OAKLAND – City officials and the Oakland A held some last-minute talks Monday to keep the team’s waterfront ballpark plan on track, but neither side appeared ready to budge on the financial blueprint for playing it.
However both sides indicated that they were ready to resume negotiations before a city council meeting on Tuesday morning to consider A’s non-binding financial term letter for the $12 billion ballpark and village project. There was no indication that the parties had come to an agreement. on several key details.
For the A, the council vote will indicate whether the city is willing to do everything possible to keep the team in Oakland, which has already left the Raiders and then the Golden State Warriors. For the city, the stakes are even higher as it tries to balance the interest of the team with those of taxpayers, while ensuring it gets affordable housing and community benefits from the deal.
“The city and A are continuing their dialogue today with the common goal of making a world-class ballpark a reality,” Justin Burton, spokesman for Oakland Mayor Libby Schaff, said in a text on Monday.
“The City will continue to advocate for a proposal that supports and serves Oakland and our entire region, provides affordable housing, public parks, great jobs and other direct benefits for the community – all at risk to our port, our taxpayers or the city.” without or the general fund of the county,” he said.
A’s president Dave Kaval confirmed that he and city officials met via Zoom, but as they did on Friday, they discussed the matter in a darker light than the mayor’s office, saying that both sides were key. At points remain “away”.
“We’re becoming increasingly concerned that the council is going to vote on something that doesn’t match what we’ve proposed,” Kaval told this news organization in a phone interview.
Kaval said that contesting its own terms for funding the project’s infrastructure for the city and setting other terms without the team’s purchase “is not an efficient way forward”. Still, he said, “My phone is unlocked.”
Even if the council approves the team’s term sheet, several more steps go ahead – including the completion of an environmental impact report – before construction equipment can reach a 35,000-seat ballpark and 3,000 mixed- to start rolling out to clear the way for utilitarian development. The home, 1.5 million square feet of office space, 270,000 square feet of mixed retail, a 3,500-seat performance theater, 400 hotel rooms and nearly 18 acres of park and open space at Howard Terminal, which is part of Oakland’s Port near Jack. London Square.
But A wants the city to at least bless its term sheet to support the Howard Terminal project and finance the roads, sidewalks, pedestrian overpasses and other improvements needed to access the 55-acre site.
Lack of such clear signal, kavalo has stated that the team intends to intensify its efforts With Las Vegas currently the leading contender, find your ideal ballpark in another city. Kaval and other AK officials are scheduled to make another visit to Las Vegas the day after Tuesday’s council meeting.
The key issues separating the two sides are affordable housing, community benefits and how to finance infrastructure such as roads, sidewalks and pedestrian bridges surrounding the site.
In its term sheet released Friday, the city wants the Howard Terminal site to build 15% of A’s homes — 450 if 3,000 units are built and pay development fees to build another 450 more affordable homes. elsewhere. Kaval has asked the city to waive that condition, even though the city generally requires developers to specify a certain percentage of their projects for affordable housing.
The city also wants a local construction job to contribute millions of dollars in community benefits, from renting to providing relocation assistance to residents and businesses that may be forced out by rising property values triggered by planned development.
The city has also indicated that it is ready to create one of only two tax-assessment districts, a need to reimburse them to pay the upfront costs of road improvements, environmental clean-up, seismic upgrades and other ballpark works. are demanding.
Kaval wants the city to also create a separate appraisal district encompassing the Jack London Square area so that an estimated $350 million can be paid for improvements such as pedestrian and vehicular crossings to bring A’s fans to the ballpark. Can you
Vice Mayor Rebecca Kaplan proposed that the cooperation of the city and a To secure state and federal funding to pay for the work.
“We must also recognize that state, federal, regional and other levels of government have invested heavily in projects that involve the destruction of communities in Oakland, and that perpetuate air quality inequalities,” Kaplan said. Mentioned in a letter to colleagues of the Council. “This is also a project of major regional importance, in an area that depends entirely on the use of this port, so it is important that resources and strategies at all levels are part of the solution.”
In messages sent to this newspaper on Monday, Kaplan said he believed agencies such as the Metropolitan Transportation Commission and the Alameda County Transportation Commission would be motivated to contribute enough to pay for the $350 million A needed. could.
Kaval said in an interview on Monday that if the city wants to pursue other sources of funding, that’s fine, but if it can’t guarantee that money by Tuesday, there won’t be a deal. “We need certainty now,” he said.
Meanwhile, the community and special interest groups are pressing the council with their concerns.
Community advocates fear that a large luxury development at Howard Terminal could trigger gentrification and require A to not only provide affordable housing but to support renters, hire locals, and provide job training. The city is urged to get ahead of this by calling.
At a rally last week, Tommy Wong, co-founder of Good Good Eats and member of the Oakland Chinatown Coalition, said Chinatown is “an important economic and cultural hub. If they had a community benefit plan they could plug in, Wong said. “Here is where the words have to meet the ground.”
Others are opposing the project more strongly, even though it has a community benefit agreement.
The East Oakland Stadium Alliance, a coalition of businesses operating at the port and the longshoremen unions working for them, fear the project will harm their operations.
“We stand strongly by our position that a stadium and real estate development that would put thousands of people at a port working 24/7 is inherently inconsistent land use and would be irreversibly harmful to the economy – and downright dangerous. is,” said Aaron Wright, a business agent for ILWU Local 10.