Oakland offered $167m for Coliseum land, rejects bid because Raiders still might want it

Speaking of selling stadiums, turns out somebody does want to buy the Oakland Coliseum, so long as it comes with all the land that it (and the neighboring Oracle Arena) sits on:

A group of investors with ties to NFL Hall of Famer Ronnie Lott is offering to purchase the Coliseum land with the hopes of keeping the Raiders in Oakland, according to a letter the group’s attorney sent to local officials last week…

The group proposes purchasing the Coliseum land — which includes Oracle Arena and other nearby properties — for $167.3 million, which accounts for bond obligations owed and prepayment penalties. The plan includes upgrading and replacing the site’s sewer and septic systems, which infamously have backed up during games, spewing raw sewage into dugouts and team clubhouses.

Note that Lott, who previously expressed an interest in developing the Coliseum site with a new Raiders stadium included, isn’t actually involved in the bid, though some of his partners are. The front man for the land bid appears to be Martin J. Greenberg, who is co-founder of the National Sports Law Institute at Marquette University Law School, which is just weird, but I guess everybody in the stadium world is tempted to jump in and be part of the game at some point.

Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf immediately rejected the bid, though it’s not immediately clear whether this was because she felt it was too low a price for 120 acres of downtown (well, sort of downtown) Oakland land, or because she doesn’t want to piss off Raiders owner Mark Davis and A’s owner Lew Wolff, each of whom would rather develop the land themselves. Schaaf told the East Bay Express:

“We did not recommend consideration of this offer at this time,” the mayor said. “We remain committed to a team-centered development. We want the Raiders and the NFL at the center of this future site.”

There are so many players here and so much potential jockeying for leverage that it’s hard to tell who’s trying to put one over on whom at any given point, but at least, unlike in Phoenix, there are actually some people who want the stadium land in Oakland. Actually wanting to pay for building a stadium without getting a cheap deal on development rights is another thing, but hey, baby steps!


9 comments on “Oakland offered $167m for Coliseum land, rejects bid because Raiders still might want it

  1. What Oakland considers “downtown” is pretty small by normal city standards. (I lived in North Oakland for a bit, and have spent a fair bit of time there since.) The Coliseum site well-positioned in terms of road and transit access, though.

    • Even so, the Coliseum is ~4 miles (as the crow flies) from the edge of what Oakland considers to be downtown, which itself is ironically actually uptown.

    • I agree this is nowhere near ‘downtown’ Oakland. It’s also in one of the worst parts of Oakland. Yes, there’s BART and freeway access but there is little other relevant business or dense development nearby there that this would tie into.

      I remember arguing back when they wanted the A’s to move to Fremont that there were three teams (Raiders, A’s, Warriors) that played in this facility, and that these teams have been playing there for decades. If ballparks produce economic development in the surrounding areas over time, it for some reason forgot to do so here.

      • Yes, it’s nowhere near downtown.

        However, a better description would be “out by the airport.” While OAK is no SFO, there a bunch of uses for land out near the airport especially when it’s also where BART drops you for the airport.

        That’s probably more relevant, even more relevant than its proximity to some of the rougher bits of East Oakland.

  2. Given it’s location, anyone have a thought on what the land is *really* worth on the open market?

    Now-out-of-the-picture developer Floyd Gephart apparently appraised it at $116M with the stadium in 2015. http://www.humboldtbeacon.com/article/ZZ/20151113/NEWS/151117445

    The appraisal did not appear to include assumption of the ($100M?) bond obligation that Oakland City/County still owes that this group is prepared to take on.

  3. I know Oakland hasn’t experience the price boom that San Francisco and Silicon Valley have but I would assume a contiguous plot of land that big would be fairly valuable. Does anyone know if this price is fair or not?

  4. If they would truely purchase the land and pay off debt with no strings attached or liability for the city/county, and close immediately, they should have done it, by far the best outcome for the city, everything else is just a huge gamble/Russian roulette