Looking at the A's proposed waterfront stadium
Before the Oakland A’s just up and move out of the city—that is, of course, assuming renovations to O.Co Coliseum never actually materialize and the proposed move to San Jose gains MLB approval—a group of Oakland-minded business folks want A’s owners Lew Wolff and John Fisher to at least take a peek at a plan to drop a 38,000-seat waterfront stadium at the Port of Oakland’s Howard Terminal.
Ignore for a moment the fact that Wolff thinks building on Howard Terminal land is an unlikely scenario because of environmental cleanup costs and zoning rules. The Save the A’s group -- backed by heavy hitters such as Clorox chairman Don Knauss, T. Gary Rogers of Dreyer’s Grand Ice Cream and local developers Doug Boxer and Mike Ghielmettim, according to the San Francisco Chronicle, all with the support of Oakland Mayor Jean Quan -- thinks any logistical hurdles can be overcome and Oakland can remain a big-league city with a shiny new stadium.
And, as you can see above, they have the pretty pictures to prove it.
The group hired Manica Architecture to show just how the 14-acre stadium would nestle onto the 50-acre site. David Manica didn’t disappoint, offering up visuals that include a nod to Oakland’s industrial identity with port cranes cozied up near the stadium, providing green space between the building and the lapping water.
“The site is perfectly situated along the waterfront near downtown Oakland,” Manica tells SI.com. “The design concept seeks to capture the unique history of the site by maintaining the port cranes as an integrated part of the iconic design.”
But instead of going totally retro, Manica says this futuristic look -- all with open views onto the bay, of course -- offers something modern for Oakland, sited right alongside hotel and retail development. It would also make for a fairly majestic idea of having two ballparks up against San Francisco Bay across the water from each other.
The A's have run into plenty of political roadblocks in their quest for a new home. Major League Baseball has already held up the team's attempt to move into a yet-to-be-built new San Jose stadium, saying it infringes on the Giants’ territory. On the flip side, the A’s can’t get funding for an overhaul of what we know as Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum. The 47-year-old stadium has issues—to say the least—and recently MLB has even broached the idea of the A’s sharing a home with the Giants until new digs get polished off.
The new local group pushing Howard Terminal has no ownership stake in the A’s, but it does have the money to get the stadium built, whether for the A’s or some other big-league team.
The Oakland stadium landscape just got a bit more intriguing. Tim Newcomb covers stadiums, design and technology for Sports Illustrated. Follow him on Twitter at @tdnewcomb.