No Way, San Jose! A’s Announce Plans to Build Ballpark Off the Nimitz Near Laney College
(BayAreaNewsTalk.com) – Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf and City Councilman Abel Guillen held a news conference this morning at City Hall to respond to a plan from the Oakland Athletics to build a stadium near Laney College.
The site is currently home to the Peralta Community College District offices. It includes commercial warehouses, parking and office buildings.
It’s close to Chinatown, Lake Merritt and the San Antonio neighborhood, and is easily accessible from Interstate Highway 880, BART and mass transit services stopping at nearby Jack London Square.
Schaaf said she would’ve preferred the A’s select one of the other sites under consideration — the Coliseum complex where the team currently plays or the Howard Terminal near the Port of Oakland — as they have less existing community to be displaced from the surrounding area.
But the team’s management felt the “Peralta Site” was the most viable option in terms of private financing, which Schaaf said she respects.
However, the land is owned by the Peralta Community College District and some faculty members have been vocal in their opposition to the plan. In a public statement issued Tuesday, Chancellor Jowel C. Laguerre said, “No decision, no commitments and no deals have been made.”
Schaaf and Guillen both echoed that sentiment, pointing out that the A’s will need the district’s support to move forward.
“They absolutely have to convince Peralta that this is a land deal they want to engage in,” Schaaf said.
Guillen represents Oakland’s District 2, where the Peralta site is located, and is himself a former member of the Peralta Community College District’s board of trustees. He said the decision of whether or not to
provide land for a new ballpark at the location is a decision for the district as well as its staff, faculty and students.
“If the two parties choose to engage in a process that would result in an opportunity for a new ballpark, the city will have to look carefully at all aspects of the project, which will have substantial consequences for my constituents and the city as a whole,” Guillen said in a statement this morning.
Guillen said his district is vulnerable to impacts like community displacement and real estate speculation in the area around the proposed ballpark site. Peralta’s students, some of whom are experiencing homelessness or housing insecurity, could be particularly hard-hit by reduced availability of affordable housing around a new stadium.
To that end, his office is considering emergency regulations to protect the surrounding community, which might include a moratorium on demolition permits and increased scrutiny for other permits that might normally get “over the counter” approval.
Traffic congestion, pedestrian safety and parking availability also need to be considered, as do the impacts on nearby natural resources and open spaces, according to Guillen.
The team claims their plan would create roughly 2,000 construction jobs and bring roughly $3 billion in economic benefits to the Oakland community over the first 10 years. If it goes forward, they plan to break ground in 2021 and open the new ballpark in 2023.