The A's have cleared several obstacles in their pursuit of a new waterfront stadium at Oakland's Howard Terminal, and MLB commissioner Rob Manfred has taken notice.
Manfred was in Seattle on Tuesday for the Mariners' game against the Astros, and discussed the A's and Rays' stadium situations with Ryan Divish of the Seattle Times.
"I think that Oakland has made a lot of progress," Manfred said. "I think the identification of the Howard Terminal site as their preferred site is an important step forward. I think the progress they've made with respect to the possibility of development at the Coliseum site is also important given that the availability of public funding in the state of California is going to be very, very limited."
The A's are hoping to build a 34,000-seat ballpark, which would open in the spring of 2023. The current Coliseum site would be redeveloped to include new housing, offices, and restaurants, while keeping the original baseball diamond intact as part of a park.
[RELATED: A's 'pleasantly surprised' top pick Davidson was available]
"I give (A's owner) John Fisher a lot of credit," Manfred said. "This is a difficult, difficult undertaking at this point in the history of the state of California. It's very different than it was two decades ago. They've shown a true commitment to the city of Oakland in terms of trying to get it done."
Manfred also noted that the A's are ahead of the Rays in their plan for a new ballpark.
The A's proposed waterfront ballpark took another step forward Wednesday.
The California State Assembly passed Assembly Bill 1191, which would allow for the A's to construct a privately financed ballpark at Oakland's Howard Terminal site. The legislation passed 56-0, according to A's president Dave Kaval.
"We still have much work ahead of us, but this is another significant milestone for our club and our city,” Kaval said in a statement Wednesday.
[RELATED: Piscotty receives 54th Hutch Award]
The bill, authored by Oakland Assemblymember Rob Bonta, will now move to the state senate for consideration.
On May 13, the Port of Oakland's Board of Commissioners unanimously approved a term sheet with the A's that would give the team four years to complete all of the preparatory work needed to lease Howard Terminal. Those steps include securing necessary land use permits and conducting an environmental impact review.
Another step toward bringing a new ballpark to Howard Terminal at Jack London Square has been implemented.
On Monday, the A's announced the Board of Port Commissioners voted 7-to-0 to approve a term sheet between the Port of Oakland and the Oakland A's. This will outline the terms for the possible development of approximately 50 acres of property at the terminal.
"The vote is the culmination of a year of negotiations between the Port and A’s and is an important preliminary step in the process of public and regulatory reviews and real estate negotiations," the A's said in a press release.
“We are grateful to the Board of Port Commissioners,” Oakland A’s President Dave Kaval said. “In November, we announced our vision to build a waterfront ballpark and provide a baseball experience for our fans like no other.
"However, this project is bigger than baseball. It will deliver real economic, civic, and cultural benefits, including job creation and training opportunities; an inclusive approach to economic and community development; and new civic, cultural, and recreational amenities. Today’s vote is an important step in the process and we look forward to continuing to work with the Port, the City of Oakland, and the greater community.”
[RELATED: A's clear crucial hurdle to build new ballpark]
As mentioned, this is just another step. More work needs to be done, including an Environmental Impact Report that needs to be completed, the A's securing the right lands use approvals from the City of Oakland, the Port and "a variety of state and regional authorities."
Still, it's moving forward in the right direction and it appears Kaval is living up to his promises that work is being done and actions are being taken.