On Thursday, the Port of Oakland and a group of prominent local business leaders took a small step toward a potential waterfront ballpark at Howard Terminal by entering into an exclusive negotiating agreement.
The port and the business group, dubbed the Oakland Waterfront Ballpark LLC, now have 10 months to begin exploring the viability and cost of building a stadium at the site, which is just north of Jack London Square. Doug Boxer, the son of Senator Barbara Boxer, and one of the OWB’s leaders, shared his vision for Howard Terminal, via CBS San Francisco.
“This is a 50-acre site on the waterfront and there are many baseball teams that would love to have the opportunity to build a stadium that’s next to shopping, like we have at Jack London Square, Amtrak, a ferry terminal and bus and BART service.”
According to at least one other member of the OWB, it might not just be baseball teams who could be a fit at the site.
The OWB’s Michael Ghielmetti told Steve Taveras of the East Bay Express that he thinks there could be room at Howard Terminal for the A’s and another Oakland franchise.
“The [Golden State] Warriors are looking for a home. We don’t want to close any doors for any potential successful venues for them. It could fit potentially more than one venue. We just want to keep Oakland’s options open I think is the big point.”
To be clear, Ghielmetti is also the CEO of the Signature Development group, which is currently building a waterfront development at the nearby Brooklyn Basin. So, clearly he has a vested interest in drumming up as much excitement as possible about the general area.
Still, it’s worth noting that Joe Lacob, the majority owner of the Warriors, has definitely expressed an interest in the Howard Terminal site in the past. For now, Lacob is, of course, trying to build a bayside arena in San Francisco. However, Lacob is also learning firsthand just how difficult it is to build much of anything in that city.
Here’s what Tim Kawakami of the San Jose Mercury News had to say about the issue in his “Talking Points” blog back in December.
“…a source I trust said that Lacob was VERY interested in the Howard Terminal site.”
As Kawakami goes on to clarify, that interest apparently pertains to Howard Terminal as a possible location for a baseball stadium, not a basketball arena. Lacob expanded upon the opportunities that the site could offer in an email to Kawakami back in July.
Howard Terminal: I am and have been very familiar with this site and I think it has interesting potential as a site for a new baseball stadium. I believe that MLB might hold a similar view; I can’t speak for them. If I were the city of Oakland, I would be excited by the prospect of development of that site and the potentially revolutionary impact on the city of Oakland.
Lacob assured Kawakami that he was still “completely focused” on Piers 30-32 as the future home for the Warriors new area. However, after reading Ghielmetti’s sales pitch and thinking back to Lacob’s email, I can’t help but wonder if eventually Howard Terminal could be in play for Golden State.
So, what do you think? Would Lacob ever consider building an arena on the eastern shore of the Bay? Could the Warriors and the A’s end up playing side by side at Howard Terminal down the line?
Feel free to add your take in the comments section below.