Discontent in A’s with OK for new stadium

Discontent in As with OK for new stadium

Oakland City Council members voted 6-1 in favor of a non-binding term sheet for the Oakland Athletics’ proposed waterfront ballpark on Tuesday, but the session ended with confusion over whether negotiations between the city ​​and team would continue.

Athletics President Dave Kaval stated during the session that the new term sheet, consisting of city amendments, “is not a working trade association for us,” echoing his sentiments Monday when he told him to ESPN that a “yes” vote under city terms. it was “similar to a ‘no’ vote.”

Kaval expressed concern that some of the amendments, covering affordable housing and protections against displacement, among other elements, consisted of language the Athletics were seeing for the first time and said the team was “still taking in” some of them. .

The Athletics did not immediately respond to a request for comment at the end of the session. In a joint statement, Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf, City Council Speaker Nikki Fortunato Bas, and Deputy Mayor Rebecca Kaplan called the vote “a milestone in our mission to keep the Athletics rooted in Oakland and build a world-class waterfront district ballpark that will benefit the community for generations to come. “

The biggest problem arose from a $ 352 million payment in off-site transportation improvements and infrastructure improvements that the city did not agree to subsidize by creating a second financial district at Jack London Square, which is adjacent to the Howard Terminal site where a 35,000-seat stadium would be built. In the presentation, the city official Elizabeth Lake assured that the A’s would be reimbursed for that payment through local, state, federal and other regional funds, saying: “We believe that the city has solved the problem that the A’s identified as most critical. “

The Athletics apparently disagreed.

“There has been progress in the negotiation,” Kaval said when it was his turn to speak. “We moved and made concessions, the city made concessions, but I think it’s important to remember that the current term sheet, even with these amendments, is not something the A’s have consensus on. It is not a term sheet that we proposed. , with editions that we have joined by mutual agreement, and I just want to emphasize that voting ‘yes’ on something that we do not agree with, or that we do not have consensus with, is not an effective way forward. the advice to see how we can get something we agreed to vote on before the break [de verano]instead of voting on something that doesn’t work for us. “

Carroll Fife, the only Oakland City Council member to abstain from voting, circled Kaval to clarify his position and said, “I’m not exactly [seguro] why we are here today. “

“If the Athletics aren’t happy with what happened today,” Fife continued, “and they’re still talking about leaving after the city did its best and provided some of its best work in the interest of Oakland residents, and came up with all these concessions, even about how all these wealthy homeowners don’t have to pay for external infrastructure, I don’t know where we go from here: after somersaulting, after being insulted, after being disrespected, after all the things that Oakland A’s fans and Oakland residents have been through in the last minute. I don’t know where we go from here if they still tell us that they are not rooted in Oakland, that they are not willing to accept what the staff The city has gathered … It’s not a negotiation. It’s really, ‘Do what we say, or we’ll go.’ That’s not ingrained. That’s not respectful. “

The Athletics have spent most of the past two decades hoping to secure a new stadium in the Bay Area, a search that took them through San Jose, Fremont, and various sites in Oakland, mostly around Laney. College. Renovations to the current Coliseum site, where the Athletics have played since 1968, have been deemed unfeasible in large part due to the team’s stated desire for a downtown location.

All that is apparently left to prevent the Athletics from leaving Oakland, and following the recent paths of the NBA’s Golden State Warriors and the NFL’s Las Vegas Raiders – is this latest stadium proposal at the Port of Oakland.

The Athletics made public proposals in April stating that they would privately fund the stadium, which will cost an estimated $ 1 billion, while also providing $ 450 million in community benefits and organizing an additional $ 11 billion in private investment to eventually build the surrounding neighborhood. But the city of Oakland made a counterproposal on Friday that Kaval said Monday “lacks details and details and doesn’t really answer any of the questions that we have that need to be addressed to continue moving forward.”

The project also includes 3,000 residential units, up to 1.5 million square feet of commercial space, up to 270,000 square feet for retail, a 3,500-seat indoor session center, 400 hotel rooms, and up to 18 acres of public access open space.

The team’s lease on what is now called RingCentral Coliseum expires after the 2024 season. If finally approved, the Howard Terminal stadium would not be ready until 2027 at the earliest, leaving the Athletics with at least one two-year gap to fill in Oakland.

Meanwhile, team officials have continued to explore Las Vegas and its surrounding areas as an alternative. Kaval and Athletics owner John Fisher have made three trips to southern Nevada this year and plan to return there Wednesday. Major League Baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred said before last week’s All-Star Game that it would be “a mistake” to refer to the Las Vegas option as bluffing, calling it “a viable alternative for a major league club.” . Other relocation options – including Portland, Oregon; Nashville, Tennessee; Vancouver, British Columbia; and Montreal – could materialize if the team’s deal with the city fails.

“Based on our extensive negotiations, shared values ​​and shared vision, we believe that Athletics can and should accept the terms approved by the City Council today,” the city statement read. “This is the way to keep A’s rooted in Oakland in a way that protects our Port and taxpayers and produces the benefits our community demands and deserves.”