OAKLAND — Claiming they are still in the game when it comes to keeping the A's in Oakland, city officials and others trying to keep the team in town released results of a study Wednesday claiming a new waterfront baseball park is worth millions to the city's coffers and billions to the local economy.
The study, commissioned by the nonprofit group Let's Go Oakland, claims that building a new 36,000-seat, $500 million baseball-only stadium in the city's Jack London Square area immediately would create 1,661 new construction jobs in Oakland while also generating about $2.6 billion in total economic activity for the city over the next 30 years.
"We really need and want the A's to stay in Oakland," said City Council President Jane Brunner. "The real reason we need to have the Oakland A's is for economic development."
Last December, city officials unveiled three sites in Jack London Square — Howard Terminal, Victory Court and Jack London Square North — where they believe a new ballpark for the Oakland A's can be built. At that time, city leaders also listed the current Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum site as a potential area for a new stadium, although the study released Wednesday did not analyze the economic impact on the area for that site.
Let's Go Oakland commissioned the firm Gruen Gruen + Associates to perform the study and analyze the impacts on the city of Oakland and Alameda County as a whole.
The study's findings included that the city would save 885 current jobs related to baseball operations at the Coliseum while creating an additional 162 jobs. It also estimates property value near Jack London Square would be increased $4.7 billion in 30 years with a new stadium there as opposed to not having a stadium there.
Due to that increase in property values, the study suggests an additional $930 million in property tax funds would come to local agencies in the next 30 years, including $594 million to Oakland and its redevelopment agency. Alameda County would receive $79 million more in property tax money.
In contrast, the study claims the negative economic impacts associated with the A's leaving would be 900 lost jobs — full and part time — and $75 million in lost total economic activity for Oakland. Alameda County stands to lose 950 jobs and $83.5 million in total economic output, according to the study.
Oakland Mayor Ron Dellums said there is another reason to keep the team besides dollar signs, saying that the team "speaks to the spirit and character of Oakland" and that the city has become synonymous with baseball.
Dellums said he believes the next "three to four months will be very critical" in determining the A's future home. He said he believes Oakland has an upper hand because of the Giants' territorial rights in Santa Clara County and because Oakland offers a chance to build a stadium near mass transit, cutting down on car emissions.
"Whether Major League Baseball and the commissioner of baseball and the owner of the A's see it that way," he said, "we'll find that out as time goes on."
Major League Baseball has created a special committee to determine the best city to land the A's. That task force has yet to make any of its findings public.
A's spokesman Bob Rose said the team has no comment on the study released Wednesday and will not comment on stadium issues until the Major League Baseball committee releases its findings.