04 May 2009

Everything old is new again

Matier and Ross report that there may be three locations presented by the Oakland Stadium Task Force. One is the Coliseum parking lot option, the other two unclear, though M&R are pointing to Howard Terminal and Oak-to-Ninth. Yes, this is all familiar territory.

Quick refresher: Howard Terminal (aerial view) was reopened in 2004, with shipping giant Matson signing a 25-year lease. A related deal, finalized only last year, has SSA Marine operating the terminal on behalf of Matson.

O29 is a bit more complicated. The largely residential development on the Estuary had its EIR certified in January (PDF), after 3+ years of legal wrangling. Unfortunately for developer Signature Properties, the timing coincides with a horrible decline in the housing market. The Ghielmettis have long maintained that they would be willing to share the site with the A's for a ballpark. However, the devil is always in the details. If putting a ballpark in means a significant drop in open space (which was what much of the legal wrangling was about), any plan would be likely be DOA, if not beset by renewed lawsuits.

Both sites would require new EIR processes to begin, as is common with new development.

At least the task force is aware that it can't just throw a couple of sites out there:
Planning Commissioner Doug Boxer, who is part of a public-private group led by Mayor Ron Dellums working to keep the A's in town, confirmed that part of the parking lot at the Coliseum would be offered as a ballpark site. But he said there has been no final decision on which two waterfront sites will be presented to the baseball poobahs May 12.

"We don't want to provide them with the same old sites that are going to have some of the same issues that have been identified as problematic," he said.

In other words, they're still sorting it out.

When the HOK study was completed in 2002, Howard Terminal and O29 emerged 4th and 6th, respectively.

I'd love to be a fly on the wall at the task force's presentation, which is scheduled for May 12th.

P.S.: Rich Lieberman comments further on the M&R report, though he must not have gotten the memo that the Marlins' ballpark plan has been approved, not killed. Miami-Dade County expects to sell the bonds in the next two months. The site has been cleared, the Marlins planted flags there over the weekend, and a very detailed site plan has already been circulated (thanks Transic and M Festa). The constant drone I've been hearing from Oakland partisans is "It's too hard to go anywhere else, just get it done here even though the potential isn't as good." It somewhat fits with the path of least resistance M.O. I ascribed to Wolff in the past. I understand the reasoning behind this, but it's not exactly an overwhelming sales pitch.