A’s choose site for downtown ballpark: It’s Laney College

An overview of the general area the A’s
plan to build a 35,000-seat, privately-
financed ballpark in Oakland.

OAKLAND
After years of uncertainty and concerted efforts by the Oakland Athletics to build a new ballpark in Fremont, then San Jose, the team has chosen a downtown location near Laney College in Oakland.

The San Francisco Chronicle reported news of the announcement Tuesday night, along with a estimated completion date of 2023.

However, the team’s effort to secure the land near Interstate 880 and then navigate Oakland’s planning process and voracious community activists may be difficult.

Community members from the Eastlake neighborhood where the 35,000-seat, privately-funded stadium would be built are already signaling concerns over gentrification and traffic.

“We firmly believe that the Peralta site represents the best opportunity to keep Oakland’s last professional sports team in Oakland for the long term,” Athletics president Dave Kaval wrote to the Peralta Community College Board of Trustees, according to the Chronicle.

The community college district owns the parcel that is a short walk from Lake Merritt and the Lake Merritt BART station.

Kaval added, “the A’s need a modern venue so that we can put the most competitive product on the field and provide the best experience for our fans.”

The A’s had long rumored to have interest in building a ballpark near Jack London Square at a site owned by the Port of Oakland, known as Howard Terminal. However, there may have been concerns about the property’s proximity to the bay and the requisite approval needed from the state. The lack of a transportation infrastructure at the site and a belief the area might be too windy for a ballpark may have been downside for the Howard Terminal proposal.

Demolishing the current Oakland Coliseum and rebuilding a baseball-only ballpark was also up for consideration. But the team’s stated desire for a downtown ballpark, or more precisely, a stadium that could meld the gameday experience with a neighborhood feel of famous ballparks like Wrigley Field in Chicago or Fenway Park in Boston, seemed to limit the Coliseum’s chances.

The proposed ballpark near will cost an estimated $500 million, according to the Chronicle.

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