OAKLAND, Calif. (KTVU) - The Port of Oakland Board Commissioners voted Monday to move ahead with an agreement which clears a hurdle for the Oakland Athletics to build a waterfront stadium at Howard Terminal in Jack London Square.
“A great day for Oakland and the Oakland A's,” said team President Dave Kaval. “Over the next year it's going to be really important to get the environmental reviews, to get the state legislation done and bring it to a city council vote early next year.”
Before the vote came down, Kaval got an earful from plan critics during the public comment section of the board meeting... such as the longshoremen who work at the port.
“You would sacrifice the port for privatization of the public resource, the third busiest port of the west coast for a baseball stadium and condominiums? These condos are not for poor people, these condominiums are for people who want to watch a baseball game,” said Clearance Thomas, a retired longshore worker.
In response to those concerns, Kaval says the Athletics organization is committed to the long-term success of the port.
“We want to preserve, protect and enhance the maritime capabilities of the Port of Oakland and that means making sure are here and grow in the future.”
The head of GSC, a 20-year tenant of the port, told board members that he was concerned about the much cheaper rent that the A's would be paying for the land on which the stadium would be built.
“Someone around here is proposing a monthly rent for the A's at somewhere between $76,000. I've heard even lower numbers than that per acre of a yearly basis and I just want you to know that GSC is paying close to $100,000 per acre. That's extremely concerning,” said Scott Taylor, President GSC Logistics
International Longshore and Warehouse Union members had become concerned that approval of a deal with the Oakland A’s opens the door to other non-shipping development on port land and would over time diminish well-paying port jobs.
A number of public speakers at the board meeting spoke out in support of the stadium deal.
“I'm a proponent of the stadium because we need to 6,000 jobs. We also need the affordable housing that's going to be coming to Oakland,” said Tim Smith, an Oakland resident.
Among the work that must be completed before the stadium is built is an environmental impact report and the City of Oakland will also need to amend the site to allow non-industrial and transportation purposes.
The Oakland A’s would like to have the ballpark completed by 2023.