Oakland A's

A’s Dave Kaval: Oakland’s release of environmental report for Howard Terminal an ‘enormous step’

Though the Oakland Athletics have made news in Las Vegas lately, they still have dreams of Howard Terminal. The club’s proposed $12 billion development on the Oakland waterfront is still moving through East Bay political channels at what seems like a snail’s pace, but it hit an “enormous” milestone on Friday.

The City of Oakland released its environmental report on the Howard Terminal site, and the positive report even got A’s president Dave Kaval excited.

A’s President Dave Kaval said in an interview that completion of the environmental report is an “enormous accomplishment” and urged the City Council to vote on the final proposal as soon as possible. The city has given the team feedback on its proposal and is awaiting revised plans, which it expects soon.

San Francisco Chronicle

For a guy that is usually denigrating Oakland’s progress on the Howard Terminal site, Kaval sounds downright lovey-dovey over this news.

There are still lots to do in Oakland before this project can put shovels in the ground right next to the city’s bustling port, however. Perhaps most notably, there are infrastructure costs of about $400 million that are still unspoken for, though Alameda County said it will help with the costs in a non-binding vote earlier this year.

That’s a paltry sum compared to the project’s overall price tag. At $12 billion, it’s one of the largest proposed developments in California history, according to the San Francisco Chronicle.

Though the A’s appear serious about moving to Las Vegas, it’s clear to me that the Howard Terminal deal is what owner John Fisher wants more than anything, based solely on the grandiose, city-changing nature of the project. But in California, these developments take time. That’s why Oakland’s report is big news. It was completed at a much faster than normal pace, thanks in large part to the pressure Kaval is putting on the city by threatening — possibly very seriously — to move to the desert.

Essentially, a $1 billion stadium on the Las Vegas Strip would be sweet. But a $12 billion development –including a $1 billion ballpark — on the Oakland waterfront that would transform an entire city in one of the largest markets in the United States (the Bay Area), well that’s much sweeter.

As a refresher, here’s what the Howard Terminal project would entail:

The team wants to build a 35,000-seat waterfront ballpark, 3,000 units of housing, 1.5 million square feet of offices, 270,000 square feet of retail space, a 3,500-person performance venue, up to 400 hotel rooms and 8,900 parking spaces, which would transform the area around Jack London Square and boost economic development with thousands of new jobs and residents.

San Francisco Chronicle

So what’s next? The city planning commission plans to vote on whether to approve the environmental report on Jan. 19 (the report has already been defended against community concerns by the City of Oakland), and the City Council will say yes or no to the report in February. Then, the city and the A’s have to finish negotiating, and an ultimate vote on the huge project is possible later in 2022.

(Photo courtesy Robert Campbell, Robert Campbell Photography)

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