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May 14, 2019

Port of Oakland Board approves term sheet for ballpark plan

Non-binding vote requires EIR, land use OKs to advance project

Port of Oakland Commissioners have approved a plan that gives the Oakland Athletics four years to advance their quest for a proposed baseball stadium at the Port's Howard Terminal. The seven-member Board of Port Commissioners voted unanimously yesterday to adopt an Exclusive Negotiation Term Sheet.

The document imposes requirements on the baseball team before the Port's governing Board would consider a final ballpark vote. Among them:

--A completed environmental impact report on the stadium proposal;
--Land use approvals from various public agencies; and
--Real estate agreements with the Port and others.

The term sheet gives the A's up to four years to meet the requirements. A report in the Board's May 13 meeting agenda that details the term sheet can be found on the Port's web site.

The Board's vote punctuated a year of negotiations between the Port and baseball team. The A's have stated their intention to build a 35,000-seat stadium at Howard Terminal replacing their current home at the Oakland Coliseum. The A's also plan to build housing at Howard Terminal. The ballpark would be built on Oakland Estuary adjacent to the Port's Jack London Square entertainment district.

The Port emphasized that the Board's vote does not commit the Port to the ballpark project. It said no binding agreements would be considered before the A's meet their obligations.

Before voting, Commissioners adopted an amendment to the term sheet. It committed the Port to negotiating measures, designs and operational standards to ensure that the project doesn't impact or interfere with the Port's use or operations outside of the project. "The Port will consult seaport and maritime stakeholders regarding such measures," the amendment said.

Howard Terminal is one of six marine terminals in Oakland. It hasn't been used for container cargo operations since 2013. The terminal is currently used for vessel berthing, truck and container parking and depot operations, training of longshore workers and other logistics services that support Port operations.

The Port said it would insist on project designs for a ballpark that are compatible with seaport operations as well as uses in the West Oakland and Jack London Square neighborhoods.

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