With the additional of a pair of well-financed investors showing interest in the expansive Coliseum City project, hopes are buoyed the project can keep the Raiders, Athletics and Warriors in the East Bay, the team of developers, though, need more time to work out the details.
A proposal to grant a 12-month extension on the Coliseum City exclusive negotiating agreement signed in March 2012 was approved Tuesday by the Oakland City Council Community and Economic Development Committee. An administrative option to further extend the deal an additional six months is also included in the proposed amendment. The full council will be offered at its next meeting, Oct. 15, with a list of planned deliverables pertaining to the project, most of which will be due within the next six months.
They include a public infrastructure and debt replacement strategy due in January 2014; a market analysis report in March and a public benefit analysis, said Gregory Hunter of the city’s office of neighborhood investment. In addition, the Coliseum City development team hopes to procure letters of interest from the three professional sports franchise currently playing at the Coliseum complex by next April.
Fred Blackwell, Oakland’s assistant city administrator, says “each one of the team are in different places” when it comes to interest in exploring new facilities at Coliseum City. The city still has not been able to engage the Athletics ownership in direct conversations, said Blackwell. The three-person blue ribbon committee set up by the commissioner of Major League Baseball to examine the A’s stadium issue, though, has been offered both the Coliseum City site and another on the waterfront at Howard Terminal, he added.
The administration continues to maintain a hands-off approach when it comes to enticing the Warriors interest away from Piers 30-32 in San Francisco, Blackwell said, but the Raiders continue to show the most interest in building a new football stadium in the city. However, Raiders ownership maintains it is seeking a greater indication of the stadium project’s future progress by the end of the current football season, he said, which runs until thorough December. The Raiders have already had direct conversation over the stadium project with its newest investors, Colony Capital LLC and an investment group led by Dubai financier Rashid Al Malik, it was reported at Tuesday’s committee meeting.
A representative for Councilmember Larry Reid (he did not attend the meeting of which chairs) voiced concern for further extending the exclusive negotiating agreement and the timeline for its completion. Council President Pat Kernighan, though, said the potential investment opportunity is too good for Oakland to pass up. “We’ve been looking for this kind of investment in Oakland for a long, long time,” said Kernighan. “We need to seize the moment here and not be looking at the bees in the bush when we have a bird in the hand.”
Councilmember Libby Schaaf said the latest addition of new investors may make it less likely exorbitant public funds will need to be used on Coliseum City. Otherwise, she said, “I don’t think this city can afford to subsidize or give public money away for the purpose of doing that.”
As it stands, the city and county does not plan for the Coliseum City development team to receive some ownership of the property, said Blackwell, but it may still be up for negotiation. Instead, the current framework calls for the city and Coliseum Authority to provide the land and public infrastructure improvements, said Blackwell, “but it’s not our expectation that we would contribute to the actual vertical development.”