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Oakland shifts course, looks to sell Coliseum site to Athletics

Oakland Coliseum 1968

With city revenues impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, the city of Oakland is now looking to sell its half share of the Oakland Coliseum site to the Oakland Athletics after opposing such a sale when initiated by the team and Alameda County.

The city had opposed a sale of the 155-acre Coliseum complex, owned jointly with Alameda County, going to the point of filing a lawsuit against the county over its previous decision to move forward with a sale of its 50 percent share of the site 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 lawsuit was dropped at the request of the A’s and Major League Baseball.

And while some city leaders had continued the pursuit of other approaches to the Coliseum site, including redevelopment as affordable housing or a lease, rather than a sale, of the land, the cash crunch is making an outright sale to the Athletics, and the quick boost to the city’s bottom line, much more appealing.

The potential acquisition of the Coliseum site, which includes both the ballpark and the Oakland Arena, would give the A’s some options. The team had been promoting a plan for a privately financed ballpark a the downtown waterfront Howard Terminal site, and a key economic component of that plan was generating future revenue from a redeveloped Coliseum site. But last month the Athletics said the Howard Terminal plan may end up being delayed or even scrapped, which could launch a new plan to build a new ballpark next to the Coliseum, tear down the Coliseum and then redevelop the area with mixed-use amenities, dropping the notion of a sports park.

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