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A’s stadium news: BCDC vote passes, Howard Terminal project takes another step forward

Major hurdle passed, and major pitfall avoided

Oakland A’s President Dave Kaval leads a private tour of the Howard Terminal site in Oakland, Calif. on Tuesday, Sept. 3, 2019 where the baseball team is hoping to build its new stadium. Photo By Paul Chinn/The San Francisco Chronicle via Getty Images

The Oakland A’s Howard Terminal stadium project took another step forward on Thursday, as the San Francisco Bay Conservation and Development Commission passed a key vote that will allow the project to continue.

The BCDC voted today on whether to remove Howard Terminal’s designation for port priority use, and the vote passed by a 23-2 margin, easily clearing the two-thirds threshold needed for approval.

This was a major checkpoint in the process, and you can click here for more background details. If this vote had not gone the team’s way, then the Howard Terminal project would have been effectively dashed.

For a full account of today’s BCDC meeting, click here for an extensive live-tweet thread by Casey Pratt of ABC. You can also click here to watch the full six-hour meeting on YouTube, courtesy of Brodie Brazil of NBCS (video also embedded at the end of this article). A few highlights are included below.

Port of Oakland executives Danny Wan (Executive Director) and Kristi McKenney (COO) make clear that Howard Terminal is of no use to the port as a container terminal, and is unlikely to be anytime in the future.

“The non-viability of Howard as a container terminal is exactly why we are here today. If it was viable, then we wouldn’t be here today.” — McKenney

Here’s a map with a reminder of where the site actually is.

Some more info from the BCDC staff, which earlier this month recommended that the commissioners vote yes. Click here for more background info on this staff report.

There were over 1,000 comments from the public.

Of course, there are still plenty of people who oppose the project. Pratt responds to a few common topics.

After the vote, the analogy of choice was a postseason game, since success meant the project can continue whereas failure would have ended any hope of building at Howard Terminal.

  • “It was an elimination game.” — A’s President Dave Kaval
  • “Today: The A’s essentially won the ALDS. (The opposite would have been losing, and facing elimination... from Oakland)” — Brodie Brazil
  • “Pretend it’s like the playoffs. A win advances you to the next round. A loss and you’re gone fishin’” — Casey Pratt

There are still many more steps to go, but this was a big one and a crucially necessary one. Here’s Brazil with a quick peek at what comes next.

Watch today’s full BCDC meeting below.