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Lawsuit Over Potential Oakland Coliseum Land Sale Dropped

New Oakland Athletics Coliseum Redevelopment May 2019

The City of Oakland‘s lawsuit against Alameda County over a potential sale of Oakland Coliseum land to the Oakland A’s has been dismissed, ending a legal standoff over the site’s future.

In late September, Oakland–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 site to the A’s for $85 million. The lawsuit contended that the county was 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.

That decision brought uncertainty to the A’s plans to gain control of the Coliseum site for a redevelopment project, which the team believes would make the economics of new privately financed ballpark at Howard Terminal more viable. The A’s later submitted an offer to the city for its share of the Coliseum property, prompting some actions on the city’s part to drop the lawsuit against the county. The lawsuit has officially been dismissed, coming on the heels of a Wednesday night announcement from Oakland officials that the city attorney had been directed by the city council to drop the legal challenge. More from the San Francisco Chronicle:

Mayor Libby Schaaf, Council President Rebecca Kaplan and Vice Mayor Larry Reid released a joint statement saying they’re dropping the lawsuit because “we’re pleased with our recent discussions with the A’s and our shared interests in Oakland’s future.”

“We’re excited to enter into this next phase of negotiations with the A’s to ensure they remain rooted in Oakland,” they said.

The City Council also directed the issuance of a Surplus Lands Act notice on the Coliseum site. The Surplus Lands Act is a state law that requires publicly owned surplus lands to be considered for affordable housing before the lands are sold or leased….

“We are pleased that the Oakland City Council has directed the City Attorney to immediately drop this lawsuit,” the A’s said in a statement. “We are committed to the long-term success of East Oakland and the Coliseum site. We look forward to finalizing our agreement with Alameda County, and creating a mutually beneficial partnership with the City of Oakland.”

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 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 Howard Terminal. Last week, the Oakland City Council decided to enter into negotiations with the team.

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 RingCentral 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.

Rendering courtesy Oakland A’s and Bjarke Ingels Group.

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