The Athletics have reached a major milestone in their never-easy effort to procure a new ballpark. Alameda County has formally approved an agreement to transfer its share of the Coliseum site to the team, Sarah Ravani of the San Francisco Chronicle reports.
Once fully finalized, this deal will constitute the foundation for one of the two major pillars of the A’s stadium plan. With partial ownership of the sprawling Coliseum site, the team can begin pursuing a redevelopment plan for its current home. That effort would coincide with and support the construction of a new playing facility at Howard Terminal.
With so many balls in the air at one time, this represents a major step. A’s CEO Dave Kaval labels it “a big deal.” Ravani, who has covered this matter exhaustively, says the agreement’s culmination “all but secur[es] the baseball team’s future in the East Bay.”
The Coliseum sale was the result the county and team clearly preferred, so in that sense it isn’t surprising. But the proposed deal had run into major headwinds — namely, opposition from the city of Oakland, which co-owns the site. Oakland mayor Libby Schaaf indicated that the municipality is now on board.
This won’t end the interactions between the city and team — far from it. In addition to working through the complicated undertaking of constructing a new waterfront ballpark, the sides will now have to decide how to proceed on the Coliseum site redevelopment plan. Kaval says “the ball is in [the city’s] court” as to whether to negotiate a sale of the public’s interest or partner on the project.
Plenty of details remain to be sorted. And it’s far too soon to rule out further roadblocks, particularly given the prior course of this effort. All things considered, though, this news marks the clearest indication yet that the A’s will stay put.