Having dismissed the 50-acre site back in 2014, the Oakland A’s have now entered into a formal negotiating agreement with Oakland’s Port Commission to explore building a new MLB stadium at Howard Terminal, to the west of Jack London Square. To negotiate something on this scale can be a complex job to do, taking a negotiation course can be beneficial by setting out strategies to help with the companies discussions.

Keep in mind that the current A’s chairman emeritus, and co-owner of the team at the time, Lew Wolff, had characterized the redevelopment of Howard Terminal as being “as close to impossible as anything” back in 2013. And redevelopment of the waterfront site would require approval from the Bay Conservation and Development Commission (BCDC), the State Lands Commission and other regulatory agencies.

In addition, the site is about a mile from the nearest existing BART station. But backers of the plan back in 2014 had envisioned a brand new station being added a few blocks from the terminal, along the elevated tracks above Fourth Street.

We’ll keep you posted and plugged-in.

65 thoughts on “Oakland A’s Enter Negotiations for Howard Terminal Site, Again”
  1. Not one single penny of publicly funded aid when sea level rise becomes significant at this site. Same with ATT park and anything on Treasure Island, I hope.

    1. I believe ground level on Treasure Island is being raised several feet, as well as compacted to make it more sturdy and less prone to liquefaction.

  2. Wolff catches a lot of flak for those statements, but he’s just one of many to make similar observations. The site is wrought with challenges, some that can’t be addressed on any sort of reasonable time scale and some of which would require potentially billions of dollars in infrastructure costs that would fall to taxpayers, not the A’s.

    This is a leverage play on the part of all parties involved, and I don’t think that anyone who has been following this saga all the years should consider HT to be the most likely outcome, for the reasons outlined above and a laundry list of others as well.

    1. I would agree it is in part a leverage play but also a great opportunity for Jack London square/Oakland’s own waterfront that seeing some significant development including Brooklyn basin to the south of JLS and new hotel as well as a residential high rise tower I believe for JLS.

      At same time, Colesium site redeveloped would be a huge long term opportunity for Oakland to develop more housing, commercial with great transit access to Downtown as well as state announcing $700 million to get BART into downtown SJ. I think the trade off BART getting 365 days of new transit users versus 81 games is a plus.

      As far as billions, billions for infrastructure is a stretch. It will cost more to upgrade and retrofit Howard Terminal, Yes and certainly a lot more then the ideal Lake Merritt site. How much, Warriors/San Fran dropped the original plan to build their new arena on a San Fran wharf when cost estimates were running about $160-$180 million to retrofit the pier. The Warriors arena is smaller but the pier was a lot older then Howard Terminal. So say $200 million to retrofit Howard Terminal and add the utilities. Yep, definitely more cost but once again, you open up the coliseum site as one of the best opportunities for transit orient development in Oakland/East Bay (that wasn’t a former nuclear site for the navy to boot).

      1. A lot to break down there.

        “but also a great opportunity for Jack London square/Oakland’s own waterfront”
        The opportunity is present but usually overstated quite a bit. JLS has notably less developable space than China Basin and Mission Bay did back before redevelopment. And none of that land is tied to HT (which is fairly small), and other developers already have interest in and plans for projects in the area. That is to say, the A’s would never have the sort of clout in the neighborhood that the Giants had in China Basin and Mission Bay, particularly Mission Rock. That’s just a fact of the circumstances.

        “At same time, Colesium site redeveloped would be a huge long term opportunity for Oakland to develop more housing, commercial with great transit access to Downtown as well as state announcing $700 million to get BART into downtown SJ. I think the trade off BART getting 365 days of new transit users versus 81 games is a plus.”
        This is a false choice. There is no mutual exclusivity here. A ballpark can exist on the north lot and development on most of the rest of the site, providing great transit access for future permanent residents and jobs, as well as seasonal entertainment like baseball. It’s not possible to make an intellectually honest argument that claims the Coliseum site would be great for housing/office development but HT wouldn’t be, or vice versa.

        “As far as billions, billions for infrastructure is a stretch.”
        It’s not. It is completely unsustainable to keep the Amtrak/freight rails there, directly in front of the site, and undergrounding or otherwise rerouting them is going to be extremely expensive. Numerous pedestrian bridges over the tracks is also expensive, though substantially cheaper, but is also not a good permanent solution for the neighborhood. And that’s just considering dealing with the tracks and nothing else.

        HT is not impossible. It’s just not worth the trouble. It’s also not comparable to China Basin was for AT&T Park. A lot of people make that comparison, though you haven’t done so here; I’m just saying that comparison gets made a lot in general. They are very different circumstances and would have very different outcomes, but people can’t look past the idea that there’s some wate adjacent at both.

  3. A BART station, in conjunction with the stadium, would more or less guarantee that Jack London Square becomes a desirable area. Right now JLS is still isolated. A BART station would be a great ROI, far more so than Warm Springs / Fremont is.

    1. BART already shot down the idea of building a BART station near this site. It would conflict with trains going through the TB Tube.

      There was this “wild” idea of using an Aerial tram to transport fans across to this site but that, IMO, is a pipe dream. This site is surrounded by industry and major rail lines separating it from the closest BART Station. They should focus on their current site at the Coliseum.

      1. My bet is BART might have shot it down, but if this proposal is legit they would just as easily reconsider. But confused on why stating the tube is the issue when I believe current BART trains still have to stop at West Oakland station. Scheduling might be more of a pain but at the end of day the BART issue is the fact that they can’t realistically run anymore trains through the tube at peak times, maybe some longer trains which will be happening.

        1. I believe it had more to do w/ complicating operations thru the wye, and the fact that the station would be on a grade (or close to it…the exact non-location being unknown , of course)

          1. I believe grade / long enough straight section of track was the issue here. Although, come on BART! Make it work. A station here would most definitley open up JLS for much further development. A new staduim, and station, with lots of new housing. There is already much more retail and bars and such in the area. Massive residential dev would be ideal here….given its essentially DTO, and would be like 10 min to SF.

            All that said, man the lake merritt site would have been amazing, but then again, with a new station it could do wonders to the area. AND with the potential 980 knock down, this could get pretty amazing.

          2. “potential 980 knock down”
            or “fill-in” more generally…but the Oakland will be competing against the possibility of the A’s relocating to a colony on Mars before that happens.

          3. tracks go downhill to head into tunnel west of broadway – and a platform has to be level of course across entire stretch, so that would put the closest you can put an above ground platform would be so close to west oakland to feel redundant (though, you could have only half of trains stop at each station between west oakland and this hypothetical station to save delays for every train stopping at both, though that has not been a standard model for bart previously). It might make more sense to build a long moving walkway or something like that.

            Note that the walk from coliseum bart to oracle arena front door is about half a mile, and that is considered ‘adjacent’.

          4. Actually if you view a track profile, you will find the platforms at (many) BART stations are NOT completely level; but yes, the grade here is excessive, and there are many other complications…particularly for an idea that doesn’t have that many benefits to begin with.

  4. The Giants had to overcome the same issues at AT&T Park. The site is farther from BART then Howard Terminal, they needed approval from various agencies including the coastal commission, and the area at the time was a mess. There weren’t the restaurants, pubs, and beautiful waterfront plazas we see at Jack London Square. Also, BART is less than 3/4 of a mile if the A’s build as close to the ferry terminal at the end of Clay Street, as possible. Jack London Square already deals with huge crowds during Eat Real Festival, Bike Festival, and A’s Fan Fest without any transportation issues. This site has a Ferry Terminal right next door, Amtrak is less than 1/4 of mile away, the free downtown shuttle runs straight down Broadway passed two BART stations, there are garages with foot bridges over the train tracks, etc.. Also the gondola from Old Oakland would be amazing and doesn’t have to be that expensive. The Oakland Zoo built an amazing gondola with gorgeous views to reach a 600ft hillside for 5 million dollars. Too many San Francisco naysayers who don’t want the A’s on the waterfront.

    1. “The Giants had to overcome the same issues at AT&T Park”
      No they did not. There were related issues, but absolutely not the same issues. This is a myth that people perpetuate, and it was, is, and always will be an oversimplified and lazy analysis comparing 2 different sites, in different cities (and counties), and with different circumstances.

      “Too many San Francisco naysayers who don’t want the A’s on the waterfront.”
      No, this is a false narrative that you and others have created to blame others for the physical circumstances of the site and the political circumstances of Oakland. It is conjecturous and anecdotal at best. The Giants organization and Giants fans (or more specifically those that actively root for the failures of the A’s) have ZERO ability to decided or substantively affect the outcome at HT.

      Facts matter.

      1. If AT&T Park could overcome its multiple agency and transportation challenges, then so can Howard Terminal. The Giants and SF in general have plenty of influence on the BART board and on State commissions to attempt to make it hard on the A’s to develop Howard Terminal. If they try any monkey business to obstruct Howard Terminal or any transportation options, the City of Oakland can sue.

      2. The BART board has already tried to influence a Howard Terminal ballpark by coming out against a stop at Jack London Square. The BART board is heavily politically tilted to San Francisco.

        1. Oh come on, everyone is a conspiracy theorist to you. First of all, who is going to pay for this BART Station? The A’s? Second, your looking at at least a decade if one was built. The Gondola idea is a rediculous. Imagine if each car held 20 people and 5k people took it. It would take 4 hours plus to get those people over.

          1. The gondola idea is fabulous. The Oakland Zoo already has a smaller one in operation. The idea is to have some of the fans use it as part of various transportation options. It’s not intended to get 35,000 fans to the ballpark. Maybe 5,000 to 10,000 fans would use it. The gondola would also be very scenic and become an attraction on its own for Oakland. The Dodgers are also looking at a gondola to get fans from Chinatown up the hill to Dodger Stadium. It’s a brilliant idea on the part of the A’s. It will be the second gondola in Oakland.

        2. That is completely and totally false. You are lying, you know you are lying, everyone else knows you’re lying. A second Transbay tube, thing that would help get a JLS station built is decades off, well after any proposed opening of a stadium. BART has money committed to modernization and other expansions before they will even remotely consider a JLS station.

          The BART board breakdown:
          2 of 9 board members are dedicated to San Francisco County and stations.
          2 of 9 are dedicated to Contra Costa County and stations.
          3 of 9 are dedicated to Alameda County and stations.
          1 of 9 is split between Alameda & Contra Costa Counties and stations
          1 of 9 is split between Alameda, Contra Costa, and San Francisco Counties.

          Each one serves a specific geographic area. Only 2 of those are wholly contained within San Francisco.

          FACTS MATTER.

          1. A Waterfront ballpark at Howard Terminal would be tremendous for Oakland and for the A’s. Oaklanders care a great deal about this and don’t want any outside interference from San Francisco and San Jose interests.

        3. Actually in this case ALTERNATE FACTS MATTER too, although “EG” is is confused as to them: it was the MTC – not BART – that engaged in a possibly – or likely, depending on your view – illegal action by relocating from DTO to DTSF.

          1. Great knowledge on MTC. There’s another example of moving something to SF at the expense of Oakland and our entire region.

          2. The MTC / Bay Area Headquarters Authority – the ‘Agency’ that no one in the Bay Area voted for – that went $100 million over budget on their first project to supply a downtown SFO palace to our do nothing regional bureaucracy – is worthy of both a grand jury investigation and probably criminal prosecution. That’s where the regional toll increase money is going…

          3. It’s not “another example” it’s a correct example counteracting your false example.

          4. Warrior move to SF is another example of a bad decision which hurts Oakland and the region. Multiple SF-centric examples of provincial SF-centric thinking which hurt the region.

          5. The redirecting of HSR from the Altamonte Pass route to what would have been a central Bay Area station at Oakland City Center, to instead a very expensive Peninsula route which will waste tons of money and send HSR to end its journey on what is basically a cul-de-sac at the end of a peninsula in downtown SF, is yet another example of San Francisco political meddling at the expense of Oakland and the entire Bay Area region.

            The San Francisco provincial political meddling has to stop and hopefully won’t affect the outcome of a beautiful Oakland waterfront ballpark.

          6. The HSR route was originally coming through the Altamont Pass before San Jose and SF redirected it through Pacheco Pass to San Jose and up the expensive and problematic Peninsula to meet its end in a downtown SF cul-de-sac. That is what happened. SF won and the rest of the greater Bay Area lost.

          7. Well, San Jose was the big winner and Oakland was the loser. One of these cities has more money than the other one.

    1. Again, they are similar, not the same. Some overlap (like the ones you pointed out) does not mean equality. Things like the specifics of remediation, politics, economics, etc remain somewhat-to-quite different.

  5. Aside from all the negative attitudes – wouldn’t be nice to have the stadium face the bridge instead of southwest…..

    1. The ballpark should face downtown Oakland and the Oakland hills. Oakland needs the exposure. No more frivolous shots of SF during Oakland sporting events. We are sick and tired of having SF steal exposure on Oakland’s sporting events. The Giants can show shots of downtown SF while the A’s games will be exposure for Oakland.

      1. “We”? You are not, by your own admission, a resident of Oakland and never have been. Mountains out of molehills and such.

        1. The most appropriate statement a ballpark in Oakland could make would be to have it turn its back on San Francisco. Not only would that be symbolic but it would also highlight downtown Oakland and the Oakland hills while at the same time shield the fans from the cold and wind coming from the Bay.

          1. Cleaver. But the way the A’s are playing, no one would care. If the A’s go through with this site, people will realize how difficult it is to go there and they will stay away. They only pulling in 10-15 thousand at the Coliseum and that is way easier and somewhat safer to get to than this site. Plus, people go to see winning teams. The A’s have a habit of trading away their talent. The Giants have three World Series titles at AT&T.

          2. The A’s have a better record than the Giants this year. The A’s had a better record than the Giants last year. Oakland has 4 World Series titles compared to 3 for San Francisco. Also the A’s are currently averaging over 19,000 per game at the Coliseum.

          3. E. Gonsalves: when was it that the Oakland A’s won the world series 3 times within the past decade? Or the past two decades? Or three decades? Oh yeah, never

          4. The last time the Oakland A’s won the World Series was in 1989 when they swept the San Francisco Giants in four games. What sweet retribution for Oakland for decades of mistreatment by SF.

          5. None of what you say matters. Literally none of it. Ballpark design does not account for or care about your bizarre victim complex. No matter where a ballpark gets built, it will face generally east. This is true of every ballpark.

  6. Come on dude, the season just started. To tell you how pathetic the A’s are, they could not even sell out a game when all the tickets were free! 21st in attendance this year, go A’s.

      1. with a capacity of 56 thousand. They opened Mt. Davis. At&T is a Baseball Stadium. Coliseum is a Football (soon to leave) /Baseball Stadium.

        1. With the SF media putting negative thoughts of possible chaos in people’s minds, 46,000 on a Tuesday night was a great turn out. The A’s did a great job of pulling this off without a hitch. The Giants would never offer this type of gift to their fans and City. It would be chaos for the Giants. They could never pull that off in SF.

          1. Um, they regularly sell out their games of 42 thousand on Weekend nights. Plus with the thousands of people who live in Mission Bay, no problem buddy. Stop, your embarrassing yourself.

          2. The Giants are just as terrible this year…. back to the topic at hand. Honestly they should just remodel the existing stadium and redevelop the parking lot. They’ll save a ton of money, have a shorter construction schedule with easier approvals all around.

  7. Im from Sf and would be thrilled to see a ballpark here. Nothing wrong with that.

    BUT the comparison to PacBell is weak. This far from transit whether muni or bart. It needs several hundred MIL of infrastructure. Ballpark will cost 1BIL in 2020 dollars, separate from all the IS costs and the city wont fund anything. The demographics and economics of the As are good but theyre not great. Meaning the dough they can raise from PSLs, seats, concessions, luxury boxes, naming will be good but not great.

    Legal challenges on the waterfront could be very tough no matter how miuch the city bends over to help keep this here.

    Do not know how skilled the As ownership is in navigating thru all this and executing a project thats 4.0 DoD. So they need to be really good.

    I would Love to see it happen, but give it a 25% likelihood of being realized.

    Wonder how much they read into Warriors arena…..

  8. Anybody know why there’s no discussion of building a ballpark (or at least a really amazing greenspace) on a ‘lid’ above 980 between about 12th and 17th streets? Seems like it wouldn’t be subject to much environmental challenge (as it’s already a freeway), I would think it’s on bedrock, it would tie together West Oakland and Broadway corridor, and maybe wouldn’t be prohibitively expensive?

  9. Man, when I clicked onto Socketsite and saw the comment count up to 55 for this story, I just knew it had to be E. Gonsalves and his “Everyone is unfair to Oakland all the time” nonsense. It’s so repetitive and tiring. Makes me long for the days of Fluj and LMRIM.

    1. You seem to forget the constant cheerleading for Pacific Bell Park by the SF media. Different take on things when it’s Oakland’s turn at a waterfront park. All of a sudden it’s all insurmountable challenges and the A’s should just go build at the Coliseum so that the SF media can continue to marginalize that location as they have done for decades. The media reaction to a proposed waterfront ballpark in Oakland is 180 degrees to the fawning that we saw for Pacific Bell Park and all of its challenges.

      1. This is nonsense. Every single baseball fan I know in San Francisco would love for the A’s to get a new stadium. The problem isn’t a conspiracy from SF. It’s 100% due to the A’s and Oakland/Alameda county.

      2. @E. Gonsalves – complete and utter nonsense. As a former Giants season ticket holder for 17 years, I would love nothing more than to see the A’s get a new ballpark.

        You really need to get a new shtick. The chip on your shoulder regarding Oakland must be a bear of a burden.

    2. Yeah, no doubt. That was so prescient when all the permabears piled on ole Fluj for buying in Bernal in 2006. Those guys were geniuses. The city didn’t gentify southward, tech didn’t become the coin of the realm, etc. Oh, but fluj made that one big statement that was wrong. For like 2 years out of 12.

  10. Their best strategy is to tear down the existing ballpark and build a new one next to it. They can build the stadium to have views of the Oakland Hills. This waterfront plan is probably not going to happen.

    1. Agreed. Build a big new parking deck at the site of the existing stadium. Convert all those vacant parking lots to high rise housing….

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