I am a poll… And so can you!

A’s projected development timeline for the ballpark

Since the A’s announced that the Peralta site is the preferred location of the new ballpark, there has been precious little actual news about the park. Other than talks with community groups and potential stakeholders, the only release of note is the announcement of a team of architecture firms to work on the ballpark concept. As expected, the lead for the ballpark structure will be HOK, which also worked on Avaya Stadium, the Earthquakes’ stadium in San Jose. They also worked on the “twin” venues in Columbus, Huntington Park and Nationwide Arena. The principal for the A’s ballpark, Brad Schrock, who previously worked on Coors Field and Safeco Field while part of HOK’s previous sports practice. Schrock later started 360 Architecture with George Heinlein, while the HOK sports practice eventually split off to become a separate company named Populous.

The other architecture partners may be familiar as well. That includes Norwegian firm Snøhetta, which Chronicle architecture writer John King pointed out was behind the

“ill-fated arena that the Golden State Warriors proposed for the city’s Piers 30-32, where the firm emphasized the public space aspects of the private building.”

Seems as if there is a parallel in that like Piers 30-32, there are harsh critics on the other side of the bay who are against the ballpark at Peralta full stop, though for clearly different reasons. In SF’s case the Piers were considered part of the Bay, not land, so they faced an uphill battle towards approval versus a well-heeled political gentry. The Peralta land borders Lake Merritt Channel, which will require its own special approvals, though not to the extent of anything built on the shores of the Bay proper. Snøhetta is also notable for having just finished the SFMOMA expansion, which was funded and overseen by one John Fisher, a.k.a. the A’s owner.

The rest of the team will work as follows:

“The public aspect of planning efforts will kick into full gear in early 2018. Sasaki and Studio T Square will be at the front of such efforts. The ballpark design itself will be handled by HOK in partnership with Snøhetta, which also will take part in the urban design work.”

Sasaki is expected to work on how the ballpark works within the context of Lake Merritt and the Oakland Estuary. Studio T Square, an Oakland firm, is slated to handle the relationship of the ballpark with the delicate Chinatown, Eastlake, and San Antonio neighborhoods.

On the heels of this news are a pair of polls. The Oakland Chamber released a poll in which of 500 likely voter respondents, the ballpark was supported 2-1. A week later, another poll by Oakland Rising indicated that 80% respondents prefer that the new ballpark be constructed at the site of the old Coliseum instead. How do appraise these polling efforts?

We don’t.

The polls are for the news cycle and public relations, nothing else. There’s nothing to vote on, only vague promises and threats. Most of the dealmaking will be done by the A’s and Peralta CCD, and only after Peralta decides it’s worthwhile will the project be planned and debated in earnest. And even then, there’s no promise of an actual vote, referendum, or any other plebiscite. After all, Oakland voters never voted on Brooklyn Basin (Oak-to-9th), the most transformative project to hit the city in years. If anything gets voted on at all, it will be for funding some package of to-be-determined infrastructure improvements.

Let’s see the vision take form before approving or dismissing it out of hand. A project this iconic deserves a proper, full evaluation. Oakland residents deserve it. A’s fans deserve it.

(Apologies to Stephen Colbert for ripping off the title of his 2012 children’s book.)

20 thoughts on “I am a poll… And so can you!

  1. Can I give my 2 cents on what I think might happen; I think Peralta is choice 1, and if that falls apart, the Athletics can still build at the Coliseum site. I have yet seen what the City / County plan for the site after everyone leaves. So, maybe that’s a backup if land around Lake Merritt cannot be bought.

  2. I’d love a stadium at Peralta…or the existing Coliseum site..ANYWHERE in Oakland has my 100% support.

  3. While the A’s keep their financial goals for this project secret ( that is how much adjacent development do they want/need ) we are left to deduce/speculate. We also have to speculate about Laney/Peralta want. Finally the communities on either side want not only protection from gentrification but something of value to them beyond game day business for restaurants. How their ‘design team’ can solve this is beyond me but here are my half baked ideas:

    1. Peralta sells their land to the A’s
    2. Peralta uses proceeds to build district hq on current Laney javelin/ hammer field off 5th Ave
    3. Laney sells their pkg lot to the A’s
    4. A’s build garage on 1/3 of lot. Laney can use at all non game times
    5. A’s build market rate housing/restaurants on 1/3 of lot
    6. A’s give 1/3 of lot to community affordable housing consortium
    7. Laney uses pkg lot proceeds to build new Eagle Village ( currently portables ) for underrepresented student tutoring/mentoring on 8th St
    8. A’s and city go 50/50 on ‘La Rambla’ style remake of 8th St with wide pedestrian median, benches, parking for food trucks, cargo container food/coffee booths, lighting for 365 day/night use and full closure for game days or community events

    Marine Layer, you’ve said it best: ballpark design is driven by the underlying financial /marketing needs of the team ( ‘club seat sandwich’ etc) but here whether the project even happens is driven by how they ‘market’ to two neighborhoods, two public education entities, and the city council. I have no idea wha all the stuff above costs but Dave Kaval better have his ‘design team’ figure it out quick. Right now a lot of the important community groups expect the worst and the A’s need something tangible, if only cool drawings ( of nos. 1-8, not just the park), to start things gong in the right direction.

  4. The A’s seem to be trying to drag this out a little, not that these things don’t take time but the process seems a bit long, I would be surprised if the actually got this done by 2025.

    Of course they have a lot of mountains to climb to even make it happen. I am guessing the long process is in part due to their hope (mine too honestly), that some of the negative fillings from the school, students, and others die down.

    Also, I am guessing certain critical votes will happen perhaps right after certain elections, and not before them. The timing of when you attempt things of this magnitude is critical, I am sure the A’s know that.

  5. I would *not* be surprised if the actually got this done by 2025.

    • After reading this, it seems that Perralta’s willingness to play ball with the A’s is probably the most critical hurdle to jump over in the next 12 months. I agree that the next big milestone will be the architectural plans. The whole adage that “seeing is believing” helps to build momentum and quell at least some of the paranoia that the A’s are trying to kill the college.

      As many on this site has said, they are not going to please everyone. There are detractors that will be against this project no matter what the A’s do. However, get Perralta to agree to sell (or LT lease) the land and I believe the biggest roadblock is removed. The fact that the A’s are willing to front the bill (although we’ve yet to see the final $$$ amount, which is slightly worrying) for the toxic cleanup re the site is a critical chip for the A’s. Otherwise, a severely cash-strapped college is stuck paying the entire bill.

      I look forward to the artist renditions. I expect Kaval and the A’s to pump up the wow-factor big-time.

  6. I’m still holding out hope for 980 Park.

  7. Will they have senior citizen parking at this new stadium? Because by the time it’s built, I think I’ll be old enough to qualify for it. A new stadium in 2023 at the earliest. Yay.

    • Well at least we know today what we didn’t expect to know for another year. This site has always been DOA. Given what MLB has done to the A’s they are left only with the Coli site–yes an inferior site that will always make the A’s a second class citizen but Manfred has only himself to blame by siding with the gints. The Coli is a “viable” site–just not a desirable one-

    • Yes, what does this mean? The Coliseum site? Leaving the Bay Area? Don’t the A’s still have the option on the San Jose property that Google now wants? If MLB wants to keep the team in Oakland and the A’s can’t get private financing for the Coliseum site, then MLB is going to have to help pay for it. This is a very ominous development today.

      • San Jose ultimately won with Google—while I am sure they would still like to have the A’s the site they were planning for is now spoken for. Once again–MLB can only blame itself for completely screwing one of its franchises.

  8. Maybe Lew Wolff was right after all when he said all options in Oakland were exhausted. He was hated for saying that, but even a privately financed ballpark can’t get off the ground, it seems.

    • “Maybe Lew Wolff was right after all when he said all options in Oakland were exhausted. He was hated for saying that”

      I didn’t hate him for saying it (not that you meant me specifically), but what I did hate was the fact that he did not exhaust all options in Oakland. (IMHO)

      That being said, I am so made at Oakland, couldn’t they have used imminent domain at this site?

      I believe that what the Giants did at China Basin. Is Oakland going to make up the cost for Howard Terminal, the city’s preferred site? Oakland, what are you prepared to do???

  9. For last 10 years I am telling my friends that just wait, just wait but man forget it…at this point just be like the team in major leagues and try to lose as many games as possible…A’s are becoming a caricature of what a really Pro-Team should be

  10. So what happens when revenue-sharing ends soon and the A’s are still stuck at the Coliseum, playing to 8,000 people a night at bottom-dollar prices, with no end in sight?

  11. Fisher and LW should have sued the Gnats. When the other side played dirty, Fisher should have responded in kind. I don’t know if Fisher could win in court but I seriously doubt that MLB especially Selig wanted their dirty laundry out publicly. Now it is too late. The A’s has nowhere else to go except back to the old Coli.

    Sacto probably will welcome the A’s but do they want to go North?

  12. With all realistic options appearing to be gone for an Oakland privately funded ballpark, MLB will have no choice but to allow and give its approval for the A’s to move to San Jose. If not, Oakland will not only be without any major league professional sports teams within a few years, but also the A’s will most certainly be forced to move from the Bay Area to another market. Rob Manfred and the other MLB team owners may now be put in a position to make a decision on the future of the A’s that it didn’t want to make. You have only to blame the Oakland elected politicians including Mayor Schaaf for this unfortunate predicament.

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