A's put end to Fremont ballpark plans

A's put end to Fremont ballpark plans

PHOENIX -- Confirming and making official what's been reported for several days, the A's announced that they're no longer interested in pursuing the construction of a new ballpark in Fremont, Calif.

"After much consideration, today we informed Mayor [Bob] Wasserman and City Council members that the Oakland Athletics will cease efforts to relocate our franchise to the city of Fremont," A's owner and managing partner Lew Wolff said in a statement.

Earlier in the day, Wolff sent a letter to Fremont officials explaining the decision and thanking those who supported the project, plans for which were unveiled in November 2006.

The $1.8 billion "ballpark village" proposal featured a 32,000-seat, baseball-only stadium surrounded by commercial, retail and residential units.

"I expressed my regrets and gratitude, especially to those people who shared our vision and spent endless hours in support of our proposal," Wolff said. "However, it became increasingly clear that our ballpark project faced significant delays ahead, and I could not, in good conscience, continue to lead our team down this path."

MLB Commissioner Bud Selig has long contended that the A's need to move out of 42-year-old Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum, a multi-purpose stadium that doubles as the home of the NFL's Oakland Raiders, in order to survive long term, and Wolff made building a new stadium a priority upon purchasing the team in 2005.

After coming up unsuccessful in finding a mutually agreeable construction site in Oakland, Wolff expanded his search and settled on Fremont, which is about 20 miles south of Oakland. But almost immediately after the plans for "Cisco Field" were announced, a variety of hurdles popped up in the early stages of the approval process.

Wolff remained confident through the end of last year that the plan would eventually push through, and there's even a two-page section in the team's 2009 media guide touting Cisco Field as the "Future Home of the Athletics."

Tuesday's announcement comes on the heels of several public expressions of frustration from Wolff, who suggested that he plans to take some time to enjoy his team before exploring other stadium options.

"My focus now is on baseball, with Spring Training and the opening of the 2009 season," Wolff said. "I am extremely excited about the team's prospects this year."

Wolff added that he has no plans to move the A's out of the area.

"My goal and desire for the organization is to determine a way to keep the team in Northern California," he said. "This goal has not changed."

Mychael Urban is a national writer for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.