OAKLAND (CBS SF) — Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf and A’s president Dave Kaval said Wednesday that the city and the team have entered into an exclusive negotiating agreement to explore both the Oakland Coliseum complex and the waterfront Howard Terminal as possible sites for a new baseball stadium.
Speaking on the roof of City Hall after she and Kaval raised the A’s flag to celebrate the start of the team’s 50th season in Oakland, Schaaf said she’s “excited” about the agreement “so we double our chances of keeping the A’s rooted in Oakland in a way that’s responsible to our taxpayers and enhances neighborhood vitality.”
Schaaf said, “This is the first step in building a great new ballpark on time.”
The announcement comes only a few days after Kaval said the A’s are offering to buy the entire 120-acre Coliseum complex in exchange for paying more than $135 million in debt currently owed by the city and Alameda County at the site.
The existing stadium at the Coliseum complex is one of the oldest in Major League Baseball and the A’s are anxious to build a new ballpark.
The A’s announced last September that they wanted to build a new stadium near Laney College and Lake Merritt, but the Peralta Community College District’s board of trustees eliminated that option in December when it advised the team it would no longer negotiate a sale of the site.
Since then, the A’s and the city have also looked at the possibility of building a stadium on the 60-acre Howard Terminal site northwest of Jack London Square.
Kaval said the A’s hope that a decision on the site for a new stadium is made by the end of the year so a new park can be ready in time for the 2023 baseball season.
Kaval said it won’t be materially quicker to build a new stadium at one site or the other.
“This is a 50- to 100-year decision for having a long-term home so we can win more world championships in Oakland,” he said.
The last time the A’s won the World Series was in 1989.
Schaaf said, “We also want a 100-year plan” for a new stadium.
She said she will be formally requesting that the City Council authorize negotiations with the A’s for the Coliseum site as soon as possible and urging Port of Oakland commissioners to approve negotiations for the Howard Terminal site at their meeting on April 26.
Schaaf declined to comment on the price the city will ask for the Coliseum site, saying, “Price is part of what will be hashed out.”
Schaaf said other entities have approached the city about buying the Coliseum site but she said, “We are committed to the A’s” because of their history in the city and city officials will give them priority at this time.
“They deserve the opportunity to make a deal that makes sense at every level,” for the team, the city and the taxpayers, she said.
Schaaf admitted that has expressed a preference for the A’s to build a new stadium at the Howard Terminal site instead of the Coliseum site but she said, “That’s only a preference and either site presents an opportunity.”