Feasible this feasible that, right now SJ is not feasible, But instead of looking at maybe this can happen with the right plan and thinking its nothing will work in Oakland, even from the people who say I just want to have a new ballpark for the A’s no matter where it is. every one screaming on here about it still doesn’t show me how its paid for or show us the potential buyers again we don’t matter this stuff will never be revealed until it needs be so you will never know. In regards to the Maritime non maritime use, like i mentioned before no need to worry about it being used for maritime use, you all act like this just came out the blue. Quan and co along with the city, have been doing there part to make this happen, look at the things happening as getting the land on both sites, along with a few months ago Quan appointing new Port commissioners to the port of Oakland that’s why Fred Blackwell in the meeting and Quan now said it was just a technicality to get site control because they are making the moves to make things happen. one poster said Desely Brooks didn’t like it and was against projects, I said don’t worry about her and the city has made moves to calm her as, she has already been replaced on the JPA and they have made moves on the city’s part to silence her. We all know that this issue is money and it is SJ vs Oakland, reason why MLB didn’t flat out kill SJ was because it’s city money vs city money, it keeps the pressure on Oakland to not think there safe and can delay again like prior years. MLB does’t like changing territory as it sets president for future moves. So MLB has delayed decision for this last shot from Oakland to satisfy MLB desire for state of the art downtown Park, and some tax payers money, and if Oakland can’t seal the deal a new proposal will come from the A’s for SJ and it will most likely be approved.

  65. @Dan
    That will be negotiable , if the A’s remain in Oakland, as a matter of fact it will be negotiable if they remain in their current territory, everything (most ), is negotiable, it like the Pro/Only Oakland folks saying the A’s will never build in San Jose, because the SF Giants say the cant.

  66. @Karim:

    Ms Quan just demolished CC for HT within a week. You know whats next right? She will demolish HT for VC. You know what next after that right? She will demolish VC for CC and the beat goes on

  67. Why is it so hard for any of the media to ask appropriate questions–such as what changed at HT to reduce the costs down from the earlier study that pegged it as the most expensive option–way back in 2000. What is the expected cost to Oakland in terms of site clean up, infrastructure improvements, contribution to ballpark construction to make this a viable option for the A’s. If LW says that MLB says the site is not feasible than why does JQ claim they have been working closely with MLB on this site. I think that JQ should submit to an interview from ML and Jeffrey–they seem to be the only ones willing to ask the tough questions–

  68. I’ve been a San Jose backer and am pretty skeptical of any Oakland plan, but this is a stunning site — really, nicer than AT&T and the Shipping Channel that was magically transformed into McCovey Cove. With what’s happening real estate around here and surrounding retail, commercial and residential, the increase in surrounding real estate values could make this pencil out if the A’s ownership, present or future, could get a big enough piece of it.

  69. @ Dan @ daniel Coliseum city is more so dependent of the Raiders like its been said they can scale it down a lot to make it cheaper, as I believe that’s the case and they will adjust accordingly. I for one believe if the Warriors stay they will be downtown as well, as Quan has hinted and in previous interview Lacob and co have study HT in Depth as well. The city is providing multiple sites to debunk Lew’s no available sites fight. If you really thought Phase 3 was for real in 2018 or whenever that was. Like they said its all adjustable. MLB/A’s preferred downtown sites so there’s one ready to go, that’s why CC main tenet focus is the Riders as well.

  70. @Karim
    I am not vary optimistic, I wish things were going better for Oakland , it may ever happen in Oakland, but for some people bad news for San Jose, somehow turn into good news, and good news for Oakland (when its actually good news), will somehow turn in to bad news. A lot of people will never think it could happen in Oakland, in tell it does (if it does), People love to bring up just how ridicules some of the Pro/Only Oakland folks are, but I find many of them are almost as ridicules as that group.

  71. @Karim:

    multiple sites for what ? unless you can raise big time money, no new park will ever get built. Some schmucks from Mars and Jupiter can point a piece of land and say yeah build there.

  72. @daniel if you review all prior interviews etc with Quan, Knauss etc they have been saying this for at least the last year and a half just because a lot of people overlook/disregard what she has said do to her incompetence at points in her tenure as mayor but they have been touting having multiple sites for MLB and the A’s and again if you you watched the meeting Fred Blackwell said both sites and in today’s release said both sites so Idk where your logic is coming from because this has been said many times in almost every interview with these people. it’s not going back and forth its proving to MLB Lew’s claims are invalid that’s why the city is spending it’s time and money on both.

  73. Mayor Quan is doing what any good politician will do. Be seen, offer the most expensive project to the public, (with personal kickbacks of course) and be willing to blame the other party if the project fails to materialize.

  74. @daniel and that is why a lot of people are missing the pints and facts of this issue, Mars and Jupiter but that’s the thinking a lot when Oakland comes up in conv’s but why is a 1.5 billion dollar development getting fast tracked in Oakland….. because its the fastest growing real estate market out there, the money is flowing in. How much does it cost to build this unfeasible stadium… 700, 800, 900, a billion we don’t know with clean up cost etc, but I can guarantee you its been accounted for and plans that will be shown/presented to MLB and the A’s when need be. Lew wants high rise condos and a hotel there you go make your money back plus more and just like with CC the infrastructure and cleanup will be taken care of by the city, as the investors for CC project have been mentioned as well to be willing to get in on HT along with CC.

  75. @Lakeshore/Neil, You are exactly right!

    @Dan, Your argument just illustrates that the sole purpose of setting up two unequal territories within the same business market is to restrict where your competitors can set up shop. By so doing, one individual company can maintain a competitive advantage over its competitors. It has been unquestionably proven that the specific location of a ballpark plays a huge role to its operational viability. For example, comparing the Giants’ two ballpark venues within the City of San Francisco; one at Candlestick Point, and the other later at China Basin. One City, two venues with two distinctively different business results. In general, as long as a particular business entity is in compliance with an area’s zoning laws, they should be allowed to set up shop at a location that they deem to be the best for their operational success. In addition, none of its competitors should have the power or authority to intrude as to where they can set up shop, too. When it comes to MLB’s ATE advantage, they should be extremely careful not to step over the line. However, MLB’s foolish attempt to maintain the Giants’ competitive advantage over the A’s within their shared Bay Area market may be just that one step over the line that could finally put an end to MLB’s ATE.

  76. @Karim–can you cite evidence of Oakland as “being the fastest growing real estate market out there”–recent articles have indicated that SJ/SF are doing very well while the east bay is struggling–statements like that are just another example of media bites intended to be sensational without any facts to support them–

  77. @Go’A’s also your reference was commercial real estate. I’m stating right now they are fast tracking project such as Brooklyn Basin because of the surge, a lot of people are moving in to Oakland from around the bay area, and U.S creating this boom, there simply is real high demand for condos, housing etc in Oakland that is why starting such projects are getting started and finished at rapid pace. And if either project CC or HT come to realization Lew can dab in on this boom and it will work for his Ballpark Village view he has.

  78. @Karim–maybe an article on the fastest growing county or city to support your claim would be refreshing. One exists and I can tell you its not Oakland but some county/city south of it.

  79. @GoA’s I just provided you information by a repeatable website if you wanna debate who’s one or two or top 10, it doesn’t matter I’m simply showing that Oakland is taking off at a one of the fastest pace in America and due to the demand real estate is high, so that debunks yours and others Oakland has no money, there like Detroit gonna go bankrupt, etc etc Oakland’s poor all of that. SJ has been growing for many years there’s no denying that but first, second, or 3rd place doesn’t matter the whole bay area is taking off. You guys wanna know wheres the money and fake investors. Well here is one below that many people said was pie in the sky pipe dream as well. So before you start bashing and discounting the city and it’s people lets look at whats happening to the whole bay area. SJ is no better than Oakland and Oakland is no Better than SJ. Both have crimes both have issues, yes SJ has Silicon valley but also a huge homeless problem. Were all hear for the A’s getting a park, and right now Oakland is a step ahead while SJ lawsuit stalls in court, political ploy or however you wanna say it, we will know soon about the future of our A’s


    • @Karim – There can be no assessment on whether Oakland or San Jose are ahead. Anyone who thinks there is one is ignoring much evidence to the contrary.

  80. Pingback: Oakland Pushing For Waterfront Ballpark Site For A’s - Golden Gate Sports - A Bay Area Sports Site - 49ers, Raiders, Giants, A's, Sharks, Warriors, Stanford, Cal

  81. @ML agreed, we know nothing is given with MLB. But evidence that has been given and what we have seen with delay after delay on MLB side like we all agree on now is who’s the first to give public funding which SJ said they wouldn’t and Oakland has said they would but for the most part have kept everything private. Yes in the past I can agree Oak POL’s have been a lot of BS and sidestepping etc delaying but everyone seems to give no weight to the various information that we do know. Responds is Pie in the sky not feasible, yes some is for Quan to get reelected but I will stand 4 more years of her if it gets a ballpark built. She has suck at a leader in regards to Occupy, etc for huge projects so why not base are opinion of some facts. she has brought a lot of money to the city that no previous mayor in recent history has done. She appealed to MLB that she will not give up keeping the A’s in Oakland and MLB wanted to see sites and feasibility so she pledged they will provide multiple sites for the A’s so it is feasible. We don’t know all the info but going on facts and all the maneuvering by Quan getting the right people in the right government positions, we do have know both HT and CC is more than just trying to get Quan reelected

    • @Karim – Oh what it would be like to again be as impressionable and naive as you appear to be. Quan is going to be in a race for her life, and she’s propping up her record on vapor. Brooklyn Basin won’t break ground until next year at the earliest, so for now it’s vapor. Coliseum City and Howard Terminal? Extreme vapor. Of course this is all about running for re-election. That’s the simplest and most rational way to look at it.

      As for public funding, you really think Oakland will do that? Without a vote? How would that pass given the continuing Mt. Davis debacle and the possibility that Howard Terminal and Coliseum City would have to compete for resources? Think about it.

  82. To Karim, “think about it.” That’ll be the day…

  83. @ML I know there is a part of this so she can tout for reelection but my reasoning is why would she even have approached MLB and Bud when she got in office she wasn’t using that as her platform to bet the man who promised Lew that he wouldn’t challenge the A’s move if he won. I definitely know that she is ramping up the PR move for her reelection but just saying there’s more substance to the actual project than just blowing smoke that a lot of people like to say on here. I do think they will use taxes for infrastructure, just like they tried to sneak in the 40 mil for coliseum Bart. so a vote will be made but not directly tied to building a ballpark or stadium for the teams. And for other funds I think the city will use tax funds, and brought in the investors to front the rest for them, as they will exchange land to build there project how they want and not just purchasing AEG and already taking on a already built project like L.A Live was in there failed bid for the company.

  84. @Tony D I actually do think about it and have resources that do know a little bit more than all of us on here in regards to the issue. I never said its gonna happen but its a more realistic chance than you guys tend to give, the think about it should come from the SJ side thinking that a lawsuit is gonna benefit them. I want the A’s in the bay no matter what but I don’t think the lawsuit will be solved anytime soon and think MLB will make a decision well before the courts do. what we do know is MLB doesn’t want to touch TR so if Oak is serious about this seeing it through it will work but also need teams on board for it to work, I know that the city knows that and have been working years, acquiring land and making moves, and spending millions to position themselves to this day, and to say its all to get Quan reelected??? come on now that’s all I’m saying

  85. Really neat sketch of a HT ballpark, BTW. Similar to a sketch I once saw of a proposed new ballpark for the Montreal Expos. That never got built, either.

  86. An expensive copy of phonebooth park? – this is blasphamy for A’s fans! Quan also loses credibility by disclosing the HT site plan a week after going public with the CC A’s ballpark. Meanwhile the SJ Cisco Field plan was mapped out four years ago. This fan once believed that Wolff possibly was not bargaining in good faith with Oakland city officials because he prefers that the A’s move to SJ, not any more – Wolff is appearing wiser by the day.

  87. Am I looking at this right? During a day game, the batter is going to be facing south right? I know Oakland wants splash hits too but day games are gonna be rough … While I could find nothing in the baseball rules saying no to this, one of the sub paragraphs of rule 1.04 says this sort of configuration is undesirable. Maybe they can insist on nothing but night games …

  88. Pingback: Bay Area Sports Guy – New A’s ballpark on the Oakland Waterfront? Yes, please!

  89. Have the A’s move to sacramento! Their AAA affiliate the(Rivercats) play at Raley Field which was designed to be expanded to a major league park. It is next to the downtown area on the river. Bay area fans would drive to the valley for a game as easily as the valley fans drive to the Bay. Plus I think more fans from the foothills and eastern side of valley would come due to it being so much closer. The biggest advantage is lower costs, ex: building, labor, operating, property, taxes…… I guarantee daily attendance would be higher. Can I get a show of hands on this idea? I have been touting this for about seven(7) years now.

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