Wednesday, December 6, 2017

A's strike out looking at Laney College ballpark site

A's management has long maintained there
is no "Plan B" if Laney plan strikes out.
The Oakland Athletics' dream of building an intimate downtown ballpark near Laney College may have been dashed Wednesday without the team ever stepping up to the plate in negotiations over the site with the community college board.

The Peralta Community College Board of Trustees Tuesday instructed its chancellor to scrap plans with the A's for the purchase of 15-acres its owns near Laney College, according to the San Francisco Chronicle.

The board's decision appears to have caught A's management and Major League Baseball by surprise.

Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf, who had previously supported a downtown ballpark at Howard Terminal, near Jack London Square, tweeted support for continuing the conversation for a new ballpark. "Oakland remains fiercely determined to keep the Athletics in Oakland. It is unfortunate the discussion with Peralta ended so abruptly, yet we're committed, more than ever, to working with the A’s and our community to find the right spot in Oakland for a privately-financed ballpark."

In September, the team announced it would seek to build a 35,000-seat ballpark in the East Lake/Chinatown area. But the idea was met with quick opposition from local activists who said the ballpark would be a lightning rod for gentrification.

Peralta faculty and students also raised their own concerns. The team was undaunted saying there was no "Plan B" if the Laney proposal was unsuccessful.

Oakland and Alameda County officials, just last week, raised concerns over the team's lack of a second choice and speculated whether the entire plan was actually a "bait-a-switch" scheme hatched by the A's to eventually seek relocation to another city.

But a growing number of East Bay officials maintain the existing site at the Coliseum is the team's best option in Oakland. The site offers very few regulatory headaches, they say, and would provide the least amount of resistance from the public.

Oakland At-Large Councilmember Rebecca Kaplan believes the A's should revisit their options at the Coliseum. She envisions a ballpark district with shops, bars and restaurants at the current site, Kaplan said in a statement Wednesday. The existing location within a hub of transportation options make the site the least costly plan, she added.

"It seems we could have an affordable and financially viable option at Coliseum, which won't have those extra costs," said Kaplan. "The fact that environmental clearance is already completed for the Coliseum site would also provide cost savings and time savings for development at that site.

Kaplan's comments were bolstered last week during a Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum Authority meeting when now-retired Oakland Assistant Administrator Claudia Cappio said the two-year-old Coliseum Area Specific Plan gives stakeholders flexibility to quickly approve a number of options at the site. They include one or two stadium options at the Coliseum, a single stadium with incremental development such as housing, or plans that include no stadiums.


  1. Shocking. The A's knew this site wasn't going to work. They just need to tell MLB and fans they tried so they can get approval to move. Oakland is going to be left without any sports teams because it's a DUMP with terrible leadership.

  2. Would it be a terrible thing for a small ballpark district to grow up around the Coliseum? It might displace Pick Ur Part, Circus Vargas, the warehouses before you get to the flea market and the flea market. Folks probably will not be too nostalgic. How about build a better flea market (covered a la most places), let Pick n' Pull pick somewhere else, and use the area that has a Bart station already there? And allow taco trucks to continue to roam the area. It may be a wasteland now, but how long ago was it that one avoided downtown after business hours ? A's: it's the center of the Bay Area. Yes, that Bay Area

    1. Even if it is Rebecca Kaplan's idea

  3. By MW:

    For quite awhile I have been very skeptical as to whether the A's were ever really serious about building a ballpark at Howard Terminal or by Laney College, or in fact anywhere in Oakland.

    For one thing, their various announced plans to build a brand new ballpark that would only seat slightly over thirty thousand people does not pass the smell test. In other words if they are going to go to all the trouble and expense to build a brand new ballpark, I have a hard time believing that any real and serious proposals would not include seating for an absolute minimum of at least fifty thousand ordinary customers, PLUS ALSO ALL SORTS OF LUXURY BOXES.

    So I think the whole thing has been nothing more than a big charade, and in fact a big charade that was intentionally designed to fail.