Mayor Schaaf to approve ENA’s for A’s on both Coliseum and Howard Terminal sites

During a joint announcement with Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf today, Dave Kaval made this rather pointed statement about how he envisions the future home of the A’s:

Having just a destination ballpark with a sea of parking — that’s not a suitable sports complex for the 21st Century for millennials, for fans.

Based on ENA discussions with Schaaf, that could be at Howard Terminal or the Coliseum. Howard Terminal remains a sort of mirage: beautiful in pictures but a sort of illusion up close. The Coliseum is the practical albeit thoroughly unsexy choice. We all know that the A’s are lukewarm at best on HT. It’s Schaaf’s jewel on the waterfront. Whether the A’s will truly continue to fully evaluate or keep it on the board to placate Schaaf is unclear.

Let’s break down some of the key pros and cons of both sites:

The difference between the two sites is the HT is still essentially a series of drawings without a framework for execution, whereas the Coliseum has a framework but few cool concepts (renderings). To that effect, I expect the A’s architecture firm HOK to release something by the end of the regular season. The previous drawings envisioning a Raiders stadium as the anchor with the A’s ballpark in the periphery can be thrown in the trash. What we can expect next will be A’s-focused with no trace of football in sight. (I hope the team of HOK + Snohetta + T-Square are retained as they could create something truly eclectic and local-focused.)


If the A’s are going to use all 120-130 acres, I’d love to see the creation of an Athleticsland, a multipurpose, multi-venue complex that retains the arena for concerts, wrestling, and drone races with a street plan that ties it together with the ballpark. I’ve been to a few of these concepts that have failed in the execution (Atlanta), and the A’s can do better. As long as they focus on turning out future generations of fans and not just the currently well-heeled gentry in Rodeo or Pleasanton, they’ll be on the right track.

16 thoughts on “Mayor Schaaf to approve ENA’s for A’s on both Coliseum and Howard Terminal sites

  1. The weather at the Coliseum is near-perfect. I think “colder than other sites” under-represents how terrible the climate at HT actually is. Also, the view at the Coli is/was actually quite nice if you knock down Mt D.

  2. I’m unclear on the “Rebuild BART hub” remark for the Coliseum…there’s not a lot you could do to it. (and why would you need to?)

    • The BART bridge is inadequate for future use. It’s also foreboding. Current plans call for a new BART bridge to be built as part of an expanded (three track) station.

      • OK, thanks.
        I’ll put this under the “wish list” along with BART’s other desires…it doesn’t seem like a deal breaker (to me at least).

  3. I hope that they can put together a good team of planners, architects, landscape architects and market specialists to come up with a ballpark-related development that works for the A’s and for the city. Figuring out uses and businesses will be key. Housing should be included. Fisher has the money, so he needs to do this right. And the city needs to be reasonable while at the same time protecting the public interest — not an easy task!

  4. The HT site is hidden away in an underdeveloped inaccessible corner section of the city. With that fact in mind, the surrounding area would require extensive infrastructure construction for both vehicular and pedestrian traffic, as well as to provide for public transportation access that is currently lacking. On the other hand, the Coliseum site offers great accessibility to/from all parts of the Bay Area for which the A’s will have to market their team to in order to be able to operate successfully both on and off the field.

  5. The Coliseum is near Amtrak too, just sayin. Even nearer to Amtrak, like there’s a station there.

  6. There’s still lots of romanticism about HT being a waterfront site, with plenty of dismissals of its insurmountable problems. Candlestick-like weather? Maybe they A’s can build a domed stadium there to keep the fans warm. Just a few million more dollars that would come out of their own pockets.

    • @ pjk

      Not to say you don’t have a point about the weather at HT, but it’s not nearly as bad as candlestick, especially if they were to build it father back from where the cranes are located.

    • @ pjk

      I sort of wish we could get this HT talk out of the way, so we can concentrate on the coliseum site, since that seems to be the one place this may actually get done. I mean unless there are massive city, county, state, or federal funds that can be taped for cleanup and infrastructure cost, which is highly unlikely…

      • There apparently is a viewpoint that you can just build on top of the contamination without cleaning it up and that the contamination is not that bad. That’ll be a selling point to get people out to the ballpark – “Come on out to see the A’s! We’re pretty sure you won’t get sick!”

      • An acquaintance who is in the upper echelon of the Port staff told me that the site clean-up costs at HT, while significant, aren’t as high as people think. More important, from my perspective, is access, traffic and transit management, and train safety. Frankly, if the Port really wants HT to work as a ballpark, they’d need to throw some money into the clean-up and infrastructure basket. And if the Mayor is still favoring HT, she should be prepared to back it up with a real plan on how it would work, how the infrastructure work would be funded, and how long it would take to get approved.

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