Peralta Chancellor cozies up to A’s ballpark proposal

When I went to the fireworks game two Saturdays ago, I noticed that one of the concessions stands in the upper deck was operated by one of those charity groups that probably provided free labor in exchange for a cut of the proceeds. Seems like everyone does it these days. So a light went off when I saw Tuesday ‘s Chronicle article about how the Jowel Laguerre, Chancellor of the Peralta Community College District (Laney, Merritt, etc.) has become a great supporter of the project to displace his own office with a future A’s ballpark.

Peralta ballpark site

Scribe Kimberly Veklerov honed in on the opportunity in front of Laguerre:

Some of Laguerre’s ideas: culinary students could intern with stadium concessions, multimedia students with the scoreboard graphics team, police academy students with ballpark security, and design students with the merchandise team.

Assuming the A’s play ball with Peralta as part of an extensive community benefits agreement, it could be a win-win scenario for both parties. Local college has a way to directly funnel students into high-profile employer next door, and team finds a nice source for cheap, vetted labor. Of course, there are limits to how extensively this could go, since you need to have experience in many positions – even food service – but there aren’t too many downsides except for existing Coliseum employees whose positions could be converted into internships.

Except for part of the Haas ownership era, the A’s nearly 50 years in Oakland have been run on a shoestring budget on and off the field. Former 49ers employee Chris Giles will become the A’s new COO, another step towards the eventual ballpark site choice and construction. More sales and marketing hires are to follow as Dave Kaval’s team attempts to sell the hell out of the A’s and the stadium.

That aside, there is some momentum with the Peralta site. There’s a champion in Laguerre, and the land deal aspect is simpler than Howard Terminal. Sure, the DDA will still be a thousand pages long, and there will be lots of students and Chinatown & Lake Merritt citizens who will vociferously protest whatever the deal it is. For more on that, check out Shawn Roberts’ Medium post on the focus group session he attended. (I originally planned to comment on the post, but I chose not to focus on a single set of observations.) Rest assured, the eventual choice will not come quietly.

The other sites have been in stasis since the baseball season started. Maybe there are super-secret talks that have resolved Howard Terminal’s myriad infrastructure issues or the Coliseum’s debt albatross. Maybe they still have a ways to go. I’m not so sure that an August announcement from the A’s is in order. Some of the media are sticking with that. Personally, I’ll be pleasantly surprised if they A’s unveil their choice in a few weeks. For me a few months feels more realistic.


P.S. – Check out Mark Purdy and Andy Dolich checking out the three sites from last week.

33 thoughts on “Peralta Chancellor cozies up to A’s ballpark proposal

  1. The Purdy article pointed out that the Howard Terminal site, among other things, has weather similar to Candlestick. A deal breaker right there. And it also said the Laney site would almost certainly invite litigation. The Coliseum is the easiest path and even that would be 5 years away.

    • Let’s be honest, Mark Purdy has been dead wrong about just about everything A’s stadium related for years.

      • The bit about the Candlestick weather was Purdy referring to a Chronicle article. And the other HT obstacles mentioned – the big railroad obstructions, surrounding heavy industry land uses, lack of BART access, were already well-known. (Not to mention the contamination). So what happens when the A’s announce the Laney site and a citizen group sprouts up to fight it? The Coliseum site remains the clearest path to a new ballpark.

      • Nobody disagrees that the Coliseum is the easiest path… Mark Purdy’s timelines? Those are pure conjecture. How the weather in a ballpark that has yet to be designed will impact the theoretical ballpark? Pure bullshit. AT&T Park has similar weather… it was repositioned on the site in the design phase to account for that… it’s been a massive failure, hasn’t it?

      • He has been wrong… and that “guru” guy Andy Doltich has been as well about the Raiders. He was so sure the Raiders were not leaving Oakland. And we’re supposed to listen to these guys??
        Why would Doltich want the A’s to be successful downtown? Remember, he’s the “guru” from the A’s “glamour era.” When the A’s eclipse that success, nobody will remember the Doltich. And for that scribe from the Merc, he pushed for San Jose forever and ever. They are both washed up fossils.

  2. I liked the Laney site before it was cool, although I thought it would mean replacing the athletic fields and building as close to the lake as possible. Definitely a fan of the potential views at a Laney ballpark.

    • I always thought the Henry J Kaiser site could’ve been the best. They could take that old building, rotate it around to face the street, and put the entrance up against the street and incorporate the entire building into the new stadium. They’d have to close off Lake Merrit blvd to make room and go right up to the shore line but its doable. Why not? They don’t use that building for anything anymore and it could get new life.

  3. I friggin’ love the deafening silence from all the folks who have hung their hat on Andy Dolich’s opinion of where the A’s should play for years… Huh? What you know? Andy Dolich 100% agrees with Lew Wolff on Howard Terminal… funny that.

  4. Kaval is stalling because he wants to build at Laney College but the massive number of moving parts is killing him. So he cannot make any kind of announcement.

    He needs to grease the skids way more. The issue with the Coliseum is the A’s have publicly said they do not want to build there. They said this to the Raiders as well.

    To turn around and build at the Coliseum after telling the Raiders/Oakland “kick rocks” on the location is a potential PR nightmare. Especially with the Raiders on the way out of town.

    Oakland could have kept both teams if the A’s were willing to stay at the Coli site in the first place. Makes them look super bad.

    The A’s right now are losing whatever fans they have left by the day. Billy Beane is trading away guys like Donaldson and Gray when the team has full control of their rights for multiple years still.

    In reality, they are going to stall this out for another 2 years until the Raiders are about to leave. Then announce they are staying at the Coliseum site. By then the Raiders might suck and the backlash will not be so bad with them leaving.

    I am surprised by the amount of positive reviews about Kaval over Wolff on this ballpark thing. Kaval built a tiny soccer stadium in Silicon Valley with Wolff helping him.

    Wolff is a master real estate developer, what makes anyone think Kaval is any better?

    A’s are at least 6-7 years from a new ballpark. perhaps more.

    • Weird. I’m still an A’s fan. All of my friends that were A’s fans two years ago? Still A’s fans.

      What makes us think Kaval can do better? He is working closely with the City and has no other option. Circumstances are as important as the people pushing decisions. MLB already shot down anywhere but Oakland and San Jose helped by filing a dumb lawsuit. There is no market in the US of A that is even comparable to half of the Bay Area.

      Kaval has already flipped the HDIC at Peralta from “no” to “yes.” That is a huge piece that was missing with Wolff. Community building.

      It’s a different environment right now, the A’s aren’t taking fan support for an entitlement. The A’s are doing this way better, from creating the Championship Plaza food truck area to upgrading the West Side Club… real positive developments are happening with the current in game atmosphere that portend a real vision for what could and should come next.

      The A’s and Raiders would never have made it work at the Coliseum together. The Raiders, specifically, wouldn’t have made it work for financial reasons and said as much in both words and deed.

      • Thankfully SJ filed a lawsuit- it cleared the path for Google and a 20,000 person campus- otherwise SJ would still be waiting for Oakland to fail- which is still a very real possibikity

      • GoA’s, totally agree that a corporate complex that brings 20,000 people 365 days a year is a much better investment for a city than a ballpark that will bring 35,000 for 81 days.

        But if San Jose really wanted a baseball team to ever play in their city limits, it was a dumb move.

      • San Jose had nothing left to lose by suing MLB. It was getting nowhere with MLB after trying for several years. Unfortunately, the Supreme Court opted to let MLB’s ridiculous anti-trust exemption stand. The only other thing the city could have done was offer to pay 100% for the ballpark, which was never going to happen.

      • The lawsuit was worth a shot. Certainly it did not hurt San Jose’s chances at all. If MLB felt its interests were best served by being in San Jose, they would be in San Jose, lawsuit be damned. Anyone who thinks MLB stayed out of San Jose out of vindictiveness or because their feelings were hurt over a lawsuit doesn’t understand how big business works.

      • @ Bartleby.

        I think you have a good point, I don’t think MLB stayed out of San Jose just to help the Giants, although that was clearly a big part of it. The fact that the Giants will never (probably), bild there effetavaly makes it a neutral area, the A’s have as much right to the population in the south bay as the Giants do, or petty much the same even with the Giants having the TR’s.

        It’s up to the A’s to get off their ass, and market to the entire bay just like the Giants do.

      • They didn’t originally stay out of San Jose for those reason… but they will never be in San Jose now.

      • “They didn’t originally stay out of San Jose for those reason… but they will never be in San Jose now.”

        It appears they probably never will be in San Jose now, but for reasons that have absolutely nothing to do with the lawsuit. MLB is not sitting there thinking, “Well, we might have been convinced San Jose was the best option, but since San Jose sued us we’re not ever going to consider it solely out of spite.” That’s just not how it works. Business entities sue each other then kiss and make up when it’s in their best interest all the time.

        If anything, I think if there was any chance MLB might have voluntarily allowed the A’s to go to San Jose the lawsuit would have expedited it. Doing so would have avoided litigation costs, avoided the risk of losing or weakening the antitrust exemption, and provided some political cover with the Giants. (“Sorry guys, we’re sympathetic to your cause, but we just can’t risk losing the ATE over this”).

        If you think differently, please walk me through logically exactly how and why the lawsuit would have had anything to do with the fact MLB has moved on from San Jose.

      • The long game… A’s move out of the Bay Area, MLB expands in 10 years. San Jose is a candidate. All they gave up was the long game, which is really all they had left.

        Believe me, I don’t need an education from you how business works.

      • “The long game… A’s move out of the Bay Area, MLB expands in 10 years. San Jose is a candidate. All they gave up was the long game, which is really all they had left.”

        You still have not provided a coherent argument why the filing of the lawsuit hurt either San Jose’s chances of getting the A’s in the short to medium term or expansion or relocation team in the long term.

      • Have a good day.

  5. With the impending moves of both the Raiders and Warriors out of Oakland, one would think that the A’s would now have strong leverage on the city to get their own Oakland ballpark built on the site of their choice. Well, it’s beginning to not appear to be looking that way. I would tend to think that to most objective observers, the proposed Laney site by Lake Merritt would be far and away the best of the proposed Oakland sites for a long-term successful ballpark operation. However, it’s beginning to appear that the strongest objections to the Laney site are coming from NYMBY’s, and not from more serious factors such as excessive building costs, environmental, and surrounding infrastructural problems. This leads me to believe that most of the objections to the Laney site are politically motivated, which includes among other things the fact that a successful A’s ballpark operation would be a threat to the Giants, even in Oakland.

  6. Kaval has been stating publicly, repeatedly and throughout the year, that they will announce a site and timeline for the new A’s ballpark, by the end of the year.

    This has painted him, Fisher, and the entire A’s organization, into a corner. Unless, of course, they already have something rock solid that can and will happen.

    This rock solid thing is the Coliseum site. I’m guessing they’ve had something drawn up, including ancillary development, for years.

    But Kaval has also stated he, and the A’s, want a neighborhood, downtown (ish) feeling for the new facility. That’s why HT and Laney are in play. They get the “neighborhood” right off the bat (JLS for HT, Lake Merritt for Laney) with these sites. With the Coli site, they’ll have to build the neighborhood.

    And, HT probably has too many costs and hurdles.

    Therefore, just reading what has gone on for quite a while publicly with Kaval and the A’s, they are merely trying to make things work with Laney (Peralta), and working out the details.

    And if they just can’t make it work for Laney/Peralta, the Coli plan is good to go.

    My best guess for an announcement is end of season. If they wait too long after, it could garner bad publicity.

    • I agree, and believe that the NIMBY arguments around Laney College are overblown. Looks like Kaval’s doing his work to get the College on board, which would be the biggest obstacle.

      Expect Laney to be announced in September…

  7. Shawn “A’s fan since the ’70’s” Roberts lost me when he said Jack Cust played in the late 90’s.

    • I laughed out loud at that part, too. He also disparaged Matt Stairs… no real A’s fan would disparage Matt Stairs, while no real baseball fan would call the man with the MLB record for most pinch hit HR’s a “dud.”

      The rest was at least informative.

    • I wonder if the A’s could start building in the coliseum even before the Raiders leave, how much could they complain anyways.

    • The multipurpose stadiums built in the 60s and 70s were round, mostly, which led to a lot of foul territory. The Coliseum is the last of these dinosaurs still standing.

  8. I’m glad the City of San Jose is done focusing on a MLB team, hopefully, they can make Googleville happen! San Jose is not a town with idiots just wanting a single A team like the SJ Giants, screw the Giants administration for forcing us to travel 40-miles north to catch MLB action. Oakland isn’t a baseball city yet, it might need another 45-years and 4-more world championships to become a baseball city. I hope the Oakland A’s someday become the team of the Bay Area, but it’s going to take a lot because the greedy Giants management will do whatever to suffocate them!

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