How quickly can Mount Davis be demolished?

Sorry, there’s no magical charm to hide this beauty

Short answer: Not this year.

I get it, A’s fans. You’re excited, I’m excited, the A’s marketing crew is excited. We’re all champing at the bit right now. Unfortunately, I’m gonna have to slow everyone’s roll. In California we don’t build things quickly. We don’t even demolish things quickly. You’re not going to see a big viral video implosion of the Coliseum, ever. Keep in mind:

  • Candlestick Park’s demolition dragged on for months to protect residents living nearby from asbestos and other pollutants.
  • Site prep for Avaya Stadium took a year longer than expected because of previously unknown underground bunkers and other items to demolish and cleanup.

The Raiders have already exercised their option on the 2017 year, so they’re in come August. Sam Boyd Stadium in Las Vegas isn’t outfitted with the updated locker rooms and security fencing that the NFL requires. Any upgrades couldn’t come until after the 2017 season ends. It’s that classic tale about the boy who leaves the girl yet needs to crash on her couch for a few months while his new fling upgrades from a studio to a junior one-bedroom apartment. You’ve seen it – Cameron Crowe or Richard Linklater?

As long as the Raiders are staying for hopefully only year, the A’s should be able to break out the wrecking ball come February 1, 2018, right?


The problem is at that point there will still be some $75 million in debt remaining on the Coliseum. The City and County haven’t figured out who or what is paying for it. Until that gets resolved, the JPA can’t so much as pelt it with rocks. Beyond that, the demolition will have its own cost which someone will have to pay out of pocket. The infrastructure funding plan offered to the Raiders and the Lott-Fortress group had the demolition of the entire stadium budgeted in. I imagine that the same offer’s on the table for the A’s should they choose to build at the Coliseum. If they don’t, demolition’s yet another cost to add onto the debt resolution. If the JPA quickly came to a deal with the A’s, demolition would probably be accommodated depending on the Raiders’ departure and the phasing of the teardown.

Once the debt issue is resolved, I would expect that demolition would happen in two parts. Initially, the peak of Mount Davis, otherwise known as the upper deck, would be lopped off. That would be the easiest aspect of the plan since only the seats and risers would be removed, along with the columns and beams holding them up. The Washington football team removed more than 10,000 seats from the upper deck, replacing many of them with the wall-like platforms used at Cleveland’s Progressive Field. Once the upper deck of Mount Davis is removed, the Oakland hills and Leona Quarry would be visible from parts of the original Coliseum, namely the original upper deck. Aesthetically that would be a huge improvement, if not a complete solution.

Outside Mount Davis

Once the easy part is dealt with, dealing with the rest of hulking structure becomes a project unto itself. The East Side Club is a four-story section that stretches the length of the stand, with two upper levels of suites facing the field and a vaulted ceiling above the club. It’s more like demolishing a gigantic concrete pier than your average tilt-up office building.

Everything at or below the plaza concourse would have to stay intact while the A’s played in the venue. The BART plaza is at this level, so unless someone wanted to completely rebuild that even though future plans have the old BART bridge replaced, it’s all staying intact. In addition, the only vehicular access to the field is via the steep centerfield tunnel underneath Mt. Davis. That can’t be touched.

East Side Club, suites on upper levels

I don’t mean to crap on your dynamite-charged fantasies, folks. As long as the A’s have to continue using the Coliseum there’s only so far you can go in terms of dismantling it. Eventually the whole thing will come down. Chances are it will be piece-by-piece. Maybe the A’s can have some of the demo team dance to YMCA for old times’ sake.

21 thoughts on “How quickly can Mount Davis be demolished?

  1. Congrats Cowboys fan.

  2. if the a’s were to build at the coliseum site how likely is it they build their new park directly on the spot of the current coliseum?

    two teams have built their new parks nearby their old parks until the newer one opened. cin did this in the early 2000s until gabp opened in 2003 and stl did the same thing when the new busch opened in 2006.

    candlestick park demolition took eight months from beginning to end in 2014.

    if the a’s decided to build the park at the coliseum spot it could very well take 3-4 years instead of the 2.5 years it usually takes to build a new baseball park from scratch. during this time the a’s may be forced to play at at&t for possibly up towards 3 seasons.

    if the a’s decide to build it somewhere else on the coliseum site then i’m not sure it matters what the city of oakland’s plans or timelines are for the future and or demolition of the current coliseum/arena.

  3. We are jumping too far ahead on the locale of the new Oakland A’s ballpark. Since the funding for a new ballpark will more than likely be coming from mostly private resources, it will be the A’s who ultimately will decide on its location. The A’s could very well decide on a waterfront or near downtown site for its new ballpark, making a discussion of the demolition process of the Coliseum rather moot.

    • Here’s why I think they’ll end up at the Coliseum– the weighted average cost of capital for U.S. companies averages around 8 percent. It’s hard to imagine that projected additional revenue from a stadium at HT or Laney as opposed to the Coliseum site would come close to covering the extra site costs if you have to discount the new revenue by 8 percent a year.

    • That’s an oversimplication. The A’s still have to think short-term (remaining time at the Coli) and long-term (new park). Those tracks have different lengths and goals depending on the long-term site. If the A’s choose the Coliseum, it’s clearly the fast track and they could decide to plow all their resources to the new park while minimizing effort at the Coli. If they choose Laney or a waterfront site instead, they may choose to spend more money on the Coli to enhance the fan experience since Opening Day at one of those sites may not be until 2023-25.

  4. SIAP – Podcast with Dave Kaval.

    General recap of the 4 sites being looked at by the A’s. Hope they can find a way to make the Laney College site work. I think it’s the best site when taking into account access and the neighborhood baseball feel.

    I like what I see with Dave Kaval. I like his energy and enthusiasm.

    • Thanks for posting the podcast. What a contrast to Wolfe. From listening to the podcast, one thing that I got was ‘don’t sleep on Brooklyn Basin.’ Whatever becomes the outcome, I do believe that Kaval’s determined to make it an ‘experience’ with nods to the A’s past. I can see the park even borrow a few cues from Shibe Park from an architectural POV…

      • @damon389 I agree on Brooklyn Basin, if any site other than the coliseum pencils out positively, bye bye 66th avenue

      • wouldn’t be the clean up cost that howard terminal has but could have bigger issues in terms of infrastructure coming in and out of the area.

  5. Just from a structural point of view, removing mount Davis will be more difficult than older stadiums. One, the concrete strength used in seismic areas and built even in the 90’s is extremely strong. Second the amount of steel used in seismic areas is enormous. There’s more steel than concrete. It would take more time and care to remove it piece by piece. I have overseen many demo jobs, and that thing will be harder than anything seen from older stadiums.

  6. I wonder how much LW is still involved behind the scenes- he is the one with development expertise and figured out how to build Avaya with a zoning change on other land in SJ. Kaval is a good marketing guy but in terms of deal structure not sure he is leading anything. I could see the A’s getting a good size chunk of the Coli land to develop in return for building elsewhere- just like Avaya in SJ.

  7. I’d be fine with the ‘lopping off the top’ and leaving it at that (although a previous poster indicated that’s not as easy as it sounds) as a short term solution, while keeping the focus and vast majority of the dollars towards a long term solution of the new ball yard. I’m OK, w/a bit more lipstick on the pig, but let’s not go overboard ‘cuz even getting it back to pre Mt. Davis days won’t fly as any more than a band-aid in 2017 and beyond.

  8. I think in true A’s fashion, the demolition of Mt. Davis should be a fireworks night with Celebration played on loop.

  9. Immediately stopped reading when you decided on saying “The Washington football team”. Grow a pair. They are the Washington Redskins and actual Native Americans have no issue with the name.

  10. rip out all the seats. pour in tons of soil. replant the iceplants

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