Oakland A's pitch a new ballpark with an answer to the city's housing crisis

Oakland's unconventional stadium proposal

At bat since 1901, the Oakland Athletics have called the East Bay home for half a century. But as of late, they've been sporting a New Age attitude with four playoff appearances in the last seven years and a bonafide numbers crunching approach in a game where stats mean everything.

Now, team president Dave Kaval is pitching a new deal to a city left behind by its two other pro sports teams: a brand new stadium that wouldn't cost taxpayers a dime.

"We're committed to privately financing the ballpark," Kaval told "CBS This Morning: Saturday" co-host Michelle Miller. "It's been a guiding principle and a key point of our project from the beginning,"

The extras are so out-of-the-box, he's betting city hall won't pass up the bargain. The A's want to foot the bill for a splashy new ballpark and also build 6,000 new housing units in Oakland with the promise that many would be affordable.

Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf is more than eyeing the project. She's nearly sold.

"Housing is the number one need in the Bay Area right now. Housing at every income level, but especially affordable housing for our workforce," Schaaf said.
 
It's an attempt to ease what's been dubbed the Silicon Valley effect -- a housing crisis San Francisco experienced a decade ago that's crept across the bay. Median home prices in the Oakland metro area have more than doubled in the last 10 years to nearly $763,000. Rents are up 83 percent during that same time. Last year, the average rent in Oakland topped $2,600 a month.
That's more expensive than Washington D.C., Seattle and San Diego.

"I think it is a new way to look at ballpark development and I think it's great that we're working in Oakland. Oakland has always been a city on the vanguard of new ideas and new projects," Kaval said.
 
The A's know just how hard it is to find housing in the Bay Area. They've been looking for a new home for decades. The Coliseum is baseball's fifth-oldest stadium and it's been plagued with structural problems.

"We need a new home -- one that can generate the type of revenue so we can invest in our players, win more World Championships and have more success on and off the field," Kaval said.

Kaval showed us where the A's hope to build the new ballpark and neighborhood: Howard Terminal. It's an industrial waterfront area adjacent to a retail district in Jack London Square. The team also wants to redevelop the site where they currently play by building a mixed-use neighborhood and transforming the Coliseum's playing field into a park.

"We spent almost a year working with the community, doing outreach. We've done 24 community workshops. We've listened to the community and understood what their concerns are," Kaval said. 

Oakland United, a local group that has taken part in dozens of community workshops hosted by the A's, believes any development by the A's should result in a community benefits agreement that would provide jobs for local residents, affordable housing and investments in community services.

"They are not some fly-by-night developer that's going to build something, sell, and get out of town. They know that their brand depends on community good will," Mayor Libby Schaaf said.
 
But the Howard Terminal site is far from a home run. If the plan goes forward, it will need an extensive environmental clean-up. And it's located about a mile away from the nearest mass transit station. The team is proposing a gondola to ferry fans from downtown Oakland, over an interstate highway, to the new ballpark. But so far there's been no word on how that part of the plan will be funded.
 
"Well what it means for Oakland is jobs, economic development, over $3 billion in economic stimulus from this project alone, 5,000 new jobs, a huge investment," Kaval said.  

They hope to be open their new stadium by 2023.