County officially okays Coliseum land sale, leaves only umpteen hoops for A’s stadium plans to get through

Alameda County officially approved the sale of its half of the Oakland Coliseum complex to the A’s owners yesterday, eight months after the proposal was first announced. The price remains $85 million for 50% of the property, though it’s slightly more complicated than that — the team will make the payments over six years, but will also cover $5 million of operating costs a year, which should cancel out any loss from stretching out the payments. That looks to be pretty close to fair market value, at least per my back-of-the-envelope math, though county supervisor Nate Miley has said the actual value of the land could be more like $200-300 million, which would represent a discount of $30-130 million for the team owners.

The San Francisco Chronicle’s article on this says the sale agreement “all but securing the baseball team’s future in the East Bay,” which is not really quite right, as there are a bunch of hurdles remaining before the team’s stadium plans can be finalized: The city needs to agree to sell its half of the land (though that seems likely now that the city has dropped its lawsuit over the sale), and then lots still needs to be worked out about what the ballclub will build on the site (state law requires that there be some affordable housing, and the city is insisting on a community benefits agreement), and then the plan for a new stadium at Howard Terminal (partly funded by development of the Coliseum parcel, maybe?) needs approvals including of $200 million worth of infrastructure that could be funded via property tax kickbacks.

So while the Coliseum land sale is an important first step, we’re still a ways from the A’s stadium situation being resolved, or even resolving who’ll be on the hook for paying for it. Plus we still don’t know what’s up with all those gratuitous cranes.

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4 comments on “County officially okays Coliseum land sale, leaves only umpteen hoops for A’s stadium plans to get through

  1. I’m confused about “state law requires that there be some affordable housing”. Is that due to the Surplus Lands Act? If the A’s buy out the City’s half-interest in the property would they be able to build whatever they want on the parcel and tell the city & county to go pound sand? Or are there other encumbrances on the property even afterwards?

    I know the idea of a sports team purchasing land outright and building their own stadium is approaching the realms of science fiction but I’m curious.

    1. The city absolutely still has control and say over what gets built there. Owning the property doesn’t mean you can do whatever you want. You still have to go through planning, permitting, etc.

    2. It may be that the area will be declared some sort or urban renewal district to allow for tax increment financing. I’m not familiar with California law, but those sorts of things typically require a certain percentage of the overall borrowed funds be dedicated to affordable housing.

    3. Yes, the Surplus Lands Act. It requires that any sale or lease of public land by the state, counties, or cities prioritize affordable housing, so Oakland wouldn’t be able to sell the Coliseum land to the A’s without an affordable housing component.

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