OAKLAND (CBS SF) — After months of battling with city officials, the Alameda County Board of Supervisors unanimously approved a plan Monday to sell their ownership rights to the sprawling Oakland Coliseum complex to the Oakland A’s for $85 million.
The county and the City of Oakland shared ownership of the 155-acre parcel of land that included both the Coliseum, the former Oracle Arena and the parking lots that surround the facilities.
The Golden State Warriors moved from the former Oracle Arena to San Francisco’s new Chase Center this season. The NFL’s Oakland Raiders, meanwhile, will be playing in Las Vegas next year.
The A’s will be the only sports tenant beginning in 2020 until they build a new 35,000-seat ballpark at Howard Terminal along the estuary near Jack London Square.
“Obviously we’re making a huge financial commitment to this community – $85 million plus the actual operating losses. This is something that no other professional sports team has ever done,” said A’s President Dave Kaval. “The money has always come the other way as a public subsidy to these sports teams. We are investing in Oakland, in Alameda County.”
The baseball team simultaneously wants to redevelop the existing Coliseum complex into a site that could include a large park, housing and businesses.
The A’s will put down $5 million immediately as a deposit, which will remain in escrow for 190 days while the county conducts a due diligence period before the deal is finalized.
The team will pay $10 million a year to the county until 2023 and $15 million a year from 2024 to 2026. The A’s also will pay the county’s $5 million annual tab for operating costs at the Coliseum.
The American League team ownership began negotiating the purchase of the county’s portion of the complex last Spring, but city officials went to court in September to fight the deal. Over the ensuing months, Oakland decided to drop its legal challenge to the transaction.
Alameda County Supervisor Nate Miley said the purchase price will allow the county to pay off its debt on the 1995 renovation of Coliseum that the city and county used to lure the Raiders to return to Oakland from Los Angeles.
After the vote Kaval said, “This is truly an historic day. We’ve worked all year to get to this day.”
Still, some are wary that the deal could portend more displacement and job losses in the community.
“We certainly support the A’s staying in the city of Oakland. There is no question about that,” said Pastor LJ Jennings from Kingdom Builders Christian Fellowship. “We really don’t care where the A’s play, whether it’s at Howard Terminal or whether or it’s at the current Oakland Coliseum site – but we are concerned about it is the potential of displacement of black folks out of Oakland.”
Dr. Lawrence VanHook, pastor at West Oakland Church called for a commitment on the part of the A’s.
“What I’m asking — even though we do support this move — we can’t wait until the deal is done. We need the A’s today to commit to a higher vendor pool that includes the people in our community. Today we need to talk about not only the vendors, but the contractors – all of the people that would benefit – the community in whole – we need to start right now,” said Dr. VanHook.
For the time being, the A’s will be partners with the city when it comes to ownership of the complex site. Team officials said they plan to work with the city to convert the site into a mixed-use development including housing, office, park and retail space.
Meanwhile, county officials said they will see a saving of up to $13 million a year in debt payments.
The decision Monday begins a 190-day process of review before the sale is final.
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