Oakland A's get approval from state agency to use port for stadium

The San Francisco Bay Conservation and Development Commission voted Thursday to move forward with the Oakland A's stadium project at Howard Terminal.

The commission voted 23 to 2 to reclassify a 56-acre terminal at the Port of Oakland as a mixed-use area where a new ballpark could be built. The vote is the first in a series of legal hurdles the team would have to overcome before it gets permission to break ground for the project.

The BCDC must give its permission whenever a port is to be used for a non-maritime purpose, such as a ballpark or stadium. 

Other government bodies, including the Oakland City Council, must still vote on the A's plans.

Mayor Libby Schaaf said the vote is a step in the right direction.

"Today’s vote moves Oakland toward a more prosperous future. Our city has historically been overlooked for major economic development, but today that story about Oakland changes," Schaaf said. 

The proposed 56-acre ballpark at the port has garnered some strong support and opposition.

"It's a maritime port, a working maritime port, the fourth largest with 80,000 workers. By having a hotel and stadium and 3000 luxury condo units, you're actually gentrifying and hurting the port," said Steve Zeltzer of Schools and Labor Against Privatization.

But Eddie Alvarez of the Alameda County Building & Construction Trade Council disagrees. 

"This has worked in D.C., this has worked in San Diego, this has worked in Seattle. They have ballparks right next to their ports" Alvarez said.

While Thursday's vote advances the project, it does not guarantee that the new ballpark will be situated at the port.

"Removing the port priority use designation is a prerequisite for the commission to consider a future permit application for construction of that ballpark project."

Las Vegas will surely step up its bid to steal the A's away.

"If the port and the Oakland Athletics have not entered into a binding agreement by 2025, the port priority use designation will automatically be reinstated on the Howard Terminal property," the commission said.