The first step in the Oakland A’s long, seemingly never-ending quest for a new ballpark has reportedly been taken. The San Francisco Chronicle reports that A’s ownership has settled on a desired location for a new stadium. Now, they just have to convince everyone else—from the current land-owners to the city to Major League Baseball—to get on board.
The site the A’s have their eyes on is adjacent to Laney College, located in central Oakland. They were considering a location on the waterfront or at the site of the existing Coliseum, but the spot they intend to pursue overlooks arguably the most scenic part of Oakland: Lake Merritt and, in the distance, the Oakland hills.
But first, the team needs to convince the Peralta Community College District to cough up the land. The Chronicle reports:
To try to win over the Peralta district’s Board of Trustees, the A’s are proposing to construct housing and commercial space on an 8-acre Laney parking lot just north of the site — a spot now known for its Sunday morning flea market — and funnel revenue from it to Laney. The A’s would also help build a garage there with the idea of boosting the college’s overall parking capacity.
Next—or maybe simultaneously—they need to convince Mayor Libby Schaaf that the Laney site is the best option for all parties. This could be difficult, as Schaaf has expressed a preference for the waterfront site, which she believes would help revitalize a fairly under-developed part of Oakland.
The Chronicle reports the A’s have also proposed a plan for how to use the land the Coliseum currently sits on:
As for the Coliseum, which would have no professional sports tenants with the expected departure of the Raiders for Las Vegas, the A’s plan to pitch Oakland and Alameda County on the idea of turning the site into a community sports park and urban youth baseball academy in partnership with Major League Baseball. Kaval said the sports park would be “an anchor project to entice additional redevelopment, including significant commercial and residential uses” on the property.
This is certainly an idea that would be enticing to Major League Baseball, which has prioritized installing itself in majority Black and Hispanic communities to diversify youth baseball, and hopefully build a bigger market of lifelong baseball fans.
The Chronicle gets into the full logistics of the possibility of the A’s building at the Laney site, which is interesting if you like stadium logistics or are dedicated to this team. Our former friend Kevin Draper also has a story in the New York Times about the A’s long quest to get a new stadium, and make everyone happy in the process. If you’ve (rightfully) tuned out all the twists and turns of the process, it’s a good opportunity to catch up.
But the most important details in the Chronicle’s story are simplest ones: The A’s hope they can have a $500 million stadium in central Oakland by 2023, largely paid for through private financing.