The Oakland Athletics secured a victory Thursday from the San Francisco Bay Conservation and Development Commission. As reported by Owen Poindexter of Front Office Sports, the Commission voted 23 to 2 to remove Howard Terminal’s port priority use designation, clearing the way for the Athletics to use the site for the team’s mixed-use ballpark project.
Previously, due to the site no longer being used to load and unload container ships, Mayor Libby Schaaf stated that “[t]ime has shown [Howard Terminal] is not needed nor ideal for shipping activities.” Mayor Schaaf echoed similar sentiments at the Commission hearing, asking for the Commission’s approval to remove the designation. Other port and city leaders noted that Howard Terminal is no longer viable for port use. In total, there were over 100 public comments, many in support, others noting that the stadium project would push out residents and workers.
Now, the Athletics will shift their focus to the team’s negotiations with the City of Oakland over a development agreement. At the same time, the team will need to resolve multiple lawsuits, including a lawsuit challenging the Oakland City Council’s certification of the Environmental Impact Report for the stadium project, which alleges that the project will lead to “massive displacement and gentrification,” a major issue in the Bay Area.
On the other hand, the Oakland Athletics are not limiting their options. Reports have surfaced that the team is also looking at two potential sites in Las Vegas, Nevada. Earlier this week, Major League Baseball made it clear that it would support the Oakland A’s moving to Las Vegas by reporting that the league would waive the relocation fee for the team to move to Las Vegas.
With the Commission vote and the league’s waiver of the relocation fee to move to Las Vegas, the Oakland Athletics have multiple options for the future. Thus, to keep the Athletics in Oakland, the pressure is on the city of Oakland to meet the team’s needs. Otherwise, the Athletics may be off to Las Vegas.