A’s choose site near Oakland’s Lake Merritt for new ballpark

The run-down Coliseum had multiple sewage problems in 2013 that caused damage during games. (Jeff Chiu/AP)

OAKLAND, Calif. — The Athletics have picked land near Oakland’s Lake Merritt as the site for a new, privately financed ballpark.

Team President Dave Kaval said in a letter sent Tuesday evening to the Peralta Community College District that he believes the location presents an opportunity to keep the city’s "last professional sports team in Oakland for the long term."

"The A’s need a modern venue so that we can put the most competitive product on the field and provide the best experience for our fans," Kaval wrote. The team has been playing at the Coliseum since 1968.

The land sits between Lake Merritt and Interstate 880 and includes commercial warehouses, parking lots, and administrative offices for the district. It is also easily accessible by several freeways and close to downtown Oakland.

The team and the college district, which owns the 13-acre site, will now begin negotiations.

But the proposal is already facing opposition.

At a Peralta Community College District board hearing Tuesday evening, residents of nearby neighbourhoods, and faculty and students of Laney College protested the proposed stadium hours after the team handed off the letter to college Chancellor Jowel Laguerre and district leaders, the East Bay Times reported.

The run-down Coliseum, shared with the NFL’s Raiders and the last venue with both Major League Baseball and football, had multiple sewage problems in 2013 that caused damage during games.

Kaval was hired last year in a restructuring of the A’s top ownership and management team. He holds the same position with the MLS San Jose Earthquakes. There, he pulled off the development of the Quakes’ state-of-the art Avaya Stadium, which boasts the largest outdoor bar in North America.

The small-budget A’s won consecutive AL West titles in 2012 and ’13, losing in five games of the division series to the Detroit Tigers in both years. But they still consider a new ballpark the top priority to be a regular contender.