05 July 2005

Driving around Oakland for more sites

After Sunday's 7-2 comeback win over the ChiSox (I donned a rally cap in the sixth), I drove around Oakland looking for pieces of land that might be large enough to hold a ballpark. The requirements were:

  • 10 acres or larger
  • Near BART, freeways, or both
  • Ownership by the state, county, city, or 1-2 private owners max
  • No existing development plans

I couldn't vouch for the last requirement completely, so I went on a hunch, along with some knowledge I already had about some of the neighborhoods I visited. Here are three sites:

West Oakland BART
  • Location: 5th/7th St between Kirkham St and Union St. Slightly over 1 mile west of Jack London Square. 600 ft. east of West Oakland BART station.
  • Size: 7-8 acres. No room for expansion unless street grid is severely modified. Can't expand to south because of BART overhead right-of-way and exit and entry ramps to I-880.
  • The land is mostly owned by the state. The site is the southern end of the demolished Cypress structure, most of which is now Mandela Parkway. The land remains undeveloped.
  • Advantages: Parking in the area already exists. Few if any displacement issues.
  • Disadvantages: Little development potential immediately surrounding ballpark except for low-income housing and basic services. Small, narrow lot poses design issues.

I-880/980 Junction
  • Location: Brush St between 6th and 7th St. 1/2 mile west of JLS. 1/3 mile west of nearest BART station (12th Street)
  • Size: 4 acres at most. No room for expansion unless street grid is severely modified.
  • Not clear who owns the land, but it looks like there is a single owner.
  • Advantages: Central location, BART potential exists. Parking available nearby. Additional parking could be developed under 880 skyway.
  • Disadvantages: No existing BART station nearby. Site is too small, even with annexed streets.

Near Estuary
  • Location: Fallon St between I-880/4th St andThe Embarcadero. 1/3 mile east of JLS. 1/3 mile south of Lake Merritt BART station.
  • Size: 10+ acres. Some room for expansion if street grid is modified.
  • Land owned by some public entities (BART, Peralta CCD, City of Oakland) and private (Breznikar family/East Bay Restaurant Supply, others).
  • Advantages: Near waterfront, JLS, BART, Amtrak, and I-880.
  • Disadvantages: Limited parking immediately available. Some businesses would have to be displaced. Site is less accessible than desired because of railroad tracks, Fallon St dead-end at I-880.

None of the sites fit all of the criteria, which highlights the difficulty involved in putting together a ballpark plan.