Agency clears way for Oakland Athletics $12B ballpark plan

SAN FRANCISCO — A California agency on Thursday has cleared the way for the Oakland Athletics to continue planning a $12 billion waterfront ballpark project.

The San Francisco Bay Conservation and Development Commission voted 23 to 2 to reclassify a 56-acre terminal at the Port of Oakland as a mixed-use area where a new ballpark could be built. The vote is the first in a series of legal hurdles the team would have to overcome before it gets permission to break ground for the project.

The commission followed the recommendation of its staff, which found the team demonstrated removing the terminal from port use “would not detract from the region’s capability to handle the projected growth in cargo.”’

The Athletics have also been working on plans to relocate to Nevada and find a spot for a new stadium in Las Vegas.

Last year, the Oakland City Council approved preliminary terms for the project but A’s President Dave Kaval said the financial terms didn’t work for the team. Kaval said the team was proceeding with “parallel paths,” planning new ballparks in Oakland and Las Vegas.

The A’s proposal includes a $1 billion privately financed 35,000-seat waterfront ballpark at Howard Terminal, which is currently being used as overflow parking for containers and trucks. The project also would include 3,000 residential units, office and retail space, hotel rooms and an indoor performance center.

The team’s lease at the aging RingCentral Coliseum runs through 2024. The league has said rebuilding at the current location is not a viable option. In May, Major League Baseball instructed Oakland’s brass to explore relocation options if no ballpark agreement could be reached.

The A’s are the last professional franchise remaining in Oakland after the NBA’s Golden State Warriors relocated to San Francisco and the NFL’s Raiders to Las Vegas in recent years. The defections weigh heavily on the Bay Area city of roughly 400,000 people, some of whom pleaded with the council Thursday to work harder to keep the team and accompanying coliseum jobs.

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