And now we know why the Oakland A’s brass revived an interest in Las Vegas: Alameda County says it won’t consider approval for a downtown waterfront ballpark until the city and the MLB tram come to a final agreement.
The working plan had the Alameda County Board of Supervisors take up the issue of the creation of an infrastructure district to pay for improvements directly related to the Athletics ownership’s proposal for a downtown Howard Terminal waterfront development featuring $12 billion in private investment, including a billion dollars for a new 35,000-capacity ballpark to replace the Coliseum. The development would also include 3,000 units of housing, as well as 1.5 million square feet of office space, 270,000 square feet of retail space, a 400-room hotel, 18 acres of parkland and an estimated $450 million in community benefits. The A’s and the city have been haggling over the contents of a term sheet that covers the taxing district. Earlier in August the city issued new information about the term sheet, with updated terms, the next steps in the process and a timeline toward eventual approval. It was then expected the county would sign off at a September meeting on the proposal.
But the Board of Supervisors will not take up the proposal in September for a few reasons. First, the supervisors want to see a finished term sheet. Second, an environmental impact report is still being prepared. Finally, the A’s purchase of half interest in the Coliseum site is under investigation by the state as not meeting guidelines for surplus-land sales. That’s led to formal notification to the team and the city about a delay. From SiliconValley.com:
In two letters sent to Oakland city leaders this month, County Administrator Susan Muranishi said the county isn’t prepared to proceed until the city and the A’s reach a consensus on who should pay for what.
“It remains challenging for the County to evaluate the merits of participation in the City’s proposed IFD while the project remains uncertain, and its status continues to change, including key deal points and environmental approvals,” Muranishi said in a letter sent to the city on Friday. “The County must take the time it needs to review the City’s proposal responsibly and thoroughly, including the retention of legal and financial experts.”
Even if the county agrees to participate, she added, “it remains unclear that the A’s will complete a deal with Oakland.”
Meanwhile, John Fisher and Dave Kaval were back in Las Vegas last week, meeting with Gov. Steve Sisolak, hotel-casino operators and union leaders. The focus of the meetings have changed: instead of touring the area and taking on the fun task of envisioning where a ballpark could be located, the talks have shifted to the hard issue of paying for it and coming up with an economic rationale for any public funding. We covered this thorny issue mouths ago, but little has changed: it doesn’t sound like the city or Clark County officials are really engaging on the issue, however.
RELATED STORIES: A’s brass resumes Vegas runs, continues talks with Oakland; Oakland, A’s to resume ballpark talks; State funding on tap for new Oakland ballpark?; A’s: Maybe we can work with Oakland on new ballpark terms; Oakland presents term sheet for new ballpark; A’s immediately reject it; No last-minute changes: A’s ballpark vote set for today; A’s, Oakland divide widens; Las Vegas Ballpark as MLB home? Maybe, maybe not; A’s braintrust plans third Vegas run; A’s struggle with attendance, even with full Coliseum capacity; Who could pay for a new Las Vegas A’s ballpark? It’s a very short list; A’s schedule fact-finding trip in Las Vegas; After ultimatum, Oakland officials say they will consider A’s ballpark plan; With A’s in play, what comes next?; MLB to A’s: Feel free to leave Oakland; Oakland A’s: Time to move forward with new ballpark