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Oakland Sues Alameda County Over Potential Coliseum Land Sale

Oakland A's

Oakland has sued Alameda County over a potential sale of its share of Coliseum land to the Oakland A’s, filing the lawsuit in county Superior Court Friday. 

As they continue to plan a proposed new ballpark at the waterfront Howard Terminal site, the A’s have also pitched a redevelopment of the RingCentral Coliseum site. More exact parameters of the development could take shape over time, but the A’s have released a broad vision that includes tearing down the Coliseum, retaining Oakland Arena (formerly Oracle Arena) as an event venue, and redeveloping the surrounding the land with mixed-use amenities.

Alameda County opted in April to move forward with a sale of its 50% share of the 155-acre site to the A’s for $85 million and, while the transaction has not been finalized, city officials have raised concerns since that decision was made. The city, which jointly owns the Coliseum site with the county, is now seeking an injunction that would stop the sale from proceeding and force negotiations between the city and the county. Oakland officials contend that Alameda County is in violation of California’s Surplus Land Act, a claim that county officials have refuted. More from the San Francisco Chronicle:

Oakland officials accused the county of violating the Surplus Lands Act, a state law that requires publicly owned surplus lands to be considered for affordable housing before the lands are sold or leased.

The Surplus Lands Act requires that public agencies negotiate with other interested public agencies first, Oakland City Attorney Barbara Parker’s office said.

The law requires the county to negotiate “in good faith” for at least 90 days, but the county “has not complied with this mandate,” the complaint alleges. It states that if the sale goes through, any plans to develop the space into affordable housing is “extinguished.”

County officials have said that they have been trying to get out of the sports business and had been in discussions with the city since 2015 to sell the county share — to no avail.

By owning 100% of the land, the city would in theory have more leverage in discussions with the A’s about future plans for the site, and what community benefits any project at the property could yield. From the county’s perspective, the $85 million from the A’s would provide resources needed to pay off its share of debt from Coliseum renovations that were completed to lure the NFL’s Raiders back from Los Angeles in 1995. (The Raiders are slated to move to Las Vegas in 2020).

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