Oakland — Despite the city administration’s advice that its staff needed more time to research proposals from two groups to redevelop the sprawling Oakland Coliseum site, the city council unanimously voted Tuesday to move forward with one of them. did.
The City Council approved a proposal to authorize an exclusive negotiation agreement with the African American Sports and Entertainment Group, which would give the group 12 months to purchase or lease the city’s 50% share of the Coliseum site. . The group must pay a $200,000 fee for negotiating and $2.5 million to pay for employees’ time spent on negotiating and other expenses.
At the end of the year, the city may choose to extend the negotiations for another year, signing a development agreement to confirm the terms of the deal and be ready for construction or end talks and other developers. can search.
AASEG includes founding partners Ray Bobbitt, former Oakland city manager Robert Bob, developer Allan Donnes, sports agent Bill Duffy and consultant Shonda Scott, in partnership with Black-owned investment firm Loop Capital, and the group co-founded the Coliseum site. seeks to transform – which includes the Coliseum Stadium which is currently home to the A and once hosted the Oakland Raiders, and the Oakland Arena which was once home to the Golden State Warriors, as well as the parking lots around it – into a campus housing, A Black-owned sports facilities include NFL teams and possibly WNBA teams, a retail and business district, and a college satellite campus or other educational center that focuses on the sports and entertainment business.
The group’s leaders have vowed to commit to making 35% housing units affordable, although they have yet to share how many housing units they have, and how they are committed to supporting Black-owned businesses. Wall Street” district. ,
The group has highlighted its intention to reel in a WNBA expansion team run by Black owners to play in the Arena, and it was recently revealed that 14-year-old WNBA veteran Alana Beard is with it to lead that effort. Will share.
The details of those plans and the feasibility of making them a reality would likely be hashed out over a year-long negotiation period, but the vision was enough to influence the city council to choose another group.
Since July, City employees had been in talks with AASEG and another group led by former AK star pitcher and Oakland native Dave Stewart and certified player agent Lonnie Murray. They propose to purchase the site for $115 million to renovate the Oakland Arena for concerts and music production, add youth sports and entertainment areas, and create housing, a museum or library, a business incubator, office space, retail and restaurants. Was doing.
The plan in July, as guided by a vote of the city council, was for employees to return in January with a recommendation and more details about each group’s plan.
City employees told the council on Tuesday they recommended waiting until January to make a decision. Larry Gallegos of the city’s Department of Economic and Workforce Development emphasized concerns included in a memorandum to the council that “the teams have produced strong evidence of extensive experience with building comparable large-scale, multi-stage real estate projects of similar size, scale.” and cost as is being considered for the Coliseum complex” and that employee was still doing due diligence on the groups and their plans.
The city was also awaiting confirmation from the state that it had approved its process for notifying land under the Surplus Land Act, which requires the city to inform appropriate developers that the land is available for sale. . Alameda County has been under investigation by the state for potentially violating the law when it signed an agreement to sell its portion of the Coliseum to Oakland A, although a spokesperson for the California Department of Housing and Community Development did not confirm its status. Check this week.
Some city council members expressed their willingness to wait for the employees.
Treva Reid, who represents the East Oakland district that includes the Coliseum, said she has for months believed it would be better for the city to issue requests for proposals for property development to make it more open and transparent. Can you Process.
“There are concerns about it going forward,” Reid said. Still, she said, AASEG engages the community widely, visible in clean-up events, resource fairs, and community meetings. “I regret to report that the public has not seen the same level of engagement from the Stewart Group.”
They eventually voted to approve the proposal to sign an agreement with AASEG.
“It is important that we accept what this decision is,” said council member Lauren Taylor. “This is not a final sale agreement or a long-term lease. It’s a commitment to work with a group to move forward.”
Council President Nikki Fortunato Bass said she understood the employees’ concern, but added that with the recently passed federal infrastructure bill, “there is an opportunity to move forward and seek funding for Oakland. I want to see you move forward.”
Fortunato Bas said that because any settlement will come back to the council, it is an opportunity to “really clarify the terms” – including key elements such as affordable housing commitments.
The group will have to work with Oakland A, which two years ago signed a deal to buy 50% of the Coliseum site from Alameda County for $85 million. If the county doesn’t stop the state’s Surplus Land Act investigation team’s purchase of the deal, which is being completed in installments over the next few years, it will co-own the site.
A has kept quiet about his plans for the property. When they purchased it, the team stated that they intended to redevelop the Coliseum site into a housing, retail, office and research complex. Team president Dave Kaval and Major League Baseball officials are adamant that play at the AK Coliseum will not continue after the lease expires in 2024 until a new ballpark is under construction.
A are still in talks with the city to build a 35,000-seat waterfront ballpark, approximately 3,000 homes, hotel rooms, office space and an entertainment complex at Howard Terminal near Jack London Square. The team is also exploring sites in Las Vegas and southern Nevada for a potential home.