Athletics

Takeaways from Oakland's term sheet for A's new ballpark

Athletics

We now know the framework of what Oakland City Council would likely approve for a new Howard Terminal Ballpark just north of Jack London Square, after the city released its term sheet Friday.

It’s a distinct departure from the Athletics' first public term sheet dated April 23, 2021. 

But the question remains: is it close enough for the team to move forward with, creatively bridge gaps, and be voted on by July 20th?

Oakland mayor Libby Schaff and A's team president Dave Kaval have different views on Friday's term sheet.

Schaff: “The Term Sheet put forth by city staff moves us one step closer to making the vision of a world-class ballpark a reality. If approved, the Waterfront Ballpark Project at Howard Terminal will be a game-changer for West Oakland and our entire region, providing affordable housing, public parks, great jobs, and other direct benefits for the community – all without the risk to our Port, our taxpayers, or the City or County's general funds. We appreciate the A’s working with us to reach consensus on nearly all financial terms as well as continue to problem-solve between now and approval of a binding development agreement.”

Kaval (via the Los Angeles Times): “If the council voted yes on that, it would be yes on that term sheet, but it would really be a no on that project ... I’m still hopeful they’ll vote on our original proposal. I think there is still the opportunity for them to vote yes on that. A yes vote on what was released today does not work.”

 

Here are the three big takeaways from Friday's term sheet presented by the Oakland City Council.

One infrastructure financing district

The City proposes to create just one Infrastructure Financing District, instead of two. They have also suggested the implementation of a business improvement district… which would assist the A’s in “submitting and processing grant or funding applications” from the state, county, or elsewhere.

Because of this, the two sides are still separated by $351.9 million of infrastructure costs, including offsite transportation infrastructure improvements, grade separation, and parking management. The document states: “The parties are still negotiating how these costs will be allocated.”

25-year commitment

The A’s had originally proposed a 20-year non-relocation agreement. This included playing all regular games in Oakland, maintaining team headquarters in the city, maintaining good standing with MLB, and keeping “Oakland” as the geographical identifier.  

The city has asked for a 25-year commitment on this, adding five years. But still falling short of the 45 years of proposed Infrastructure Financing Districts, or 66-years of the Port lease.

Affordable housing and community benefits remain important to Oakland. The City is targeting a total of 30 percent in and around the project area. The on-site total would be 15 percent, equivalent to about 450 of the projected 3,000 new residential units.

Another 15 percent would be covered by “displacement prevention strategies… including new construction, preservation, renovation, down payment and senior assistance in the four impacted neighborhoods (West Oakland, Chinatown, Old Oakland, and the Jack London District).

$400 million benefits package

The City is also asking for a over $400 million in a community benefits package, which would be span across the 66-year Port land lease. 

Today’s term sheet spells out that construction would need to begin by May 13, 2025 under normal circumstances, and no later than May 13, 2028 if third-party legal challenges delay the project.