Posted March 14, 2014

Looking at the A’s proposed waterfront stadium

Oakland A's, Stadiums

Before the Oakland A’s just up and move out of the city—that is, of course, assuming renovations to O.Co Coliseum never actually materialize and the proposed move to San Jose gains MLB approval—a group of Oakland-minded business folks want A’s owners Lew Wolff and John Fisher to at least take a peek at a plan to drop a 38,000-seat waterfront stadium at the Port of Oakland’s Howard Terminal.

Ignore for a moment the fact that Wolff thinks building on Howard Terminal land is an unlikely scenario because of environmental cleanup costs and zoning rules. The Save the A’s group — backed by heavy hitters such as Clorox chairman Don Knauss, T. Gary Rogers of Dreyer’s Grand Ice Cream and local developers Doug Boxer and Mike Ghielmettim, according to the San Francisco Chronicle, all with the support of Oakland Mayor Jean Quan — thinks any logistical hurdles can be overcome and Oakland can remain a big-league city with a shiny new stadium.

And, as you can see above, they have the pretty pictures to prove it.

The group hired Manica Architecture to show just how the 14-acre stadium would nestle onto the 50-acre site. David Manica didn’t disappoint, offering up visuals that include a nod to Oakland’s industrial identity with port cranes cozied up near the stadium, providing green space between the building and the lapping water.

“The site is perfectly situated along the waterfront near downtown Oakland,” Manica tells SI.com. “The design concept seeks to capture the unique history of the site by maintaining the port cranes as an integrated part of the iconic design.”

But instead of going totally retro, Manica says this futuristic look — all with open views onto the bay, of course — offers something modern for Oakland, sited right alongside hotel and retail development. It would also make for a fairly majestic idea of having two ballparks up against San Francisco Bay across the water from each other.

The A’s have run into plenty of political roadblocks in their quest for a new home. Major League Baseball has already held up the team’s attempt to move into a yet-to-be-built new San Jose stadium, saying it infringes on the Giants’ territory. On the flip side, the A’s can’t get funding for an overhaul of what we know as Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum. The 47-year-old stadium has issues—to say the least—and recently MLB has even broached the idea of the A’s sharing a home with the Giants until new digs get polished off.

The new local group pushing Howard Terminal has no ownership stake in the A’s, but it does have the money to get the stadium built, whether for the A’s or some other big-league team.

The Oakland stadium landscape just got a bit more intriguing.

Tim Newcomb covers stadiums, design and technology for Sports Illustrated. Follow him on Twitter at @tdnewcomb.

11 comments
fairfax77
fairfax77

Despite all the City Hall rah-rah and the proximity to Jack London Square, Howard Terminal would make a terrible ballpark location. For starters, after seventy-plus years as an ocean terminal, the site is borderline toxic and would require millions of dollars and years of remediation.


Second, who wants to go to a ballpark with a huge scrap metal yard (Schnitzer Steel) and Port of Oakland's power plant next door?


The walk from either West Oakland or 12th Street BART is sketchy and dangerous. There is no parking. 

Because of sunsets and property orientation, the view will not be of the Bay Bridge and the San Francisco skyline, but of the virtually empty former Alameda Naval Base.


The Port of Oakland is nearly $2 billion in debt and has made some dubious deals with marine terminal operators that will restrict its revenue growth for years to come.


So it is desperate to make a deal. This should not be one of them. What will happen when the A's eventually leave Oakland? Who will be stuck with the stadium debt? (By the way, who drew this silly rendering, showing container cranes and an apron? This is totally illogical.)


.

Tony Fairfax, Oakland

James W2
James W2

What happens if a sunami hits the Bay Area. Not a very logical place to build a stadium. but maybe the land is cheap. Then again, one gets what he pays for.

123456x
123456x

White elephant - Oakland needs to clean up its act first. weed out crime and fix infrastructure. This project is too expensive and not something the city needs. 

Disbott3000
Disbott3000

It's shameful that the city fathers of Oakland continue to espouse their love of the A's and desire to keep them in Oakland, while at the same time not offering to do a single thing to improve their situation in town. If they don't want to offer any financing to help the A's build a new ballfield in town, then they shouldn't get in a twist when the team goes looking for a new hometown.


I'm a Braves fan who thinks it's kind of crazy that they're going to move out of the Ted after only 20 years, but give Mayor Reed credit: when the team came to him, he told them the city couldn't do anything for them financially and didn't throw a baby tantrum when they announced the move, he just said "we wish them the best."

2001mark
2001mark

Athletics have got to be the most distinguished pro franchise married with some of the messiest off field politics.  


Their rich history is married to some idea they forever be treated as poorly as the Tampa Bay Rays.  Shame that.

WestcoastMD
WestcoastMD

There's no way Alameda County would go for this. If Al Davis couldn't get something like this going, then there's no way that the A's can be successful.

Hamish
Hamish

Nice pictures, but wouldn't the sun be setting in the batters eyes with the field oriented this way?

EarlMartyPrice
EarlMartyPrice

@123456x Murders are way down in oakalnd and so is crime. There is a building boom downtown and Uptown. Meanwhile San Jose has quietly appeared on the horizon for crime, and murders are up. I get no pleasure in writing this as I have family in both cities, but this perception of crime, geez I wish it would keep just one hipster out of the damn place.!!! 

rpearlston
rpearlston

@Hamish That straight side, the one facing the water, is the south side of the field.  (I found a map of the site that included a cartouche.)  That means that west would be BEHIND RH batters.  But the height of the stadium is the key to keeping the sun out of the eyes of LH batters.


BTW, it doesn't matter where a stadium is being built - every stadium architect has to take the sun into account with their design.

Hamish
Hamish

@IndependentsDay @Hamish I looked at Howard Terminal on Google maps, and you're probably correct. I do think it's closer to SSE. A right handed batter would still be facing southwest, so there may be some issues. I won't really worry about it until they shovel the first bit of dirt - something that is unlikely to happen anytime soon (if ever).