Design & Development

Industry reps hit out at Oakland’s port ballpark plans

The Oakland Athletics’ plans to build a state-of-the-art new ballpark at Howard Terminal in the city’s port have run into opposition from representatives of the local maritime industry.

The Major League Baseball franchise, more commonly known as the Oakland A’s, revealed revised designs for the proposed development in February, along with initiatives designed to address environmental concerns surrounding the project.

The franchise is hoping to break ground at Howard Terminal by 2021, with a view to opening their new home in 2023.

However, Adam Vokac, executive vice-president of the Marine Engineers Beneficial Association, told the San Francisco Chronicle that the port’s trade capabilities must be protected.

“You never get to rebuild a deep-water terminal,” he said. “Once you pave it over and put a stadium on it, you’ll never get that land back for maritime use ever. The port is a huge economic engine for the region and to give it away would be a travesty.

“The idea of putting 4,000 expensive housing units right next to a heavy industry… those two don’t go together. There’s going to be a conflict. One of them is going to have to leave down the road if they’re built. That’s not good for the job base of Oakland.”

The franchise’s president, Dave Kaval, countered by saying: “We think there can be an amazing new ballpark at Howard Terminal on the waterfront as well as a vibrant port in Oakland at the same time. We don’t think they’re mutually exclusive.”

The term sheet deal between the port and the franchise is due within the next month.

Images: Oakland A’s