Oakland is moving forward with plans to build a new stadium for the A’s.
Next month, the planning commission will discuss a proposal for “a new ballpark of up to 39,000 seats, located east of Fallon Street,” on a swath of land near Jack London Square, according to its agenda.
The baseball team, under the leadership of Lew Wolff, has been eyeing a move to San Jose where preparations are being made for a new stadium. But the move has been held up so far because the world-champion San Francisco Giants have the rights to San Jose.
Oakland City Council President Jane Brunner said work on an environmental impact report for a new stadium near the Lake Merritt Channel on a site known as Victory Court (click here for a map) keeps Oakland in the game.
“We’re still in conversation with Major League Baseball, and we are keeping our options open to keep talking to them,” said Brunner. “They have a certain date they want a new stadium by.”
A committee appointed by baseball commissioner Bud Selig has been studying – with all the speed of a glacier -- whether or not to let the A’s move into Giants territory in San Jose. With the World Series over, many speculated that a decision would be made, but Brunner said she doesn’t know when it will come.
A real estate developer, Wolff wants to build a retail and housing complex around any new stadium. He tried to move the team to Fremont in 2009, and he’s said publicly that the city hasn’t done enough to keep the team in Oakland. In September, the Chronicle reported that Wolff had hired an architect to work on plans for a stadium in San Jose.
The A’s currently share the out-of-date Oakland Coliseum with the Raiders.
In Oakland, Mayor Ron Dellums, Brunner and the group Let’s Go Oakland have been trying to make the case to Major League Baseball that the A’s should stay. Doug Boxer, a planning commissioner who co-runs Let’s Go Oakland, said the environmental impact report is the first step to entitling the property. The city has said that it would spend redevelopment money to buy the land, though it has promised no public subsidies.
The stadium issue came into play in the Oakland mayor’s race, won last night by Jean Quan. During the campaign, Quan said she would support using redevelopment funds to keep the A’s in Oakland, while loser Don Perata, who received campaign contributions from the A’s owners, said there was nothing to be done to keep the team from moving, as the East Bay Express reported.