As rumors and nostalgia swirled around the Raiders and what might have been their last game at the Coliseum, the City of Oakland provided some news on the ballpark front as well. According to BANG’s Matt Artz, a 21-page report detailing several potential ballpark sites was sent to A’s ownership for their review. (PDF download)
City staff apparently scoured the city limits looking for sites. Some of them had already been studied in the past. Others haven’t been studied, though we have covered them here sometime in the past. The study is in an early enough stage that many property owners haven’t been contacted about land availability. It’s quite likely that many sites in the current study will drop off quickly, while others have yet to be discovered. Regardless, this is an exciting development that should hopefully lead to some productive talks.
From the quotes and the tone of the article, I expected little more than a rehash of previously dismissed sites. While that’s all there (Victory Court, Howard Terminal), the City included a total of 10 sites, including a couple of alternatives that have been mostly discussed on this blog and not much elsewhere. To me that’s a huge positive, because it shows that the City is willing to consider sites outside the normal developer/booster group focus. It’s a necessary step.
We’ll go over all of these in detail. But first I want to spend a moment discussing the USPS site in West Oakland. The 22-acre sorting facility, which you might see as one of the first things in Oakland as your BART train exits the Transbay Tube, is not going to happen. As noted in the document, the USPS site is not for sale. It might only be under consideration because of a twice-delayed initiative by the Postal Service to reduce the number of retail locations and sorting facilities like this one.
In the Bay Area there are a handful of these facilities in San Francisco, Oakland, San Jose, Richmond, and Petaluma. A list of closure candidates indicated that if any facility were to be eliminated or consolidated, it would be Petaluma. Oakland or Richmond could then benefit as it took on Petaluma’s capacity. In any case it’s highly unlikely that the Oakland facility would close down, making the site unavailable for future development.
Over the next few weeks you can expect a few hundred words on every site, including sites I’ve already written about several times. At the same time, keep in mind that unlike the Raiders’ situation, there is no deadline to providing anything to the A’s or MLB. The process is expected to work out much more slowly, which, quite frankly, is the only way to do this right.
P.S. – Bonus points for anyone who can identify a site in the list that I proposed a while back.