So here we are, almost Memorial Day, and the A’s have entered separate Exclusive Negotiating Agreements with two potential ballpark sites in Oakland: the Coliseum and Howard Terminal.
That was followed by A’s president Dave Kaval’s response on Twitter to an inquiry about Howard Terminal:
It will be open air. But designed with the local weather conditions in mind. We are actually installing a weather station on Howard to monitor weather, wind, and environmental conditions so we design park for best thermal comfort of fans. https://t.co/A5DPoF1g9D
— Dave Kaval (@DaveKaval) May 23, 2018
First, it’s good to hear that the A’s will have (with the Port’s help) a weather station installed at Howard Terminal.
But where will it be located? And is one enough?
To gain some insight, let’s check with our friends at Weather Underground. Unlike last year, when it appeared that a station was installed on a buoy in the Oakland Estuary, this time it appears that it’s situated on the southwest corner of the Howard Terminal pier. That’s not the likely location of home plate or the grandstand, but it should provide a sense of the prevailing winds in the neighborhood.
Here’s what that station is registering as of 6:20 PM tonight:
Now let’s look at the Coliseum area at 6:23 PM:
Now I’ve heard a lot about how Howard Terminal won’t be Candlestick, Part Deux. Let me point out that Howard Terminal is not Jack London Square, and while HT isn’t exactly Land’s End, it isn’t the most wind-protected area ever and it’s probably not going to be in the future. Even if a ballpark is built there, local and environmental groups will fight hard to keep the A’s from building a 100-foot-tall, 800-foot-long edifice on the waterfront. The A’s will probably unveil a design that orients the park more towards downtown and away from the water, to provide allow the ballpark grandstand to block the wind. Or, as the Giants found out:
A UC Davis professor ran wind tunnel studies on a scale model of AT&T Park, determining it needed to change orientation to buffet the wind. Even so, centerfield in China Basin is gusty. https://t.co/2gEmjw24mm
— newballpark (@newballpark) May 24, 2018
The wind and temperature conditions aren’t necessarily going to be the gating factor that determines the viability of Howard Terminal. Economic factors and political process will.
Speaking of process, now that the ENAs for the Coliseum and Howard Terminal have been approved, the A’s now have given themselves a scant six months to figure out all of the details.
<p lang="en" dir="ltr" target is to have an economic deal on a site by the end of the year. That allows us to open in 2023. https://t.co/ad0HiSiBVe
— Dave Kaval (@DaveKaval) May 23, 2018
Say that Kaval makes an announcement in early December. Because of the normal City Hall schedule, a project won’t be brought up for City Council review, let alone planning commission review, until early next year. Then the CEQA process will begin. If you’re keeping track of how other recent projects have been affected, consider that the Warriors ownership group bought the site of the future Chase Center from Salesforce in April 2014. It’s scheduled to open in time for the 2019-20 NBA season, which starts in October 2019.
Then remember that the Coliseum, thanks to the aborted Coliseum City project, already is entitled for one or more stadiums and a slew of ancillary development. The Warriors ended up going with a backup plan. What will the A’s do?
I am curious to know how much more revenue the Howard terminal site could potentially generate long term versus the Coliseum site, because isn’t that what it is all about for the Athletics. The Oakland Water Front ballpark group made a little noise that they would support the franchise at Howard terminal back in the day, but what are the figures. I see the Athletics financial situation in a newballpark lol to mirror that of the Pirates, Royals, and Padres. They could never come close the matching the SF Giants revenue correct.
@Jackson – I’ve heard that attendance would be about 20% better at Howard Terminal than the Coliseum. Both could in theory house the same capacity ballpark, but the Coliseum is hampered by its East Oakland location. On the other hand, Howard Terminal lacks BART and other direct connections to downtown that the A’s will need. The A’s haven’t revealed how a 20% increase translates into greater revenue, though I suppose that may be proportional.
What are the chances that if the Coliseum site is selected that they could successfully build something akin to what Atlanta is doing with surrounding office, residential, and retail opportunities…a la Coliseum City without the other sports tenants? Surely, this is one of the last large parcels of land in the East Bay with readily accessible transportation infrastructure. Thinking optimistically, the East Oakland area is overdue for a renaissance.