Earlier this week, A’s president Dave Kaval offered the opportunity to step foot on a place that has been equally discussed and dreamed about during the last 10 months: Charles P. Howard Terminal.
He gave us an exclusive, personally guided tour of the terminal, which led to five instant reactions after visiting the site for the first time.
The site is 55 acres in total
This sounds large numerically, but instinctually feels small when walking the premises. Your brain instantly tries to render the optical illusion of how a Major League Baseball stadium would fit in this defined space. That is, until you realize Oracle Park in San Francisco sits on less than 13 acres and doesn’t feel cramped.
This spot. Home plate at the potential future home of the A’s. Imagine all the memories that could be made here. pic.twitter.com/63hE48I7mZ— Catherine Aker (@CatherineAker) September 17, 2019
You’ve definitely seen those cranes on renderings, and from a distance. They’re even more imposing and magnificent up close. And they’re destined to be a defining landmark of the new ballpark. Four of them exist: Two will be moved south, the other two northward on existing rails.
I wouldn’t be surprised if they eventually become improved with themed lighting and maybe even … bungee-jumping?
As much as this ballpark is about Oakland’s baseball team forging a new home, so much of the local neighborhood infrastructure needs repairs and improvements. There are train tracks with improper crossings and main roads crumbling -- this project is sure to address it. The shipping terminal has not been active since 2014, and presently serves as a desolate parking lot.
The other geographical realization after visiting Howard Terminal is how close and seamless it would be to Jack London Square and all its amenities.
We know the Bay Area is famous for microclimates, but outside of small variances in wind velocity, weather conditions between the Coliseum and Howard Terminal should be comparable if not identical on a given day or night. Due to sun angles, the baseball diamond will face east, which means the stadium structure will shelter fans and the playing surface from typical onshore breezes out of the west.
Views for days
In New York’s baseball heyday, Yankee Stadium and Polo Grounds were separated by less than 5,000 feet across the Harlem river. Nothing might ever replicate that. However, the Howard Terminal ballpark will only be 5.91 miles in a direct line from Oracle Park. In fact, that venue, plus the San Francisco skyline, the Oakland skyline and the East Bay hills are all visible from the project site.
This suggests elevated views and vistas could be extraordinary from the higher vantages at Howard Terminal.