Oakland May Have Taken the Lead In The Oakland-Las Vegas A’s Stadium Game

Athletics owner John Fisher gets a green light to use a shipping port land for his stadium-village plan in Oakland.

Major League Baseball’s Oakland Athletics owner John Fisher could be a step closer to building a stadium-village on the San Francisco Bay waterfront at Howard Terminal in Oakland. The San Francisco Bay Conservation and Development Commission voted 23-2 to remove Howard Terminal’s designation as a port priority use area. There could be lawsuits coming to overturn the commission’s vote but it is just another step in the building process and Fisher will continue to use a threat to relocate his business to Las Vegas to make sure other agencies and the Oakland city government give him what he wants. The land to build a waterfront stadium but perhaps more importantly, he will become a real estate operator with retail and residential space to be built. A Major League Baseball team is just part of a business portfolio not something sacred although sports fans probably have a problem with that assessment. The one-time owner of MLB’s Houston Astros and the National Hockey League’s New Jersey Devils, the late John McMullen, once said it’s my team and I can do what I want.

What is next for Fisher and his negotiators? Continue playing the stadium game. Fisher claims he will raise $1 billion in a privately financed venture that will have a35,000-seat waterfront ballpark at Howard Terminal, which is currently being used as overflow parking for containers and trucks. The project also would include 3,000 residential units, office and retail space, hotel rooms and an indoor performance center. Fisher does not want to build a ballpark in the Oakland Coliseum-Arena parking lot even though the BART can bring people into the complex and that is going to happen at Howard Terminal. Meanwhile, in Las Vegas, local officials know that MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred loves the market despite the lack of a big money TV deal and limited corporate money being available.

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FILE – This rendering provided by the Oakland Athletics and BIG – Bjarke Ingels Group shows an elevated view of the baseball club’s proposed new at Howard Terminal in Oakland, Calif. (Courtesy of BIG – Bjarke Ingels Group/Oakland Athletics via AP, File)