Major League Baseball (MLB) franchise Oakland Athletics has named a site for a new ballpark it aims to move into for the 2023 season.
The A’s have played at their current Oakland–Alameda County Coliseum home since 1968, with the stadium unique in the fact that it also hosts NFL American football team the Oakland Raiders. However, both teams have been unsatisfied with the stadium in recent years and the Raiders are due to move to a new venue in Las Vegas in time for the 2020 NFL season.
The A’s had considered the current Coliseum site and a location at Howard Terminal near Jack London Square, but have elected to choose land near Oakland’s Laney College for a privately financed new stadium, with the goal of breaking ground in 2021.
“You're right in the heart of the city, and having that walkable environment, where you can have bars and restaurants and really a vibrant kind of energy around the ballpark, kind of like Fenway (Park) or Wrigley (Field),” A’s president Dave Kaval told MLB.com. “That is really the key recipe for success in baseball, so we felt that location was the strongest.”
However, the A’s will need to reach an agreement with the Peralta Community College District to purchase the land before then securing the necessary permits. The team is planning to push its bid by highlighting the fact it will soon be the only remaining major league team in Oakland, with NBA basketball franchise the Golden State Warriors set to move into a new arena in San Francisco for the 2019-20 season.
Kaval said: “It's really in some ways a way to transform the city, and in some ways almost a referendum on the type of city that Oakland wants to be. So we're having that debate and that conversation to balance the needs of the local neighbourhoods and keeping them uniquely Oakland and preserving that and protecting that, while at the same time bringing more economic vitality and jobs. That balance, there's a tension there, and it's really our job to kind of navigate that and get a project to kind of satisfy both needs.
“You don't always see that in these projects where it's so open and collaborative with all the different people, and I think that's really the only way that it can work. It has to be bottom up, grassroots kind of feel to it, or it just won't be uniquely Oakland and the city won't get behind it.”
The A’s are also seeking to work with the city of Oakland and Alameda County on redeveloping the Coliseum as a multi-use sports complex and an Urban Youth Academy.