The Oakland Athletics have finally settled on a site for their new ballpark, and have hired Sasaki, Snøhetta, Studio T-Square, and HOK to not only design the stadium, but to also better integrate it into the surrounding urban fabric. Ending years of contentious debate over where to build, the A’s have chosen the lakeside Peralta Community College District in downtown Oakland, California.
Sasaki, Snøhetta, and Oakland-based Studio T-Square will lead master planning, urban design efforts, and build a community engagement process. HOK and Snøhetta will collaborate on the design of the new ballpark and how it interacts with the master plan.
No images have been released as of yet, but the team and design firms involved are hoping that the new stadium will catalyze investment along Lake Merritt without alienating the community.
“Our goal is to create the best ballpark experience for our fans, players, and community. It is critical for our ballpark to truly integrate into the fabric of Oakland,” said Oakland A’s President Dave Kaval, in a press release.
Craig Dykers, founding partner at Snøhetta, also stressed that the project wouldn’t be an insular experience.
“With its new home closer to downtown Oakland, the project will re-invigorate the relationship between the A’s and the city as a new kind of ballpark that acts as a center for sport, wellness and culture,” he said.
Even with the promised outreach, community groups have been opposed to the plan owing to fears of displacement, gentrification, and potential environmental damage to the sensitive estuaries nearby. Another potential wrench in the plan is the presence of hazardous materials in the soil that would need to be remediated. An unknown amount of gasoline and other toxic substances have seeped into the ground and water at the site over the years, and no one knows how much the clean up will cost.
Still, the new stadium will be a step up for the Athletics, set to become the only major league sports team in Oakland after the Raiders leave in 2019. The A’s current Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum is a 51-year-old concrete eyesore that the team currently shares with the Raiders, and that regularly floods with sewage when the plumbing backs up.
The team claims that the new stadium will be privately funded and put up to $3.05 billion into the local economy, and that construction should finish in 2023.