With less than 24 hours to go until the Oakland City Council is set to vote on the Oakland Athletics’ planned waterfront ballpark, the two sides remain at odds on specifics.
A’s President Dave Kaval said the team and council members have been in steady negotiations since the city gave the organization a counter term sheet July 2. Despite those talks, there are still issues with off-site infrastructure and community benefit aspects between the city’s proposal and one from the team.
Kaval also noted that the A’s term sheet for a proposed $12 billion mixed-use development that includes a $1 billion stadium was more detailed than the one the city countered with, which he said is a concern.
“We really need that level of detail and specificity to really understand what type of deal we have here,” Kaval said. “We can’t just have something that is a general statement. We’re way beyond that after five years.”
There’s a possibility that the city council votes yes on the term sheet it presented the A’s instead of the team’s original proposal, which wouldn’t sit well with team officials, Kaval indicated.
“We still don’t have a clear idea on what exactly the city is going to vote on tomorrow,” Kaval said. “There is some concern that they’ll vote yes on a proposal that we don’t agree with, or maybe haven’t reviewed, and try to declare a victory with that. Which really would be a no vote, really indicating they couldn’t come to terms and agree to something that makes sense for us.”
Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf couldn’t be reached for comment Monday.
Kaval didn’t fully close the door on working with Oakland officials if the team’s term sheet isn’t approved, but said that would put the team’s future in the city in limbo.
“We’re still hoping we do get a yes vote on our proposal or a close derivative,” Kaval said. “Certainly if that doesn’t happen, that would be really challenging because it would be hard to see a path forward in Oakland.”
How things will go Tuesday is still anyone’s guess as Kaval said he has no idea what to expect.
“I really don’t know,” Kaval said. “I’ve been in a lot of these political votes over the years and I don’t think I’ve ever been in a situation where I have such little visibility of how it’s going to play out. We’re going to continue to advocate for our proposal… but at the end of the day it’s going to be their decision if they decide to vote on our proposal or not.”
If the Oakland City Council doesn’t deliver a favorable vote for the A’s, Major League Baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred could give the team the go-head to explore other cities outside of just Las Vegas for possible relocation.
“That would obviously be a different dynamic, but we haven’t really crossed that bridge yet,” Kaval said. “We would want to work really closely with the league to make sure we sequence everything properly and spent the necessary time in all the locations, including Southern Nevada where we’ve just been received so positively.”
Regardless of Tuesday’s vote, Kaval will be back in Southern Nevada on Wednesday and Thursday as the team continues to look at possible locations to build a ballpark.
“We’re meeting with some additional land owners, so there’s a little more focus on that piece for the trip,” Kaval said. “We’ll have one of our architects with us … so that’s going to be more of the focus on this trip than we intended originally.”
Having an architect in tow will help the team further understand how and where a possible $1 billion, 30,000-seat ballpark in the Las Vegas Valley could work.
“Having the designer makes a big difference in terms of understanding how the venue could be laid out, the views and the approach” Kaval said. “Also even playing into some of the transportation and connectivity that’s really important. I think that will be a beneficial part of the trip and one that will yield a lot of new information.”