Alameda County wants Oakland to drop its lawsuit over a potential Coliseum land sale before launching any negotiations over the property, a call that comes as their dispute continues.
Late last month, 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.
According to details reported by The San Francisco Chronicle on Monday, the county had approached the city with an offer to buy out its debt on the Coliseum and Oakland Arena in February, before moving forward with plans for a sale to the A’s in April. Under that offer, the city would have paid nearly $78 million to cover the debt and then assumed the county’s ownership share in the site, but would have had to cover all costs up front. The proposed sale with the A’s, meanwhile, would allow the team to spread its payment out over seven years.
Some city officials feel that Oakland should have been offered terms more closely aligned with the proposed sale from the A’s, but the county contends that a lack of responsiveness on the city’s part stalled negotiations between the two sides. Furthermore, county officials say that they cannot foresee entering into negotiations with the city until the lawsuit is dropped. More from the San Francisco Chronicle:
“The A’s were able to spread their terms out … whereas the county wanted us to pay it all up front,” said Councilman Loren Taylor, who serves on the Alameda County Coliseum Authority. “From my perspective, we still need to have a conversation about the same terms that the A’s were given. It was never presented to us.”
Alameda County Supervisor Nate Miley said Monday that the county is open to offering the same payment terms to the city as to the A’s — but he said the city’s lack of “consistent response” has halted negotiations….
Alameda County officials have said the county is open to offers from the city — similar to offers they received from the A’s — but the city hasn’t come to the table with a proposal. On Monday, Miley said it’s unlikely the county will negotiate with the city until it drops its lawsuit.
“As long as the lawsuit is out there, the county is not going to want to have any formal conversations with the city,” Miley said.
While the city has shown some recent signs of being willing reach an understanding with the county outside of litigation, it has yet to formally drop the lawsuit, and a hearing on the case is scheduled for November 14. The two sides were set to discuss the lawsuit separately in closed-door sessions on Tuesday, and the city issued a statement on the matter late on Tuesday, per Kron4:
In a statement late Tuesday, the city said: “The City is committed to keeping the A’s rooted in Oakland. We remain committed to working together with the County and the A’s to address the lawsuit and to negotiate a path forward for the Coliseum property that is financially responsible, benefits City residents and is in the public interest.”
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.
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