Facts vs. Claims re: Oakland Waterfront Ballpark District at Howard Terminal

Date Posted: October 20th, 2021 @ 5:34 PM
Last Updated: October 21st, 2021 @ 1:38 PM

The City of Oakland has asked Alameda County to take action and express their intent to opt in to the Enhanced Infrastructure Financing District (EIFD) over the Waterfront Ballpark District at Howard Terminal. This will provide critical funding for the project to support affordable housing, parks, and other public benefits—all paid for by revenues generated by the project.

A project of this magnitude generates a lot of interest and discussion by various stakeholders, and it is essential to inform subsequent action with accurate information.

The Alameda County Board of Supervisors will hold a regular meeting on October 26th, and their requested participation in the Enhanced Infrastructure Financing District for the proposed Oakland Waterfront Ballpark District at Howard Terminal EIFD is to be on the agenda. Visit https://bos.acgov.org/regular-meetings/ for information on how to access the meeting.

Below are factual corrections to false claims recently made. You may also visit the FAQs for additional information.

Is the A’s project a bad deal for Oakland and all Alameda County residents? Is the County being asked to support a private project that will divert resources away from critical programs and services including public health and safety?

The proposed project will add – not divert – resources for critical public health and safety services. It will create $65M ADDITIONAL, one-time revenues for County services and more than $5M EVERY YEAR in additional annual revenues for health care, early childhood education and homelessness. These are funds that would not be available “but for” the development of the proposed project. Additionally, the proceeds will pay for desperately needed affordable housing, public parks, and public infrastructure.

Is Alameda County being pressured to commit to funding the Oakland A’s project before the City of Oakland has even reached a final agreement with the team and the Environmental Impact Report is completed?

The County’s commitment is needed in order to reach final agreement on a financial plan for the proposed project. Without that commitment, the project will not move forward. The City and the Port, through actions of the City Council and Board of Port Commissioners, have both made public, nonbinding commitments to this project, and the City is simply asking the County to do the same. The EIFD would not actually be formed until all regulatory approvals are granted, including all environmental approvals.

Will taxpayers be left on the hook for over $400 million for onsite infrastructure exclusively benefiting the A’s private development?

The project is paid for with “but for” taxes – the EIFD does not raise taxes, divert existing taxes, or utilize any tax revenues other than those generated onsite by the project itself.

Furthermore, the “taxpayer” in this case is the developer – the A’s. It is the developer’s increased property taxes – resulting from development of the site itself – that will be captured and used to fund the following public benefits:

  • · 18.3 acres of public parks
  • · 450 affordable housing units on-site and significantly more in the surrounding area
  • · 1.5-mile extension of the Bay Trail
  • · Remediation of existing environmental contamination
  • · Sea-level rise protection through 2100

Do the terms rely on the promise of future benefits that depend on the A’s keeping their word?

Benefits would be enforced by the City through a binding, enforceable development agreement.

Will funding for other county needs be drawn away because of a $350 million funding gap for the offsite infrastructure?

No County funds will be used to fund the $350 million in offsite infrastructure. This infrastructure will be the sole responsibility of the City of Oakland and will be funded entirely through the City’s own "but for" taxes directly generated by the project as well as federal, state, and regional transportation funds.

I’ve been hearing that the terms proposed so far, as well as the Howard Terminal DEIR, do nothing to address the considerable impact this project will have on the operations at the Port of Oakland, which provides good-paying, working-class jobs to tens of thousands of Alameda County residents and is crucial to the economic success of our entire region. I’ve also been hearing that the A’s have offered no mitigation measures for the increase in traffic that will clog the port and 880, and the serious conflicts between the 24/7 demands of a working industrial port and new residential or commercial tenants. Can you please explain?

Howard Terminal is currently used primarily for short-term container and chassis storage. There are approximately 25 FTE employees on the 50-acre property; the site is no longer suitable for Port maritime shipping and not required for Port operations. See Port for additional information at https://www.portofoakland.com/howard-terminal/faqs/.

Additionally, the Port of Oakland has been working with various stakeholders to create Seaport Compatibility Measures to ensure the project does not interfere with Port operations and that it mitigates potential impacts such as congestion and increased air emissions; these mitigation measures will be required of the project. More information about the Seaport Compatibility Measures can be found at https://www.portofoakland.com/howard-terminal/seaport-compatibility-measures/

After being burned by “Mt. Davis” and other sports debacles, is this asking the county to get back into sports business?

The County is being asked to help finance critically needed public infrastructure, public parks, and affordable housing. The County is not being asked to get back into the sports business. The City and County would have no role in the financing, ownership, or management of the proposed Waterfront Ballpark at Howard Terminal, which, unlike the Coliseum, will be entirely privately funded, maintained, and operated.

Is the A’s proposal for a huge commercial development at the Port of Oakland that includes luxury condos and high-rise office space – and happens to include a ballpark – a bad deal for our entire county?

The project generates almost $65 million in one-time and more than $5.4 million in new annual taxes to the County, even after participation in an EIFD over the project site. After the 45-year opt-in period, new revenues to the County would increase to approximately $16 million per year (measured in today’s dollars). As noted above, the new project-generated revenue will provide funding needed to support the County’s early childhood education, homelessness, and essential health services.

Additionally, the project will result in 7,100 new full-time jobs and 25,000 construction jobs, and according to the Bay Area Council, will result in $7.3 billion in total economic impact in the first10 years.

If constituents are opposed to spending public dollars on private developments, should the County say NO to spending Alameda County tax dollars to fund the A’s project?

The public dollars generated by this private development will be expended FOR public benefits, not the other way around. Under state law, EIFD funds can only be spent on affordable housing and public improvements of communitywide significance.