Bjarke Ingels Group AKA BIG Architects brings innovative design to Oakland A’s Ballpark at Howard Terminal
The Oakland Athletics and Bjarke Ingels Group (BIG Architects) are introducing an exciting design plan that has its new ballpark at Howard Terminal in Jack London Square, while it transforms the Oakland Coliseum into a kind of tech park (But we need manufacturing jobs, and they exist, you know?) that retains the Oracle Arena.
In the process, the Oakland A’s have answered the question of what they’re going to do with the ballpark – it’s on the waterfront near Jack London Square, and not at the Coliseum.
Coliseum Stadium Erased In Oakland A’s Plan
In the plan, the Oakland A’s have announced they intend to kill or at least subdue any prospects for any other kind of professional field sport in Oakland, and have totally ignored the revenue potential from sports gaming and gambling for Oakland.
But first, the Oakland Howard Terminal Jewel Box Plan.
The ballpark that Bjarke Ingels Group or BIG Architects, have released is exciting and innovative. It effectively places the baseball diamond within a futuristic structure that consists of right-angles, open plans, and green roofs. The stadium has as its bookends two triangle form structures that, from a project financing standpoint, should be hotels. Overall, it’s a box design that opens out to allow a view of the Bay and Alameda Point from that position on Oakland’s waterfront.
And the surrounding buildings indicate a built-out Oakland A’s Baseball District in Jack London Square. And given its investment catalyzing potential, its better to say it’s going to eat Jack London Square. Vivian Kahn, where are you?
The one problem with the design seems to be the lack of a full roof space to protect viewers from elements like rain. It’s also rather inflexible in its ability to be used for other events, like football, for example.
Oakland Must Think About Its Future And Carefully Execute The A’s Plan
Oakland has to make a decision on its future before this is given the green-light: between the Coliseum and Howard Terminal, Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf has turned over roughly one-eighth of prime flatlands area to one group for land use planning: the Oakland A’s.
Yes, the A’s need the extra land to pay for the game-changing stadium planned for Oakland’s ballpark. But that’s only if its entirely privately financed. There is tax increment financing that can be used, and should be – because it allows less land for the A’s and some ability to capture property tax revenue for economic development use. Hopefully, Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf is willing to open her mind to its use – to date she has not shown she is.
Because of that in the A’s context, we get a plan that takes away the old, the Oakland Coliseum, for the new, Howard Terminal.
The Oakland Coliseum as we know it has been killed in the A’s plan. This, as other states with sports stadiums and arenas are ranking in good money from sports gaming. There has been no talk of how Oakland can raise revenue from sports gaming and gambling, and the City and the County of Alameda continue to show little interest, if any, in realizing the vast revenue potential the Coliseum offers.
In all, this is one more example of the Oakland and San Francisco Public Sector giving away its once great ability to do big projects to the private sector. The A’s project is exciting and big, and something Oakland sorely needs. But just because that’s the case does not mean we should do exactly what the Athletics want without any thought for how Oakland’s future is impacted.
The Oakland Coliseum Stadium should remain and be made as a shrine to all of the great history in Oakland, as much as it offers room for the return of NFL Football and the arrival of professional soccer.
Oakland should not release its dream of big-city status. The Mayor seems bent on Oakland being a borough to San Francisco, rather than its own, unique place. That has to stop. We can make the Oakland we seek in the A’s plan, without effectively taking it from the A’s.
Thanks to Oakland A’s President Dave Kaval for this exciting dream of a plan. A true vision for Oakland’s future. Now, let’s get to work on how to make it happen without selling our soul in the process.
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