Lew Wolff is not a fan of Howard Terminal, but Don Knauss sure is.
The Colorox CEO and leader of the Oakland Waterfront Ballpark LLC joined Damon Bruce on 95.7 The Game to share his vision for the port terminal next to Jack London Square.
“I think we could have the premier site in baseball.”
Knauss also explained that he’s had an array of experts from engineering to architecture to environmental science to traffic check out the site, and the consensus is that building at the site is feasible.
“We think that building at Howard Terminal is not any more significant in terms of cost or problem than building anywhere else in the Bay Area.”
“It’s certainly the same type of site that AT&T was built on.”
There are, of course, some major hurdles for Knauss and the Oakland Waterfront LLC to clear. Namely, Wolff, who recently described building at the site as “fiction,” when asked about the topic by John Shea of the San Francisco Chronicle.
Knauss, is not unaware of Wolff’s stance.
“What we’ve got to do, is we’ve got to convince Lew and John Fisher that that site is viable.”
One way to do so, would be to emphasize the bottom line.
“Because I do think that if you have an AT&T-type Park sitting there, I think it’s not only transformational for the city, and the East Bay. I think it’s transformational for the value of the franchise.”
As Knauss explained to Bruce, he’s continually in contact with Oakland Mayor Jean Quan and the city’s leadership and could soon by making a sales pitch to Wolff.
“He’s been pretty open with me and said, ‘Look, once I get the lease negotiations behind me, I’ll be glad to sit down with you and talk about this.’ ”
“But he’s going to be a hard sell.”
From Knauss’ perspective, keeping the team in Oakland is more than just a business matter.
“This is a community asset. We want the A’s to stay where we think they belong—where they’ve been for 45 years.”
Unlike the current ownership, Knauss is actually in a rush to make something happen.
“All we want to do is help keep the team here, demonstrate that the business community is behind them, and we think we’ve got two viable sites. If Lew and the ownership would prefer to build a site at the Coliseum, which is what they say, fine. Let’s get going then on that one.”
Although, he would definitely prefer to build on the Oakland waterfront.
“But we just think we’ve got this unique opportunity down here with Howard Terminal, sitting in the best place in the country, we think, for a ballpark site, and we just don’t think these old facts about that site are relevant anymore. We think there’s a new set of facts and we just hope folks would listen to it.”
Now, it’s time to see if Wolff will listen.
Note: All quotes courtesy of 95.7 The Game. Listen to the full interview with Damon Bruce right here.