Oakland could sue county over sale of its half of Coliseum land to A’s

The proposed $85 million sale of Alameda County’s half of the Oakland Coliseum site to the owners of the A’s is just getting weirder and weirder, with a possible lawsuit now in the offing:

In a letter delivered to county officials Monday, Oakland City Council President Rebecca Kaplan and Vice Mayor Larry Reid noted that the deal between the county and the baseball club lacked any provision for building a ballpark for community benefit to be included in the sale.

The letter ends with the request for the county to “clarify” whether it planned to go forward with the A’s sale, so that the city could “determine effective next steps.”

The city’s letter made no mention of what the “next steps” might be, but a separate Aug. 31 email to Oakland City Attorney Barbara Parker said the letter is for “the purpose of potential litigation.”

(Yes, “August 31.” Either that’s a typo, or Phil Matier has become unstuck in time.)

At issue here is that the city of Oakland wants a shot at purchasing the county’s half-share of the site as well, but hasn’t actually placed a bid, in part because the city of Oakland doesn’t actually have $85 million to spare. Also, some city council members are hoping to have the A’s build a stadium on the Coliseum site rather than their preferred Howard Terminal site, and are hoping that the county will hold off on its sale to help create leverage for that, or for a community benefits agreement, or for something.

The weird part is that the A’s owners’ plan is to develop the Coliseum site and use the proceeds to build a Howard Terminal stadium, which presumably can’t happen unless they control 100% of the land. (At least, that’s how I understand it from following the fairly half-assed media coverage; I’m sure you readers will correct me if that’s wrong.) So this may just be a weird proxy war being fought over the A’s stadium site plans, which could turn into a lawsuit between two government agencies over a financing plan that still no one quite understands. Nobody said this was gonna be easy.

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7 comments on “Oakland could sue county over sale of its half of Coliseum land to A’s

  1. In other bizarre baseball news, the Texas Rangers are not only getting a massive subside for a new stadium, they are celebtating that on their uniforms. I also love how short the dates given are (1994-2019).


  2. Once the environmental impact study comes in Howard Terminal is finished. Just renovate the Coliseum site and be done with this. Its a better site with more parking, and BART access. The expos has a better chance at playing at the big O next year than getting gondulas built in the state of California

  3. The way you described this is how I understood it… but that’s by no means an absolute guarantee. The A’s want the entire site for redevelopment. Whether it is some sort of contractual requirement of any deal (or potential deal) they may have I don’t know.

    Any time you have these sorts of propositional deals (IE: you sell me this land for this much, rezone it, then I will develop it, sell it off and use the net proceeds to build something else) I shake my head… It’s a bit like saying “instead of you winning the lottery, why don’t you give me your winning ticket, then I will buy you a house and a car out of the proceeds and you can have new stuff without all the problems associated with winning the lottery yourself”.

    O/A could (and arguably should) redevelop the coliseum lands themselves (and by doing this, of course, I mean issue a RFP seeking response from qualified and properly vetted developers). Any profit from such a venture could be used to help develop HT, if that’s really what they want to do.

    The coliseum (and arena) being present does make this more difficult, but not impossible (it really only affects the timing of the proposed development, it does not prevent agreements being made and/or contracts being signed).

    Instead, Oakland’s city and county governments appear to favour utter abdication in this matter. Just ‘get out of the way and let things happen’, because that’s how good government always works, right?

  4. The Alameda Board of Supervisors sent the Oakland City Council a term sheet outlining how they could purchase the county’s share of the JPA in February. The AlCo BOS also agreed to a nonbinding term sheet with the A’s in the last week of April.

    The Oakland City Council had almost three months to respond before the County made an agreement with the A’s, but has still not given any ACTUAL response to the term sheet they were sent over six months ago. They’ve literally said “if you gave us 10 years to pay off like you are the A’s, I’m sure we could manage to work out _something_.”

    They literally were given first refusal and dropped the ball.

  5. John Fisher’s family as of March 1 held approx. $9B worth of GAP stock (GPS) when the sahre price hit 30. Over five months later the stock has declined to 17. My primitive math tells me the Fisher’s have lost over $4B. That’s something to consider. I doubt they are in the mood of taking out a huge loan on a business many consider a toy for the affluent.

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