MESA, Ariz. — After spending a few days at spring training, A’s president Dave Kaval heads back to the Bay Area on Tuesday to continue work on the team’s search for a ballpark site.
There are so many factors to consider — location, public transportation access, parking, government obligations to be fulfilled, etc. — it’s easy to understand why it’s such an all-encompassing process.
Kaval shared some detailed thoughts on all of the potential sites the A’s are considering during a visit on the A’s Insider Podcast. Here’s some highlights:
The A’s have narrowed down to four locations in Oakland to build a privately financed ballpark: Brooklyn Basin, Howard Terminal, Laney College and the current Coliseum site on which they play.
Are these four all uniquely different from each other or do they share some common traits?
“I think all of them can fulfill our long-term vision of this urban area around the ballpark,” Kaval said. “Think of Fenway, Wrigley … all of them can achieve that vision. We want to make sure with such a big decision that we swing for the fences. … I think the Coliseum is probably the hardest to create kind of an urban village, but I think it’s possible, and we’re not ruling it out.
"But all the other locations can have neighborhoods around the ballpark where people can live and you can just have a really intimate experience around the ballpark.”
There hasn’t been the same buzz about Brooklyn Basin as Howard Terminal. Located close to the water, does it offer similar attributes as Howard Terminal?
“It’s very close. There’s a couple different places the ballpark could go down there,” he said. “You’re closer to the water, which is exciting, and I think being on the water provides the ability to have water taxis, ferries, other transit options that kind of lower the requirement for parking, lower the requirement for walking or biking. And that actually can be a really great thing for the fan experience.”
Howard Terminal offers a big potential payoff with the terrific views available. But there are some substantial hurdles, not the least of which are the government regulations and approvals required to build right along the water.
“If you want to actually develop something in there, you need to have legislation from the state of California. That’s just something that has to happen,” Kaval said. “So when we think about the steps to get the individual sites (approved) and break ground, it’s just another one you have to do at that site. So you have to weigh, is it worth the time, effort, political opposition that might come up to pursue that type of effort? The site is so iconic that we’ve been keeping it in the mix because, wow, it could just be something that is a game changer.”
That’s just a sample of the many topics Kaval touched on over the course of the podcast.