The 130-acre Oakland Coliseum site coveted by the Oakland Athletics ownership is suddenly in demand, with car manufacturer Tesla and sports entrepreneur Mark Hall interested in acquiring all or part of the site.
Last week the A’s offered to buy the entire Oakland Coliseum site for $135 million — the amount of debt remaining on the Coliseum and Oracle Arena. There are multiple factors in play when it comes to the future of the Coliseum and surrounding land. While the NFL’s Oakland Raiders are set to move and the A’s want a new Oakland ballpark, the NBA’s Golden State Warriors are departing Oracle Arena for the Chase Center–a new arena currently under construction in San Francisco–in 2019. That should free up a lot of land for eventual redevelopment, meaning that in any case the future of the site is going to be the subject of considerable discussion. The offer from the Athletics was designed to stave off any other bidders for the land.
Which may not work. Tesla sent a letter to Mayor Libby Schaaf expressing interest in the site, but the Elon Musk-led firm didn’t reveal any details of why the firm would want the 130 acres. Also stepping up is Hall, the Walnut Creek investor who wants part of the Coliseum site — including the Oracle Arena — for a sports development featuring a USL soccer stadium and athletic fields. Interestingly, Hall is offering $85 million for 44 acres of the site and is willing to match the Athletics’ offer of $135 million for all 130 acres. (A rendering of a potential site plan is at the top of this page.)
Hall’s proposal is fascinating on many levels. First, he’s managed to trump the A’s on the PR front: while the A’s aren’t ready to commit to building a new ballpark at the Coliseum site even if the team lands the acreage, Hall is stepping forward with a considerably more advanced plan with a commitment to USL soccer, and he wants a decision by July. (He’s also willing to bet a $85-million development on the back of USL soccer. No MLS pretensions here. Which, given the MLS expansion fee of $150 million and the USL expansion fee of $500,000, may make him the smartest person involved in these discussions.) Will Schaaf and the Oakland/Alameda County officials go forward with a plan to grant the A’s exclusive bargaining rights, or we see bidding for the 130 acres? This will be a fascinating decision.
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