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Oakland Could Drop Lawsuit Over Potential Coliseum Land Sale

Oakland A's

Oakland could drop its lawsuit against Alameda County over a potential sale of Coliseum land to the Oakland A’s, as city officials indicate a willingness to resolve the dispute without litigation.

Two weeks ago, Oakland filed a lawsuit against Alameda County over its previous decision to move forward with selling its 50% share of the 155-acre Coliseum site to the A’s for $85 million. The lawsuit contended that the county is in violation of California’s Surplus Land Act, with the city–which jointly owns the Coliseum property with the county–seeking an injunction that would stop the sale from proceeding and force negotiations between the two entities.

Potential ownership of the Coliseum site has been seen as a possible boost for the A’s, who are working to build a new ballpark at the waterfront Howard Terminal site while redeveloping RingCentral Coliseum and the surrounding land. From the team’s perspective, redevelopment of the Coliseum site could make privately financing a new ballpark a more viable proposition economically, but the lawsuit has raised questions about those plans.

It now look as though the city is open to discussing, and potentially resolving, its issues with the county outside of court. The lawsuit has not officially been dropped, but city officials appear willing to consider that possibility and reach an understanding outside of litigation. More from the East Bay Times:

City Council members Rebecca Kaplan and Larry Reid both indicated in interviews Tuesday that it was their desire for the city and the county to work out a “shared strategy” for the future of the Coliseum site outside of court, and that city staff has been directed to negotiate with the county to make that happen.

Reid said he opposes the lawsuit, and Kaplan said if the city and county can come to an agreement, “There would be no need for litigation.”

“I think ultimately the lawsuit is going to go away, but it’s going to take some effort to do that,” Reid said.

Reid confirmed that the City Council will discuss the lawsuit again in closed session Oct. 15; the council could vote to drop it then.

The county has been hoping that 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, while effectively getting it out of the sports facilities business. Oakland has previously expressed hopes of obtaining 100% ownership of the property. In theory, having 100% control of ownership would give the city more leverage in determining its future usage, which could be used in conversations with the A’s about future plans for the site and what community benefits any redevelopment could yield.

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 and replacing it with a small sports park/amphitheater , retaining Oakland Arena (formerly Oracle Arena) as an event venue, and redeveloping the surrounding the land with mixed-use amenities.

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