Major League Baseball (MLB) franchise Oakland Athletics hopes to begin playing at its new home by 2023 after the team confirmed plans to build a new ballpark on a site near Laney College.
Earlier this week, the A’s revealed the site as its preferred location for the new 35,000-capacity stadium, and has now gone a step further by confirming that this will be the site of the ballpark, should it gain approval for the project.
The A’s hope to begin work on the privately-financed ballpark in 2021 and have set an initial move-in date of 2023. The new stadium will replace the Oakland Alameda Coliseum, which the A’s have played at since 1968.
Speaking to MLB.com, A’s president Dave Kaval cited the location of the site as one of the biggest positives for the new ballpark. The desired site, which sits between Lake Merritt and Interstate 880, currently includes commercial warehouses, parking lots and administrative offices for the college district.
“You’re right in the heart of the city, and having that walkable environment, where you can have bars and restaurants and really a vibrant kind of energy around the ballpark, kind of like Fenway or Wrigley,” Kaval said. “That is really the key recipe for success in baseball, so we felt that location was the strongest.”
However, despite naming this site as its preferred location, the team must now negotiate with Peralta Community College District to purchase the land.
According to MLB.com, the A’s could attempt to swing a decision in its favour by pledging to feature housing and commercial space as part of the project, with this mixed-use development proposal to also generate revenue to support the college.
The team is also planning to work with the city of Oakland and Alameda County to redevelop the Coliseum as a multi-use sports complex and an Urban Youth Academy.
Kaval added: “I think the key is to keep everyone focused on the guiding principal that we want a ballpark that improves the A’s on and off the field, but we also want a project that helps the city and strengthens the city and makes sure that everyone is involved in that process.
“That’s why we’re spending nine to 12 months in that step, really engaging in these in-depth workshops and town halls and office hours to get all of the local stakeholders involved.”