San Francisco Chronicle reporters Phil Matier and Andy Ross report that Oakland Athletics president Dave Kaval will hand deliver a letter to Peralta Community College District Chancellor Jowel Laguerre “asking to begin negotiations to buy or lease” a 13-acre plot of land near Laney College in order to build a new stadium for the Oakland A’s. The plot currently houses the district’s headquarters.
The exclusive report from Matier and Ross includes quotes from Kaval’s letter, including details on proposed ancillary development around the site. The A’s desire to play their first game at this new stadium in 2023.
It was widely reported that the A’s had primarily been considering three finalists in its search for the long-awaited ballpark site: Howard Terminal near Jack London Square, another portion of the current Oakland Coliseum lot, and Laney College. The Laney decision was also divided between the Peralta lot, which abuts the Nimitz Freeway and a northern parcel that would essentially require relocating Laney College’s baseball and football programs.
The safest and most boring choice would have been to build a new stadium at the current Coliseum lot. It has the most advantageous transit situation of the three primary sites but the least compelling neighborhood draws.
The highest risk choice would have been at Howard Terminal, a 23-minute, 1.1-mile walk from 12th Street BART. Though it would have created some interesting opportunities for downtown and Jack London Square, complications with environmental and transportation interests could have killed the project.
But it seems the A’s have taken the middle road, still a big adventure as the club tries to create a new environment on what in my experience is a quiet stretch of basically frontage road close to an urban mixed-used neighborhood an eight-minute, 0.4-mile walk from Lake Merritt BART station.
This is hardly a done deal. The Peralta Community College District’s 50,000 square foot headquarters will have to be relocated at a price the A’s are willing to pay. BART will need accommodations for maintenance facilities that will need to be relocated. The amount the City of Oakland will put in for infrastructure is still to be finalized. None of this moves forward from here unless Dave Kaval and the team working under him have correctly taken the pulse of Oakland’s civic leaders and citizens.
But this is more than we’ve had in years and years of bemoaning the state of the Coliseum under previous leadership. Dave Kaval has gone past jumping off a cliff, he’s throwing away his parachute believing there’s a soft landing below.