OAKLAND – Just hours after the city publicly unveiled its terms on Friday for possibly continuing Oakland A’s plan to build a waterfront stadium and village at Howard Terminal, the team chairman has categorically declared them rejected.
“We have some really big pieces here that are still pending, and while we are still open to continuing to negotiate, we are not in a position where it can work at this time,” said A chairman Dave Kaval, to this news agency.
“A ‘yes’ vote on the list of conditions that has been proposed today, from our point of view, is a ‘no’ vote on the project,” he added.
Kaval’s refusal to accept the city’s proposed development agreement as a compromise creates an atmosphere of confrontation for Tuesday’s Oakland City Council meeting, which is expected to consider voting on the list of non-binding terms of A for their proposed project funding of $ 12 billion. It also signals that the team is ready to increase their threat to move to another city – possibly Las Vegas – if Oakland doesn’t change their tone.
Earlier on Friday, Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf released a written statement strongly suggesting that the two sides are following the same path.
“The Terms and Conditions sheet presented by city staff brings us one step closer to realizing the vision for a world-class baseball stadium,” Schaaf said. “We appreciate the A’s working with us to reach consensus on nearly all financial terms and continue to resolve issues until the approval of a binding development agreement. “
Schaaf was not available to comment later on Kaval’s conflicting views on the position of the two sides.
The A’s want to build a 35,000-seat stadium and up to 3,000 residential units, 1.5 million square feet of office space, 270,000 square feet of mixed retail, a 3,500-seat theater, 400 guest rooms. hotel and approximately 18 acres of parks and open space at the Howard Terminal, which is part of Oakland Harbor, not far from Jack London Square.
City staff recommended that council approve at least one interim development agreement while the two sides continue to negotiate their respective financial obligations. But the board cannot approve this deal unless the A’s join them.
In its report, the city made it clear that it still wants A’s to provide a significant amount of affordable housing in its development plans along with millions of dollars in other community benefits. The report also asserts that the city is willing to form only one of the two tax assessment districts requested by the A’s to finance the necessary infrastructure for the project and better access to it.
“There are no details of who is paying for all this offsite infrastructure, which is almost $ 400 million – so we have a huge gap there,” Kaval said on Friday. “It’s really worrying that we got this far into the project and still have it, and there is still talk about us paying for overtaking and things of that nature. We are therefore very far from each other.
The city’s goal, as stated in the report it released on Friday, is “to ensure that any final agreement will not endanger general city or county funds, contrary to obligations that had been issued to renovate the Colosseum on behalf of the Raiders. “
As part of its terms, the city says that at least 15% of the 3,000 homes the A’s want to build should be affordable and that the team should shell out enough impact fees for the city to fund the construction of. 450 affordable housing units elsewhere.
City and state laws require real estate developers to include affordable housing or pay a fee to build it elsewhere. The As asked the city to relinquish this mandate.
The A’s argue that the city should fund affordable housing with the millions of dollars it will raise by forming two tax assessment districts to pay for streets, sidewalks, pedestrian bridges and other infrastructure needed to support stadium development. town.
While the two sides are far apart on affordable housing and other community benefits, they both made concessions on how long A’s should commit to staying in Oakland if they get their budget. approximate. City initially asked for a 45-year commitment and the A’s only pledged 20 years, but Kaval said earlier this week that the team would stay for at least 30 years, and the city’s Friday report accepted a commitment of at least 25 years.
But that might not be enough for Kaval.
“We’ve made this big concession, but the threshold issue for us that needs to be addressed is the offsite infrastructure,” Kaval said. “We just don’t think it makes sense for A’s to pay for all the miles of stadium infrastructure that is really deferred maintenance on the city unrelated to our project. The reality is that the city is going to have to do this job anyway. So loading our project with all of these things is really not appropriate. “
But others argue that the team has a financial obligation to reduce the potential negative impacts their project could have on surrounding neighborhoods.
In an editorial for this news organization, Evelyn Lee, chair of the board of directors of the Oakland Asian Cultural Center, wrote that “the biggest threat specific to Chinatown, less than a mile from the proposed stadium, is traffic and the parking. Traffic in stadiums to and from home games – more than one in five days a year – could choke the streets of Chinatown and choke its businesses. “
And Vice-Mayor Rebecca Kaplan stressed in a letter to her colleagues that “everyone needs to recognize the historic damage done to communities, disproportionately, to black communities, in West Oakland, because of transportation and transportation projects. infrastructure over several decades, which demolished existing communities, undermined black-owned businesses, worsened pedestrian safety and severed community ties ”.
Companies located in the port near the Howard Terminal, meanwhile, opposed the waterfront proposal, saying it would disrupt their operations.
Kaval has maintained – with many exclamations “Howard Terminal or bust” – that if City Council does not share the team’s “vision” for Howard Terminal and approves a deal that mostly aligns with terms the team revealed in April, the A’s will look for a stadium in another city. Building a new one at the Coliseum where the team is now playing “is not viable,” Kaval insisted.
Kaval said the team was pursuing a “parallel path” to build the new baseball stadium in Oakland or Las Vegas. Team officials have been to Las Vegas several times already and will be making another trip the day after the city council vote.
Even if the board and A’s come to an agreement, a development deal cannot be finalized until an environmental impact report on the project is approved later this year or early next year.
Check back for updates on this developing story.