OAKLAND (KPIX 5) — The Oakland Athletics have offered to buy out both halves of the 112 acre Oakland Coliseum site, hoping to smooth a dispute with the city and speed along their efforts to build a new waterfront ballpark.
“Hopefully people will keep a positive spirit of partnership to get there,” A’s president Dave Kaval said.
The team is offering the city a list of community benefits that would include affordable housing, locally hired and livable wage union jobs, anti-displacement measures for lower income residents and a community youth sports arena. In return, the city would drop a lawsuit blocking the county from selling its portion of the property.
Alameda County and the city of Oakland would each get $85 million for the sale as well as freedom from operational losses that cost tax payers millions of dollars every year, Kaval says.
But while Oakland city councilman Noel Gallo says it may sound like a sweet deal, he’s not ready to be burned again by pro sports.
“That’s what the Raiders wanted to do,” Gallo said. “‘Sell me the land.’ Now they own the land and they still leave. Then I have no land and no team.”
Instead, he wants to lease the land to the team for 99 years, keeping them on that site and keeping the site in the hands of the city. This time, the city won’t be so quick to make concessions, Gallo said. But without concessions, Major League Baseball has made it clear that Oakland could lose this team, too.
“I have to go to [the owners meeting in] Dallas November 17 and give an update the commissioner and I’m hopeful the lawsuit will be gone and these agreements will be in place,” Kaval said.
But Gallo seems less optimistic, saying he’s happy to discuss terms, but asserting “that land belongs to the public and it needs to stay within the public’s control.”
It’s not as if either side is without other options. The city says there are developers who are looking at the site with the A’s not on it, and the A’s say there are other cities interested in bringing their teams there.