A’s ‘shocked’ at college’s decision to halt new stadium plans – USA TODAY
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The Oakland Athletics’ plans for a new ballpark just took a major hit, again.
Negotiations for the use or sale of the land where the A’s wanted to build their ballpark near downtown Oakland ended suddenly when the board governing the community college that owns the site ordered the school’s chancellor on Tuesday to stop engaging with the team.
In September, the A’s had selected a 13-acre property owned by the Peralta Community College District as their top option to build a stadium, preferring it over the site of their current home, the Oakland Coliseum, and a waterfront plot by Howard Terminal.
“We are shocked by Peralta’s decision to not move forward,’’ the A’s said in a statement. “All we wanted to do was enter into a conversation about how to make this work for all of Oakland, Laney (College), and the Peralta Community College District. We are disappointed that we will not have that opportunity.’’
The A’s had faced initial opposition to building on the college site from students, faculty and local residents who feared displacement, but team president Dave Kaval expressed optimism those issues could be resolved. The club had set an opening date of 2023 in part to have enough time to address those concerns.
The latest development will force the A’s to look elsewhere for their long-desired new ballpark, possibly turning their eyes back to the Coliseum site, which offers easy access to mass transit and a nearby freeway but lacks amenities like shops and restaurants.
With the NFL’s Oakland Raiders and NBA’s Golden State Warriors scheduled to leave in the next couple of years, the A’s would have the location all to themselves as Oakland’s lone major professional team. However, Mayor Libby Schaaf has pushed for the Howard Terminal site, which comes with toxic-cleanup costs and more limited access.
The A’s, who have been playing at the Coliseum since moving from Kansas City in 1968, previously pursued stadium projects in other Bay Area cities like Fremont and San Jose, only to see those plans fall by the wayside.
They are the only major league club that still shares a facility with an NFL team.
Rebecca Kaplan, a member of the Oakland City Council, is among those throwing her support behind the Coliseum location, pointing out that besides its access benefits, it has already received environmental clearance. That may allow the A’s to open a new stadium much sooner than in 2023.
“That site could house a new A’s ballpark,” Kaplan said via e-mail, “along with shops, bars, restaurants and hotels to create a vibrant and successful environment.”
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