Eight Oakland City Council members are casting non-binding votes on a proposed $ 12 billion development and ballpark plan Tuesday morning. An affirmative vote will simply keep the ambitious project alive; but a deviant voice, Oakland Athletics says, will start the team’s relocation efforts.
Speaks approx. 22 hours before the decisive vote, A’s president Dave Kaval still did not know what to expect.
“Our future in Oakland is in balance,” Kaval said in an interview with ESPN on Monday afternoon, “and we will do everything we can to get a ‘yes’ vote tomorrow on our plan and keep A’s rooted in Oakland. “But we do not know if we will get a positive vote. There are still many areas we differ significantly from with the city and we go into the vote without knowing how it is going to play out.”
A two-decade process to secure a new stadium in the Bay Area has reached what Major League Baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred called the “end” ahead of last week’s All-Star Game. There have been unsuccessful proposals in San Jose, Fremont and several places in Oakland, especially around Laney College. Renovations of the current Coliseum venue, where the A’s have been playing since 1968, have been deemed unsustainable, mainly due to the team’s stated desire for a central location.
All that seems to be left to prevent the A’s from leaving Oakland – and following the recent paths of the NBA’s Golden State Warriors and the NFL’s Las Vegas Raiders – is a proposal for 35,000 waterfront seats within the Howard Terminal site in Port of Oakland.
A’s made public proposals in April that they would privately fund the ballpark, which costs an estimated $ 1 billion, while providing $ 450 million. $ In societal benefits and provides an additional 11 billion. $ In private investment to eventually build the surrounding neighborhood. But the city of Oakland put forward a counter-proposal on Friday that Kaval said “lacks details and details and really does not answer any of the questions we have that need to be resolved to keep moving forward.”
The biggest problem stems from the $ 855 million that the As have asked the city to pay in infrastructure improvements using taxes generated by the project. A’s proposed two infrastructure financing districts to cover these costs, but the city rejected the proposal to create an additional district at nearby Jack London Square, leaving what Kaval estimated as a $ 352 million shortfall for A’s to cover.
“It’s an extraordinary amount of money,” said Kaval, who has led A’s stadium efforts since joining the team in November 2016. “And not having specificity is a key issue. There is also concern about additional taxes they impose on the project – ownership tax, a transport tax, which of course also pushes up costs. These are all topics that are problematic. And we have been aware that the project can only do so much. We can not solve all of Oakland’s problems, but we can do much to make this a better society and keep the A’s here for many generations to come. And that’s why we’re looking for an affirmative vote on our plan. “
A needs at least five councilors to approve their plan or four councilors plus Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf. Kaval said there have been “continued negotiations” over the weekend and until Monday, but that the two sides “remain significantly separate.”
The mayor’s office declined to comment when ESPN reached it Monday. Justin Berton, a spokesman for Schaaf, issued a statement saying: “The city and the A’s continue their dialogue today with the common goal of making a world – class ballpark a reality. The city will continue to speak for a proposal that supports and serving Oakland and our entire region, offering affordable housing, public parks, good jobs and other direct benefits to society – all without risking our port, our taxpayers or the city or county’s general funds. “
A’s lease on what is now called the RingCentral Coliseum expires after the 2024 season. If eventually approved, the Howard Terminal Ballpark would not be ready until 2027, leaving the As with a two-year gap to cover in Oakland. .
Meanwhile, team officials have continued to explore Las Vegas and its surrounding areas as an alternative. Kaval and As owner John Fisher has made three trips to southern Nevada this year and plans to return there on Wednesday. Manfred said last week that it would be “a mistake” to refer to the Las Vegas option as a bluff, calling it “a viable alternative to a major league club.” A “no” vote Tuesday – city council members meet at 9 local time – may trigger calls with other potential relocation sites including Portland, Oregon; Nashville, Tennessee; Vancouver, British Columbia; and Montreal.
Kaval is not sure if the city would ultimately vote on A’s plan, which was presented to Oakland officials in early 2021, or the city’s counter-offer from Friday, adding that a “yes” vote on the latter would be “equivalent to a ‘no’ vote” because the team does not approve it.
“In many ways, we are down on our last bat-bat in Oakland,” Kaval said. “But if we get a win tomorrow, and a deal we agree on, we can send it in extra innings and hopefully get the final win this fall.”