Taking a cue from the success of the San Francisco Giants’ AT&T Park, the Oakland A’s have revealed plans for a new ballpark, a frantic “jewel box” concoction, conceived by Danish firm Bjarke Ingels Group, located at the waterfront.
Years in the making, the ambitious plan would dismantle the current A’s home, the circa-1966 Oakland Coliseum, a polarizing concrete behemoth traumatized by the 1995 addition of Mount Davis, and turn it into “a tech and housing hub that would keep the Oracle Arena as is, while stripping the massive stadium there down to a low-rise sports park and amphitheater,” notes Matier and Ross.
The proposed 55-acre ballpark complex would be located at the Port of Oakland’s Howard Terminal, north of Jack London Square, overlooking the city of Alameda.
“Our design for the A’s new home at the heart of Oakland’s revitalized waterfront seeks to return the game to its roots as the natural meeting place for the local community,” says Bjarke Ingels, BIG founding partner. “An elevated treelined promenade frames the ballpark on all sides, dipping down to meet the public square and open the field to the water and city views. The perimeter park connects a cascade of social spaces for the fans to enjoy the sport on game days and extends the urban fabric with a neighborhood park to be enjoyed all 365 days a year.”
A ballpark within a park, the stadium would feature 27,000 seats closer to home plate: the aforementioned wraparound park framing the stadium, tapering down to the waterfront, which could host an additional 10,000 standing-room fans.
“In other words,” beams Ingels, “we are bringing the ‘park’ back in ‘ballpark.’”
Cafes, shops, eateries, co-working spaces, gyms, and—most notably—homes would fill the concourse level and surrounding areas.
While the structure, which would be nestled among several high-rises, lacks the dramatic punch of more cohesive Bay Area designs (e.g., Apple Park, Chase Center), the ballpark would sit next to two white shipping container cranes, the unofficial symbols of Oakland.
The ballpark might also feature a gondola, which, according to Matier and Ross, would “shuttle 6,000 fans an hour from downtown Oakland over Interstate 880 and the railroad tracks to Jack London Square.” A seemingly more practical element compared to the Easter-egg gondola found just outside San Francisco’s Transbay Transit Center.
The franchise revealed the new ballpark plans Wednesday, with additional steps to include community feedback, an environmental review process, and an agreement with the Port of Oakland.
The A’s hope to build both the new ballpark and renovate the existing 111-acre stadium site with 100 percent private funding.
If all goes well, the team wants to break ground on the project by 2021 with plans to open the park in 2023.
Update: Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf responded affirmatively to the proposed project, tweeting: “The [Howard Terminal] site is the right project, in the right neighborhood, and at the right price to our taxpayers. It’s a community space for all Oaklanders.”