The Oakland Athletics Major League Baseball franchise’s ballpark development plans have been boosted by Governor of California Gavin Newsom, who has signed two vital bills into law.
AB1191 will streamline the process for securing the necessary permits for the project by allowing the State Lands Commission to decide whether the stadium is an appropriate use of land at the Port of Oakland’s Howard Terminal, whilst SB293 will allow the franchise to establish a new tax district to help fund the development by paying for a variety of infrastructure projects around the site, Bloomberg reported.
An environmental impact report is expected to be completed by the end of the year, moving the project on to its next stage, with hopes of breaking ground in 2021 before the 35,000-capacity ballpark opens in 2023.
However, the project will also require final approval from the Oakland City Council and the Port Commission, with several hurdles yet to be overcome, including vociferous opposition from some in the local community.
In June, plans for a new waterfront ballpark for the A’s progressed after lawmakers unanimously voted to support two state bills necessary for the development.
Plans for the new arena were first released last November, when the A’s also detailed a vision to revitalise the RingCentral Coliseum by pulling the adjacent neighbourhood space into the site, and creating new economic, cultural, and recreational opportunities. The Coliseum has been home to the A’s and Oakland Raiders since 1968, but the NFL American football team is poised to move to a new 65,000-seat stadium in Las Vegas in time for the 2020 season.
The A’s are hoping that development of the Coliseum site will help fund their new ballpark and the team had agreed in principle on a deal that involved acquiring the county’s 50% share for $85m (£69.1m/€77.8m).
However, earlier this month, the City of Oakland sued Alameda County over its plan to sell its stake in the RingCentral Coliseum to the A’s.
The lawsuit claims that the county is violating a state law that requires publicly owned surplus lands to be considered for affordable housing before they are sold or leased. The city believes the country has not met the requirement of seeking to negotiate “in good faith” for at least 90 days.