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Oakland Will Negotiate Coliseum Property with A’s

New Oakland Athletics Coliseum Redevelopment May 2019

The City of Oakland will enter into discussions with the Oakland A’s about its share of Oakland Coliseum property, with the team seeking to take control of the site.

Late last month, the A’s presented an offer to buy or lease Oakland Coliseum property from the city. This came after the city, which jointly owns the 155-acre Coliseum complex with Alameda County, filed a lawsuit against the county over its previous decision to move forward with selling its 50% share of the 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 seeking an injunction that would stop the sale from proceeding and force negotiations between the two entities.

Under the terms that were pitched by the A’s last month, the organization would 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. 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, effectively allowing it to proceed with plans to build a new facility at the waterfront Howard Terminal.

On Tuesday, Oakland officials confirmed that the city will move forward with negotiations with the A’s. The lawsuit against Alameda County remains active for now, though the Oakland City Council has created a pathway for it to be dropped if certain “issues” are resolved. More from The Mercury News:

City Council President Rebecca Kaplan announced the decision at the beginning of Tuesday night’s city council meeting. The A’s offered to buy the city’s half-ownership share of the coliseum for $85 million, but only if the city ditches its lawsuit against Alameda County — which has the other half ownership. The A’s also offered to buy the County’s share, and the city sued to block it.

City councilmember Larry Reid confirmed Tuesday night that the city has not yet dropped the lawsuit. City councilmembers gave the City Attorney’s Office the OK to drop the lawsuit, but there are some “issues” — Reid wouldn’t elaborate — that councilmembers want the City Attorney to work out with the A’s before that happens. Reid said city officials will meet with A’s President Dave Kaval on Wednesday, and if the issues are resolved, the lawsuit could be dropped.

The baseball team wants to convert the complex to a mixed-use development to help it finance the construction of a 35,000-seat ballpark along the estuary near Jack London Square.

In its offer to the city, the A’s agreed to build affordable housing at the Coliseum property, use local labor and provide other yet-to-be-determined community benefits. The A’s aim to redevelop the site in order to fund a new waterfront ballpark near Jack London Square.

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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