With the Oakland Athletics on the verge of signing a new ballpark lease, managing partner Lew Wolff reiterated his conditional interest in building a new ballpark in the Coliseum area.
The 10-year lease is pretty standard: the A’s took control of Coliseum concessions (with Ovations contracted to provide them) and will continue that arrangement, but the rent will more than double. The A’s will also have an out clause should the Coliseum’s Joint Powers Authority come to an agreement for a new Oakland Raiders stadium. The A’s will also have the power to buy out the remainder of a lease should a new-ballpark agreement be made with another city, such as San Jose.
What’s interesting in this interview with Mark Purdy: Wolff once again expressed interest in building a new ballpark on the team’s dime in the Coliseum area. He’s not a backer of the Coliseum City plan, but he does see the potential in building new sports facilities at the current Coliseum site. With the Golden State Warriors finally moving forward on a San Francisco arena, the future of Oracle Arena is in doubt, and the current 200-acre site could easily accommodate both a new Raiders stadium and A’s ballpark. From Purdy’s interview:
The “Coliseum City” plan favored by Oakland and Alameda County leaders would involve a massive redevelopment project on both sides of the Nimitz Freeway. Theoretically, this would include both new stadiums for the Raiders and A’s, paid for by development rights to the rest of the property. The financials are further muddled by still-unpaid civic bonds issued for the Raiders’ remodel in 1995. A large Southern California company, Colony Capital, is working with the JPA to assemble the package.
Wolff, however, said he is not interested in allowing another private company to dictate the parameters for a new ballpark. As a developer himself, he hints that he would be interested in looking at the Coliseum site for his own privately financed venture — depending on how the Raiders’ future plays out.
“But under no condition will we become a tenant of anyone in a new facility,” Wolff said. “We have to control our own destiny . . . We would be interested in the land that’s under city control. Once we’ve extended our lease, we can examine that.”
Interesting footnote: Wolff has not been in direct contact with San Jose officials since the city launched a lawsuit to allow the A’s to move there. Why? As an MLB owner, Wolff is party to the suit — so, basically, he’s being sued by San Jose.
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