Updated January 20, 2022 - 10:44 pm
The Oakland Athletics’ push for a new waterfront ballpark in the Bay Area cleared a crucial hurdle Wednesday night, giving momentum to efforts to keep the team from moving to Las Vegas or another city.
The Oakland Planning Commission unanimously voted to recommend the city council certify the environmental impact review for a planned $12 billion development that would include a $1 billion waterfront Major League Baseball ballpark. The vote came after a four-hour public meeting full of commentary both in support and opposition of the project.
That final certification of the environmental review could come next month at an Oakland City Council meeting.
Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf touted the planning commission’s vote as a “huge win” for the region.
Schaaf said in a statement that the vote “puts Oakland one step closer to building a landmark waterfront ballpark district with the highest environmental standards.”
The project at the Port of Oakland’s Howard Terminal would include a 35,000-seat ballpark tied to a mixed-use development that would feature 3,000 residential units; 1.5 million square feet of office space; 270,000 square feet of retail space; a 50,000 square-foot indoor performance center; 400-room hotel and 18 acres of public space.
A’s president Dave Kaval said Wednesday before the vote that the environmental process for the project was two years in the making.
“It has taken a great deal of time, but it is a very big project,” Kaval said. “We’re talking about billions of dollars in private capital. We’re really reimagining the Oakland waterfront, ensuring that the A’s are going to stay in Oakland for many generations to come. And creating a new neighborhood, enhancing the quality of life for the people who live in that part of the city right now.”
The A’s brass are still exploring their options in Las Vegas, as the team has been in the process of negotiating land deals with owners of various sites of interest in Southern Nevada.
After the process to build a new stadium in Oakland dragged on for years, MLB commissioner Rob Manfred gave the A’s the green light to explore relocation sites. Thus far, Las Vegas has been the only market the team has looked at for a possible move.
All areas of the Las Vegas Valley have been scoured by the A’s, including the Resort Corridor, Henderson and Summerlin. Howard Hughes Corp. said last year that it would be open to donating land to the organization if the A’s opted to relocate and build a stadium in Summerlin.
A’s officials, including Kaval, have made several trips to Las Vegas over the last eight months, with reports that the team was eyeing the land the Tropicana hotel sits on as a possible site for a $1 billion stadium.
There are still other aspects of the Oakland project that need approval before shovels could hit the ground. Among other things, the city and the A’s must work out differences over the project’s infrastructure, affordable housing and community benefits.
Although there is no timetable on when a final vote could occur, Kaval said that once it does, the process to get construction started could happen relatively quickly.
“In terms of when you could actually get a shovel into the ground, probably within a year of getting the final approvals,” Kaval said during the meeting.