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Oakland A’s Make Offer to City for Coliseum Property

New Oakland Athletics Coliseum Redevelopment May 2019

Hoping to end a legal standoff over a portion of the site, the Oakland A’s have offered to either buy or lease Oakland Coliseum property from the city. 

Late last month, the City of 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. A hearing on the case is set for November 14.

Thus far, the lawsuit has added uncertainty to the A’s efforts to redevelop the RingCentral Coliseum site and surrounding property while building a new ballpark at Howard Terminal. According to the San Francisco Chronicle, A’s president Dave Kaval presented a new proposal to city officials on Monday, with the team offering to either buy the city’s share of the property for $85 million or enter into a long-term lease if the city agrees to drop its lawsuit against the county and allow the transaction between the county and the team to proceed. Under the terms of the proposal, the A’s would offer a community benefits package, while a provision would call for the team to build a new ballpark elsewhere in the city. The city, meanwhile, would receive the option to retain its share and buy the remaining 50% stake in the site if the A’s fail to secure a new ballpark in Oakland.

No decision has been made on the offer. A six-month exclusive negotiating period between the A’s and the city would determine if the transaction moves forward, and whether it would come in the form of a land sale or a lease. More from the San Francisco Chronicle:

The new proposal calls for the city and team to enter into a six-month exclusive negotiating agreement and explore the team’s either buying or leasing the city’s half of the site as part of a larger commercial and residential development.

The project could be done by the A’s alone or in partnership with the city. The team would use the proceeds to build out the Howard Terminal ballpark and associated development.

The new offer also reiterates the team’s willingness to include community benefits such as affordable housing and open space, plus political sweeteners such as labor-friendly contracts, local hiring provisions, apprenticeship programs, and anti-displacement and housing preservation policies.

The A’s have also agreed to pick up the operating costs for the Coliseum and arena, which are estimated to run $15 million to $20 million a year. In return, the team would agree to stay in Oakland and not pursue a possible relocation deal with another city during the six months of negotiations.

From the A’s perspective, the proposed Coliseum redevelopment has been viewed as a way of making a privately financed ballpark project at the Howard Terminal site more viable economically. More exact parameters of the project 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 (as shown in the rendering above), retaining Oakland Arena as an event venue, and redeveloping the surrounding the land with mixed-use amenities.

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.

Rendering courtesy Oakland A’s and Bjarke Ingels Group.

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