OAKLAND (KCBS) — The Alameda County Board of Supervisors voted unanimously to extend the Oakland A’s lease at the O.co Coliseum for another 10 years.
While it took more than a year to a reach a deal on the 10-year agreement, it marks a major step in keep the A’s in Oakland, Alameda Supervisor Wilma Chan told KCBS she felt good about what the A’s were saying about the agreement.
“In terms of what I know about negotiations and the terms of the agreement, there is a strong commitment to stay in Oakland,” she said.
Chan also said that deal would continue to generate income.
“The city and county still owe a debt on the arena but what this means is: this will actually bring in some additional money,” Chan said.
There is an escape clause in the lease but the A’s would pay a heavy price for pulling out early.
Supervisor Nate Miley, who also chairs the Coliseum Authority, said the deal could give the city and county time to solidify their relationship with the A’s.
“This arrangement will keep us in the black, it also allows an opportunity for us to actually pursue an actual stadium deal,” he said. “We can try to see how we can put a deal together a deal with the A’s to build a new stadium at the Coliseum site.”
The Board of Supervisors’ vote, which came at the end of a board hearing at which there were no public speakers, is the next-to-last step in the lengthy negotiating process for extending the lease agreement.
The final step is a vote by the board of the Alameda County Coliseum Joint Powers Authority on Aug. 6. The JPA’s attorney, Jon Streeter, said he expects the board to approve the agreement because it voted to approve an earlier version of the lease on July 3.
Miley said the talks have been “very torturous” and Supervisor Wilma Chan said they’ve “gone through more twists and turns than any road anyone has ever seen.”
The agreement approved by the Board of Supervisors Tuesday includes changes that the Oakland City Council made two weeks ago and were approved by the A’s last week.
The most significant amendment made by the City Council and approved by the A’s and the Board of Supervisors would free the city of Oakland and Alameda County from liability if the Raiders, who also call the Coliseum home, violate the terms of their lease at the stadium.
Streeter said he was happy with the original agreement but the changes made by the City Council were “a net improvement” that better protects the interests of the city and the county.
Miley said if the A’s leave the Coliseum after the 2018 season they would still have to pay rent at the stadium until the end of the agreement in 2024 unless it moved to another site in Oakland.
The agreement also allows the city to force the A’s out of the Coliseum if a deal to develop the site and build a new football-only stadium there for the Oakland Raiders materializes.
In its current state, the Coliseum transforms from a baseball diamond to a football grid during the team’s respective seasons.
The city of Oakland is negotiating with a team of developers that hopes to build a new stadium for the Raiders at the Coliseum site.
Miley said he hopes that in the long run new stadiums can be built at the site for both the A’s and the Raiders.
Streeter said it’s estimated that the lease agreement will bring a net benefit of $14 million to the city and county over the next 10 years.
He said that amount includes the A’s lease payments, the A’s commitment to spend at least $10 million for a new scoreboard at the Coliseum and a small reduction in the bond payments the city and county have to make every year to pay for the cost of improvements to the stadium that were made to lure the Raiders back to Oakland in 1995.
Alameda County Administrator Susan Muranishi said the city and county have $191 million in debts at the Coliseum site, consisting of $106 million for the stadium where the A’s and Raiders play and $85 million for the Oracle Arena, where the Golden State Warriors team plays.
The city and county each have to pay $10 million a year to pay off the debt, she said.
Alameda County Auditor-Controller Pat O’Connell said the A’s lease agreement would allow the city and county to each reduce their payments by up to $700,000 a year.
Miley said that if the A’s decide to build a new stadium at the site and participate in a development there they might even pay off all the debts owed by the city and the county.
“If I can help us get out from under this burden financially, I’ll do so,” Miley said.
He said private entities such as sports teams “can manage a sports facility better than a government entity can.”
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