Team A took another positive step in their quest to build a new stadium in Auckland this week, As reported by Sarah Ravani of the San Francisco Chronicle, That Auckland City Council voted (six to two) to endorse a 3,500-page environmental impact review for the Howard Terminal ballpark project.
“We’ve never been this far about making our vision for the Waterfront Waterfront stadium a reality,” Club A president Dave Caval said after the council vote. “There is still a lot of work to be done. This is an important achievement and a milestone to be achieved.”
The stadium construction is part of a $12 billion large-scale mixed-use development plan that also includes the construction of extensive housing, office space, retail space and hotels in the surrounding area. If it is eventually approved, the new stadium will give Team A a waterfront home with the capacity to host approximately 35,000 fans each night. It will also finally relocate the team from the Oakland Coliseum – the last remnant of once popular multi-sport facilities that have been gradually phased out not only across Major League Baseball but the majority of North American professional sports.
City council testimony to Howard Terminal EIR has not been without its critics. Ravani writes that concerned citizens and council members who voted against the testimony raised questions about the extent of the review’s achievement of affordable housing, the impact on port functions, the traffic consequences of nearby neighborhoods, the removal of toxic waste, and rail safety in relation to nearby tracks.
It is worth emphasizing that EIR certification is just one step towards final project approval. The city will still need to agree to the final terms of the project, and the exact timeline for any such vote remains unclear. Posted by Annie Chaka from the San Jose Mercury News That the City of Oakland and Athletics still needed to complete negotiations on key economic principles of the plan, including – among other critical elements – who would finance the infrastructure and how much of the proposed housing units would be allocated to affordable housing. These negotiations can take months, as can subsequent studies (such as a deep dive into traffic management) which are now set to track the effective interest rate. However, Auckland and Auckland Mayor Libby Schaaf – a proponent of the deal – described the EIR’s certification as a landmark victory.
“Tonight’s city council vote was a historic moment for the future of Auckland,” Schaaf said after the vote. “The accompanying decision by council members Bass, Kaplan and Caleb ensures that all Aucklanders benefit from the proposed waterfront playground area, a world-class development of 18 acres of new public parks, and 3,000 housing units — including new affordable housing — They are built to the most sustainable and highest environmental standards on our waterfront.
“Tonight’s work is more than a milestone – it’s a giant leap forward in our shared mission to create a regional destination that restores the waterfront to the public, connects a vibrant new neighborhood to our downtown and provides tens of thousands of good union jobs to our residents – and does it all while preserving the roots of A Our beloved in Auckland.”
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