Howard Terminal or Bust

You’ve probably heard by now that the A’s received permission from MLB to explore markets outside of Oakland (reported by Jeff Passan). I’ll have plenty to say about this tomorrow. For now @AsFanByDesign has the proper sentiment:

Letter to A’s fans from President Dave Kaval:

P.S. – Nailed the headline.

24 thoughts on “Howard Terminal or Bust

  1. Unlike the Raider and Mark Davis who wanted public money. This one falls on Oakland and the city leaders. This is a COMPLETE privately finance project!

    Sent from my iPhone

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  2. I’ve never heard why they don’t want to use the Coliseum site. Why not rebuild the stadium into a baseball friendly place, more luxury boxes and what ever else it needs.

    • The Coliseum is played out. Howard Terminal or bust. Who side are u on

    • Coliseum site won’t produce the revenue. It’s not an attractive waterfront area to attrack casual fans with restaurants and bars. I was in a focus group the A’s held for season ticket holders, they showed us the three sites and asked whether we’d buy tickets at each site and at what price level.

  3. If both Howard Terminal and the Coliseum blow up in everybody’s face, what about the A’s cutting a deal with the Giants and playing at PacBell Park at Third and King in San Francisco??????????

  4. Move next door to the Raiders offices in (Rickey) Henderson, Nevada.

  5. Too many Giant’s Fans on the city council. They will vote the A’s out of Oakland. It is Coli or bust, not HT.

  6. I’m a native Oaklander. Love the city. Was blessed to grow up with three professional, storied sports franchises quite literally in my East Oakland backyard. But the Pro Sports experiment in Oakland is coming to an end, after 50+ years of always being rocky and precarious. We’ve lost the same NFL team twice; the NBA team we had wouldn’t put our name on any of its products until AFTER they left; and the A’s have been hinting on-and-off about leaving for the last 20 years. It was nice while it lasted; thanks for the memories. But much of ‘old’ Oakland has been gone for some time now anyway, and so with old Oakland, goes old Oakland’s glory.

  7. Clearly, downtown Oakland is the best place for the A’s to play. But unless MLB wants to reopen the whole San Jose can of worms, then the second best place in North America for them to build a stadium is the Coliseum site. It might be a bland piece of real estate in a sketchy part of town, but it’s still in the heart of the Bay Area, the 5th biggest and probably the wealthiest market in the country. None of the other suiters can match that- any one of them would put the team into one of the smallest markets in MLB. Right now they operate as a small market team because they play in a multipurpose dump surrounded by a parking lot, and maybe a new park at the coliseum site means they won’t be able to operate as a large market team, as they might if they went downtown. But if done right they could at least bump up to mid-level. At their best, Vegas, Portland, Nashville and any of the other places being mentioned will never match that.

  8. Marine layer have followed your blog for so many years and continue to love your accounting of the state of affairs.
    I had a similar question to ’96trees’ about the final reason A’s are saying they don’t want the coliseum site. ‘Vlae’ perhaps answers it, however.

    My remaining question would be, if the A’s move (to Howard Terminal, or otherwise), remind me who owns the Coliseum land? Is it still some joint city/county ownership? Have those parties ever said what they would plan to do with it? It seems like incredibly valuable land given the BART station. And if the A’s vacated it would be a potential windfall for the sale of that land (if that’s what would occur)

    • The City still holds the keys to the Coliseum in that if they don’t sell their half to the A’s, the A’s are stuck paying off Alameda County’s Mount Davis debt with no control over the property. In that case all the A’s can do is veto any outside development plans that come along. (There may be some wiggle room in the agreement that I’m not aware of)

  9. Either MLB makes this statement or the City Council lets this linger on for many more years and years and years, refusing to decide. Two decades of a site search is kind of long enough

  10. If the Braves can build their “lifestyle center” ballpark in the burbs in what amounts to an office park, then the A’s can rebuild at the Coliseum. I don’t buy that there’s no option between Howard Terminal and relocation. The A’s just don’t want to.

    • The Braves got $300 million in public funding for their new ballpark, vs. the $0.00 the A’s are getting.

      • That doesn’t mean it can’t be done. Or that a deal couldn’t be struck with the city. Think the Giants model – A’s pony up to build a new stadium and whatever else they want to develop, Oakland pays for infrastructure upgrades around the Coliseum site.

  11. The optimist in me hopes this is carefully coordinated posturing by the A’s (with the assistance of MLB) to get Howard Terminal over the hump with the Oakland city counsel. As a lifelong Oaklander and A’s fan, I’ll personally be frustrated if the faux NIMBYs, the port interests, the anti-gentrification crowd, and grandstanding city counsel members get their way once again. As a local resident, I’d prefer that Howard Terminal become something better than an empty, unused and toxic clump of parking lots next to Jack London Square. But I guess that’s just me…it seems lots of people like it the way it is. The pessimist in me worries that this is not mere posturing and that the A’s really are seriously thinking of leaving. If so, I’ve learned that life goes on…I’ve become an expert in losing my teams. As a strategic matter, even if this is just posturing by the A’s, it sure as hell better hit the target. Already the media and other voices are describing this news as the “A’s want to leave,” which is not what the A’s are saying, but that’s the message that has landed. So, if the city counsel does not approve Howard Terminal, we will essentially find ourselves where we were 5 years ago, with a deeply alienated fanbase and zero options for staying in Oakland (but literally zero this time). When I saw the A’s announcement yesterday, I was shocked because it seems like such a risky bullet for the A’s to shoot, given the obvious risk that the bullet will ricochet and hit the shooter. The A’s must really be seriously worried that several members of the city counsel are going sideways on the project. Final thought: If John Fisher wanted to solve this problem, I bet he could get this over the line by agreeing to pay for the infrastructure and by meeting personally with the problematic city counsel members to create a relationship and to commit investments and funds to their constituencies. Is that prospect distasteful and enormously expensive? Of course. But that’s what leaders do. They act boldly and they take great financial risks to create something bigger than they are. I wonder if Mr. Fisher is a great leader, or if he is just the son of one. I guess we’ll find out soon.

  12. There seems to be a great deal of confusion about the financing would work for this project. The A’s are paying for the ballpark itself. However, there is an enormous cost to upgrade the public infrastructure to transform an old port property, and surrounding area, into one that can support a large crowd almost daily for half the year, plus the residents and businesses that would be a part of it.

    As I understand it, the A’s are proposing an infrastructure improvement district whereby they would pay (or borrow) the costs needed for these improvements. They would then be paid back over time by using the increase in property values created by the improvements, private and public, to the area. The city would not be paying out of pocket but rather the increased property taxes that would normally go to it would instead be used to repay those costs.

    ML, is this how you see it? If you could include a piece on the financing part of the project, I think it would be helpful.

    Thanks, ML, for your dedication to this blog over the years. Your patience is appreciated and you have shed light on this crazy and confusing subject.

    • Hey Jerry, that’s how I see it as well. What’s not clear is if the revenue projections fall short of the required payback amount who is on the hook to cover that delta? Would appreciate ML or someone else’s input who’s a bit more adept at city planning and urban development than I.

    • I was working on a post devoted to that subject when the relocation news broke. Look for it shortly.

  13. Given the relocation (and/owner change) fees, which city is best positioned for a move should HT fail?

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