A's potential Howard Terminal ballpark hinging on crucial vote today

Commission set to vote on removing port priority use designation from Howard Terminal, allowing A's ballpark plan to move forwardBJARKE INGELS GROUP

The A's are “cautiously optimistic” heading into today’s key vote by the S.F. Bay Conservation and Development Commission (BCDC) on the "future use of 56 acres that could be the site of a new ballpark for the A’s,” according to Mick Akers of the LAS VEGAS REVIEW-JOURNAL. A 27-member commission is "set to vote on whether to remove the port priority use designation on the Port of Oakland’s Howard Terminal.” If 18 members agree the site is "not essential for the Bay Area’s long-term seaport needs," the A’s proposed $12B waterfront development centered around a $1B ballpark “would be allowed to move forward.” If not, the A’s Bay Area ballpark plan “would be all but dead.” A’s President Dave Kaval said, “We’ve made a very clear and compelling case that Howard Terminal is not needed for the seaport plan.” But Kaval added that he "realizes the outcome is not a certainty.” Akers notes while a yes vote "would clear a major hurdle for the A’s," there "still would be work to make the Howard Terminal project a reality.” Key among those is "coming to terms with Oakland on a binding development agreement." The two sides "have been negotiating their differences over the past year, with issues still lingering.” The Oakland City Council next week “will discuss the potential of adding a referendum on the A’s ballpark plan to November ballot.” The vote “would be advisory in nature, serving as public guidance for the council” (LAS VEGAS REVIEW-JOURNAL, 6/30).

CONVENIENT LEAK: In S.F., Ann Killion wrote MLB is "trying to leverage the voting commissioners with a not-so-subtle threat.” An unconfirmed story "conveniently leaked this week" said that MLB will "not charge the A’s a relocation fee if the team moves to Las Vegas, in order to 'soften the blow'" for Owner John Fisher. The “timing and implication of such a story is that the BCDC commissioners better pave the way for Howard Terminal or else.” Killion: "Take that MLB 'leak' with a wheelbarrow full of salt." Recent speculation has been that baseball relocation fees “could be as high as $1 billion,” yet, Fisher would "get to move to Las Vegas for free." How the other MLB owners would "react to that" makes it seem that MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred’s office is "simply trying to (again) manipulate the conversation” (S.F. CHRONICLE, 6/29).

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