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Oakland moves forward with Coliseum redevelopment

New Oakland Athletics Coliseum Redevelopment May 2019

The Oakland City Council voted to enter an exclusive negotiating period with African American Sports and Entertainment Group for the Coliseum site, deciding for now against a competing proposal from former A’s great Dave Stewart.

AASEG had been competing with former A’s pitcher and Oakland native Dave Stewart and his business partner, agent Lonnie Murray, for redevelopment rights. AASEG had offered $92.5 million for the Coliseum site development rights, while Stewart’s group offered $115 million, payable immediately. AASEG is pitching a redevelopment plan that includes a renovation of Oakland Arena and adding a WNBA team as a tenant, building new affordable housing and establishing a cultural center celebrating Black culture.

New Oakland Athletics Coliseum Redevelopment May 2019

Alameda County already has sold its share to the Oakland A’s for $85 million, and a key part of the Athletics’ downtown development plan include a redevelopment of the Coliseum site as well, retaining Oakland Arena while tearing down the Coliseum and exploring upgrades to the rest of that properly. (The renderings above show the Athletics’ vision for the site, a conceptual rendering also used by the Stewart group in its pitch.)

The decision came over the objections of city staff, which wanted more time analyze the proposals. From the San Francisco Chronicle:

But city staff said in a report they were still analyzing the two proposals and questioned whether either of the groups is able to fully realize its vision.

“While both teams have recently expanded their development team, staff’s initial review suggests that the teams have not shown strong evidence of extensive experience with building comparable large-scale, multi-phased real estate projects similar in size, scale and cost as what is being contemplated for the Coliseum Complex,” according to the staff report.

City staff said both groups submitted more details on their financial partners, but staff have been unable to finish analyzing those details and urged the council to delay decisions until January.

Stewart and Murray released its own site development plan for the Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum site. On a surface level it sounds like Stewart’s group has a similar redevelopment plan, calling for the demolition of the Coliseum and using the field for youth sports (the A’s propose an amphitheater for the site). But the Stewart investment group–which includes the likes of Rickey Henderson, CC Sabathia, Damian Lillard and Brian Shaw–would also target affordable housing (likely to be imposed by the city on whomever lands the site anyway), pursue tech and retail offerings, and work toward a host of community-based outcomes. More on the Stewart + Murray plan here.

The group landing final city approach for Coliseum redevelopment rights will have two big issues to address: persuading the Oakland A’s to be part of any redevelopment and navigating the California Surplus Lands Act. As noted, the A’s released their own development plan when coming to an agreement with Alameda County: retaining Oakland Arena while tearing down the Coliseum and exploring upgrades to the rest of that properly. It could very well be that that the plans from AASEG or Stewart + Murray and the A’s could mesh; experienced developers deal with complicated development plan with partners all the time. Then again, the entire process could be blown up by the state, which has yet to rule whether the sale of the properly met the Surplus Lands Act; if the Alameda County sale to the A’s is scrapped, we could see the entire process rebooted.

Meanwhile, we are still awaiting some promised announcement from the Athletics about any potential Las Vegas sites. Team brass was in Las Vegas for meetings, but a promised release of potential ballpark sites still has not been issued by the team.

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