The Oakland City Council will be meeting today at noon to decide if Howard Terminal should be on the ballot this November. If the measure passes, voters can decide if public funds should be used to pay for public infrastructure costs related to the project. The meeting comes days after the project passed a critical vote to allow the port land to be used for non-port-related development.
The resolution is introduced by Councilmember Noel Gallo, the one council member who voted to reject the proposed financial term sheet in July of 2021. The document shows that the ballot measure may ask city residents the following:
Shall the Oakland City Council approve spending public funds, which may include but not be limited to grants, bonds, loans, existing tax revenue or future project-generated revenue, to pay costs related to development of the Oakland Athletics’ proposed baseball stadium and real estate project at Howard Terminal, including a portion or all of the onsite and offsite public infrastructure (e.g., sidewalks, streets, utilities for electricity, gas, water), public parks, affordable housing, or other project costs?
None of the money will be used for the construction of the privately-financed ballpark. Rather, the public will be investing in infrastructure that hopes to benefit the community and its connection to Howard Terminal. The city has already applied for over $300 million in state funds and is actively seeking more funds from the state and federal governments to fund the public infrastructure work.
Councilmember Gallo’s resolution writes that the motion is meant to uphold the city’s “long and proud history of providing its residents with the right to have their voices heard directly on major public funding and tax issues through ballot measures.” The measure also states that “thousands of Oakland voters have signed petitions that have been delivered to the City Council demanding that the City Council place an advisory question on the November 2022 ballot.”
Today’s vote by the City Council will determine the future path for the Oakland Athletics, though does little to disarm the few CEQA-related lawsuits. If the city council approves the measure, city residents will be able to decide on November 8th, 2022, to elect “an advisory measure that would advise the City Council on the voters’ opinion regarding the approval of spending public funds to support infrastructure or any other costs related to the development of the A’s proposed stadium and real estate project at Howard Terminal.”
The overall master plan for Howard Terminal is centered around the 35,000-person ballpark that would host the Oakland A’s. However, the Oakland A’s, the project developer, promises to create a mixed-use neighborhood. The plans include 3,000 residential units, 1.5 million square feet of office space, 270,000 square feet of mixed retail, cultural and civic functions, a 3,500-seat performance theater, a 400-room hotel, and 18 acres of public open space. The project will also include a certain percentage of affordable housing.
Bjarke Ingels Group is the leading architecture firm for the design concepts and construction for the new development plan. Gensler is the executive architect of the ballpark, and James Corner Field Operations is the landscape architect and shares responsibility for the master planning with BIG. For more information about the project, see our previous coverage here.
The vote comes as the MLB and A’s continue to openly muse about moving the team to Las Vegas. If this were to happen, it would be the third and last remaining major league team to leave Oakland. The Raiders moved to Las Vegas in 2020, and the Warriors moved to San Francisco in 2019.
The City Council meeting is scheduled to start on zoom today, July 5th, starting at 12 PM. Howard Terminal is Agenda Item #10. For information about the meeting and how to attend, see the meeting agenda here, or enter the zoom call here.
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Oakland loves to shoot itself in the foot. Again and again and again. Let’s not be fooled here. This is another ploy by organized labor to get the developer to use their people, nothing more. Masked in the do-good language of “giving citizens a voice”. In the process the A’s will end up moving to Vegas and the anti-development communists that have far too much power will win yet again. It’s amazing how well Oakland does given that the lunatics run the asylum.
The vote to put the project on the ballot failed.