On April 23, 2021, the Oakland A’s publicly released a Development Term Sheet for their proposed development at Howard Terminal that detailed their plan to rely on more than a billion dollars in Oakland taxpayer money to make their mega-development a reality. The sheer scale of the public subsidy the A’s are demanding dwarfs the public dollars used for any sports facility in California's recent history.
What the Term Sheet Includes:
- TWO Infrastructure Financing Districts that syphon increases in tax revenue away from the City's general fund to pay for the project.
- $495 million in public tax dollars to fund onsite infrastructure improvements.
- $360 million in public tax dollars to fund offsite infrastructure improvements.
- $450 million in public tax dollars to fund community benefits. Any community benefits not covered by this funding will have to be financed using other public sources.
The Term Sheet revealed that the A’s want the City to use $855 million in public tax dollars to pay for off-site and on-site infrastructure, including costs that are typically covered by private real estate developers such as the clean-up of the hazardous materials on site.
The A’s Term Sheet also reveals that taxpayer dollars will be used to fund the $450 million dollars in community benefits that the A’s have promised for years and often use to sell their project to the public. Despite engaging in an 18-month Community Benefits Agreement process, the A’s have now publicly admitted that they don’t intend to contribute any private dollars to community benefits.
Additionally, because of the tax mechanism the A’s have proposed, the cost of ongoing infrastructure maintenance and operations (police, fire, public transit) would need to be paid for through other public sources.
The City Council should demand that the A’s provide transparency around their intentions for both the Coliseum and Howard Terminal, commit to developing the project with private funds and limited public taxpayer participation – and only consider the Term Sheet once the Environmental Impact Report, the Community Benefits Agreement and the Seaport Compatibility Measures are all complete and enforceable.
The City Council must refuse to bow to the A’s threats and should lay out the terms required to make the Howard Terminal project a win for the City and its residents, not just for John Fisher and his co-owners at MLB.