Could this be the future home of the Oakland Athletics? If Clorox CEO Don Knauss and Oakland Mayor Jean Quan get their way it could be. Along with the already well documented Coliseum City plan, Howard Terminal has long lurked in the background as another site in Oakland proper that the city has proposed to place the A's at. That site has been given a little more form of late being pushed by Knauss and his partners as the best site for the A's. Their goal is either to entice Wolff back from his long stalled plans to move to San Jose or baring that if Wolff wants out to buy the team from him.
Their latest moves in furtherance of that are to present to the public some details on what that plan might look like, using the time honored tradition of putting out pretty renderings of what might be to get people jazzed about the plan. Along with getting together enough funding to begin an environmental review of the site and start the regulatory process.
And while that's all well and good they ultimately haven't answered many of the basic and tough questions the Howard Terminal site in particular raises. They've yet to address how to pay for such a project first and foremost, as Howard Terminal is estimated to cost anywhere from $700-$800 million to make a reality (and if Knauss has to buy the A's to make it happen his costs would go up another half a billion minimum). They also haven't addressed how they'd deal with the regulatory process which means dealing with CEQA and the California Coastal commission. Nor have they bothered to mention the issues regarding the port and the fact the land can't be used for a ballpark if a maritime use is available.
Speaking of the land, Knauss and Co. still haven't addressed the specific list of challenges the HT site comes with. Specifically the large amount of toxic contamination the site is currently laced with and the subsequent cleaning that would be required for any ballpark to go up. They also haven't addressed the infrastructure issues that would come with the site including distant BART access (1 mi to the nearest station), lack of access to the site due to the Union Pacific/Amtrak lines that separate HT from Jack London Square and of course the fact that part of the HT site is actually a pier... not land at all. And lastly Oakland needs to ultimately address how HT fits in with their Coliseum City plans that by their own reckoning will need the A's to open a ballpark in the current north parking lot of the Coliseum for the CC plan to pencil out financially.
So where does that leave HT and A's fans... A VERY long way from even a workable plan to say nothing of the finish line. But on the bright side at least we got yet another beautiful rendering of a ballpark we probably will never play a game in to go with Uptown, Coliseum North, Pacific Commons, Diridon, Victory Court and Coliseum City...
*UPDATE 8PM PST* - Looks like Wolff has responded to the city's renewed push at Howard Terminal by dismissing it out of hand. Which is not surprising given he's studied the site previously and found it unworkable. However the more interesting piece of news is that he's changed his tune on Coliseum City. He's moved back from his dismissive tone regarding it and actually seems conciliatory toward the site. Could San Jose have been dealt a more serious blow than originally thought? Or is Wolff just creating an out for himself with San Jose currently struggling? Could this end up being the future home of the A's after all?