Speaking about 22 hours before this crucial vote, A chairman Dave Kaval still had no idea what to expect.
“Our future in Oakland is at stake,” Kaval said in an interview with ESPN Monday afternoon, “and we’re doing everything we can to get a ‘yes’ vote tomorrow on our plan and keep the A’s rooted in Oakland. But we don’t know if we’ll get a positive vote. There are still a lot of areas where we are very far from the city, and we go into the vote without knowing how it’s going to play out. “
A two-decade process to secure a new stadium in the Bay Area has reached what Major League Baseball commissioner Rob Manfred called the “end” ahead of last week’s All-Star game. There have been unsuccessful proposals in San Jose, Fremont and several sites in Oakland, notably around Laney College. Renovations to the current Colosseum site, where the A’s have played since 1968, were deemed unsustainable in large part because of the team’s stated desire for a downtown location.
All that’s apparently left to keep the A’s from leaving Oakland – and following the recent paths of the NBA Golden State Warriors and NFL Las Vegas Raiders – is a 35-year-old waterfront ball park proposal. 000 spaces at the Howard Terminal site in the Port of Oakland.
The A’s made public proposals in April that they would privately fund the stadium, which will cost around $ 1 billion, while also providing $ 450 million in community benefits and organizing an additional private investment of $ 11 billion. dollars to eventually build the surrounding neighborhood. But the City of Oakland made a counter-proposal on Friday that Kaval said “lacks detail and detail and doesn’t really answer any of the questions we have that need to be addressed to keep moving forward.”
The biggest problem comes from the $ 855 million the A’s asked the city to pay for infrastructure improvements using taxes generated by the project. The A’s proposed two infrastructure funding districts to cover that cost, but the city rejected the proposal to create an additional district near Jack London Square, leaving what Kaval estimated to be a shortage of $ 352 million that the A’s A should cover.
“It’s an extraordinary amount of money,” said Kaval, who has been leading Stadium A efforts since joining the team in November 2016. “And not having specificity is a major concern. on the project – the condominium transfer tax, a transport tax which obviously also increases the cost. These are all elements that are problematic. And we have been clear that the project cannot do everything. We can’t fix all of Oakland’s problems, but there is a lot we can do to make it a better community and keep the As’s here for many generations to come. And that is why we are looking for an affirmative vote on our plan. “
As’s need at least five council members to approve their plan, or four council members plus Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf. Kaval said there had been “ongoing negotiations” over the weekend and until Monday, but the two sides “remained significantly separated.”
The mayor’s office declined to comment when contacted by ESPN on Monday. Justin Berton, spokesperson for Mayor Schaaf, issued a statement saying, “The city and the A’s continue their dialogue today with the common goal of making a world-class baseball stadium a reality. The city will continue to advocate for a proposal that supports and serves Oakland and our entire region, provides affordable housing, public parks, great jobs and other direct community benefits, all without risk to our community. port, our taxpayers or general city or county funds. “
The A’s lease in what is now called RingCentral Coliseum expires after the 2024 season. If finally approved, Howard Terminal would not be ready until 2027, leaving the A’s with a two-year gap to cover. in Oakland.
In the meantime, team officials have continued to explore Las Vegas and surrounding areas as an alternative. Kaval and A’s owner John Fisher have made three trips to southern Nevada this year and plan to return there on Wednesday. Manfred said last week that it would be “a mistake” to label the Vegas option a bluff, calling it “a viable alternative for a major league club”. A “no” vote on Tuesday – city council members will meet at 9 a.m. PT – could spark conversations with other potential relocation sites such as Portland, Nashville, Vancouver and Montreal, among others.
Kaval is uncertain whether the city will ultimately vote on the A’s plan, which was presented to Oakland officials in early 2021, or the city’s counter-offer from Friday, adding that a “yes” vote on the latter would be “akin to a” no “vote because the team does not approve.
“In a lot of ways, this is our last time at bat in Oakland,” Kaval said. “But if we get a win tomorrow and a deal we agree with, we can send it in extra innings and hopefully get the final win in the fall. ”