OAKLAND, Calif. – The Oakland City Council on Tuesday approved preliminary terms for a new $12 billion waterfront ballpark project for the Oakland Athletics, but it's unclear if the vote will be enough to keep the baseball team at the negotiating table instead of leaving the San Francisco Bay Area city.
The 6-1 vote backed the proposal that requires the development to include affordable housing, tenant protections and environmental measures, the San Francisco Chronicle reported.
Mayor Libby Schaaf and council leaders said the vote marks a milestone in negotiations, despite city officials being able to reach a deal with the team in last-minute negotiations.
“This is the path to keeping the A’s rooted in Oakland in a way that protects our port and taxpayers and will produce the benefits our community demands and deserves,” the city leaders said in a statement.
But A's President Dave Kaval said the financial terms do not work for the team.
“To vote on something we have not been privy to and not had time to digest is a difficult thing for us. It’s hard to understand how that is a path forward," Kaval said at the meeting.
The A’s are the last professional franchise remaining in Oakland after the NBA's Golden State Warriors relocated to San Francisco and the NFL’s Raiders to Las Vegas. The defections weigh heavily on the Bay Area city of roughly 400,000 people, some of whom pleaded with the council Tuesday to work harder to keep the team and accompanying coliseum jobs.
Others, like Emily Wheeler, said good riddance: “The A’s are like an abusive boyfriend and you need to stand up to them."
The A’s project includes a $1 billion privately financed 35,000-seat waterfront ballpark at Howard Terminal, 3,000 residential units, office and retail space, hotel rooms and an indoor performance center.
The team's lease at the aging RingCentral Coliseum runs through 2024. The league has said rebuilding at the current location is not a viable option. In May, Major League Baseball instructed Oakland’s brass to explore relocation options if no ballpark agreement could be reached.