Michael Ghielmetti, one of the identified
members of a local group hoping to build
a waterfront ballpark at Howard Terminal.
OAKLAND | HOWARD TERMINAL | Following the Port of Oakland’s approval Mar. 27 of an exclusive negotiating agreement (ENA) with Oakland Waterfront Ballpark, LLC for a potential stadium at Howard Terminal, I caught up with Michael Ghielmetti, one of the members of the group hoping to bring baseball to downtown Oakland.
Q: In the agreement, there is a clause that reads the ENA can be transferred to the Oakland A’s or “other sports franchise ownership group.” I understand the A’s, but what’s the other part mean?
A: The Warriors are looking for a home. We don’t want to close any doors for any potential successful venues for them. It could fit potentially more than one venue. We just want to keep Oakland’s options open I think is the big point.
Q: During today’s meeting, you mentioned your work with Signature Development Group on the Brooklyn Basin project on the waterfront just south of Jack London Square as being, in some ways similar to the ballpark plan and different. Can you expand on your statement?
A: In essence, it’s an outreach process. We had to come in with a vision and we had to work with a number of stakeholders and neighborhood groups, advocacy groups, elected officials, city staff, planners and a whole bunch of regulatory agencies—so many of these state and federal agencies—in that regard, this is the same thing. It’s different circumstances, but you’re still working on similar issues. The difference here with the ballpark is we have to work with ownership groups because we don’t own the teams and we’re not pretending to. We’re just trying to create a place where they are going to feel warm and fuzzy.
Q: If all goes as planned and there’s a real deal for a waterfront ballpark at Howard Terminal, do you think Major League Baseball and its owners will ultimately apply pressure on A’s ownership to either deal with your group or sell the team to someone who will?
A: I don’t presume to know the inner-workings of Major League Baseball. I do know they are business people and baseball is a business and we are trying to provide a way for them to be successful at that. Hopefully we can talk to anyone who will listen. We can talk to Major League Baseball, we can talk to one or more of the owners and I think Oakland will put a good foot forward. If it doesn’t work out, I think Oakland can look itself in the face and say we gave our best shot.