Golden State Warriors

A’s gain vital “yes” vote for Howard Terminal ballpark project

The Oakland A’s Howard Terminal stadium project was on the chopping block on Thursday, but luckily for Bay Area baseball fans, it survived.

Though the “Yes” vote the A’s received from The San Francisco Bay Conservation and Development Commission didn’t guarantee the Athletics will break ground on the massive, $12 billion project, a “No” vote would have killed the entire operation.

The San Francisco Bay Conservation and Development Commission voted that Howard Terminal isn’t needed for port use, an important step in the A’s quest to get a new ballpark. Two commissioners voted against it. Without a “yes” vote from BCDC, the project would have died. The commission’s vote doesn’t approve the project, but it allows it to move forward.

San Francisco Chronicle/Sarah Ravani

Athletics president Dave Kaval took to Twitter to celebrate the news, also pointing out that while two commissioners voted against the deal, 23 others voted in favor.

That’s quite an image in Kaval’s tweet. The project clearly involves much for than a ballpark, of course. With its $12 billion price tag, the development would be one of the largest in California history.

The A’s have proposed building a $1 billion, privately financed 35,000-seat waterfront ballpark at Howard Terminal, with 3,000 residential units, up to 1.5 million square feet of commercial space, up to 270,000 square feet for retail, an indoor 3,500-seat performance center, 400 hotel rooms and up to 18 acres of publicly accessible open space.

San Francisco Chronicle

Since I grew up an A’s fan, I definitely want the Athletics to remain in Oakland. The sheer size of the Howard Terminal project is out of whack in my book, however.

Take Las Vegas for example. Kaval and the A’s are threatening to move to the Entertainment Capital of the World if their massive Bay Area project continues to stall. But in Vegas, the A’s have proposed a much, much simpler development, consisting of a ballpark and not much else.

So a move to Las Vegas, and their hypothetical stadium build there, would be much easier to pull off than the Howard Terminal project. Plus, the A’s have expressly said they don’t want to build a new stadium at the Oakland Coliseum site. That would also be a much simpler task than the Howard Terminal option.

It just seems to me that A’s owner Dave Fisher is using the A’s to secure one of the largest development deals in state history. And that doesn’t sit right with me. But on the other hand, it’s either Howard Terminal or Las Vegas, as Kaval has repeatedly made clear.

So, as has been the case for years, and even decades, we’ll continue to wait and see when it comes to a new ballpark (plus $11 billion more in development), for the Athletics in Oakland. That would have stopped being the case, however, without this recent “Yes” vote for the A’s in Oakland.

(Photo courtesy Robert Campbell)

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