The Oakland Athletics are set to unveil artistic renderings and designs for what they hope will be their brand spankin’ new park in downtown Oakland at Howard Terminal. The renderings can be seen in this detailed article in the San Francisco Chronicle.
The ballpark is . . . different. It’s built-up, rather than low-slung because of high winds that blow at that particular location, but all of the greenery surrounding the perimeter of the place gives it a parklike vibe. Or, perhaps, a Teletubbies vibe, whichever you prefer. The odd buildings surrounding the the place look a little “Blade-Runner”-y if you ask me, which would be one heck of a crossover, right? Maybe the less we think of that the better.
Also a part of the proposal: redeveloping the current Oakland Coliseum site. That would involve the demolition of almost the entire current stadium, breaking it down to a low ring of seats over the current stadium’s playing surface for use as a community athletic park. The rest of the grounds would see housing and business development. The A’s have themselves put in a bid to purchase the land from the city and say that their ability to develop it is the only way they can pay for the new stadium. Which they have to, because the city will not. Taxpayers will, however, be on the hook for various infrastructure costs and any subsidiary development will likewise consist of some form of public-private partnership or will involve some sort of incentive structure.
As we’ve talked about in the past, the biggest issue with the Howard Terminal site is access. The nearest BART station is not super close — it’s like a mile away — and there is a freeway and train tracks in between. To that end, yes, the previously teased idea of a gondola system to ferry fans from parking areas to the ballpark is on the table here. It says it can handle 6,000 people an hour. Which is not enough to get a whole ballpark’s worth of people to the site at a reasonable time before a game, but I suppose if it’s just one of many options — including new pedestrian bridges and the like — it’ll help.
Anyway, welcome to the future, Oakland.