Major League Baseball (MLB) franchise the Oakland Athletics have made a new offer for the Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum site in a bid to break the legal impasse that is putting their plan for a new ballpark at risk.
Citing sources close to the talks, the San Francisco Chronicle newspaper said the A’s are offering to either buy out the City of Oakland’s half share in the site of its current home for $85m (£66.3m/€76.6m) or enter into a long-term lease deal.
The proposed deal also incorporates a community benefits package and the provision that the A’s build a new stadium elsewhere in Oakland. The A’s are separately attempting to drive through a project for a new ballpark at the Port of Oakland’s Howard Terminal site. Crucially the Coliseum offer also calls on the City to drop its current legal action with regards the site.
Earlier this month, the A’s were met with a significant barrier in ongoing efforts to secure a new home after the City of Oakland sued Alameda County over its plan to sell its stake in the RingCentral Coliseum to the team, a decision that A’s president Dave Kaval said left the franchise “dumbfounded”.
Following the news, Alameda County Superior Court Judge Frank Roesch issued a temporary restraining order blocking the County from selling its share in the Coliseum, which is owned equally between the county and the city. The site also includes the Oracle Arena, former home of NBA basketball team the Golden State Warriors.
The Chronicle said the new proposal calls for the city and A’s to enter into a six-month exclusive negotiating agreement in an effort to explore the team either buying or leasing the city’s half of the site as part of a larger commercial and residential development.
The A’s are also said to have agreed to take on operating costs for the Coliseum and Arena, which are said to range between $15m to $20m per year. In return, the A’s would agree to stay in Oakland and not explore a possible relocation deal during the six months of talks.
If the A’s are unable to hold up their end of the bargain, or complete a deal for the new ballpark, the city would have the right to keep its half of the property and buy back the A’s share if that sale agreement with the county proceeds.
Commenting on the latest news, Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf said: “I’m excited that this framework should help keep the A’s in Oakland and guarantee any future development at the Coliseum site includes affordable housing and critical community benefits for our East Oakland residents.”
However, Councilman Dan Kalb added: “If for some reason Howard Terminal doesn’t work out and they do decide to build a ballpark at the Coliseum, then absolutely, positively they should be the master developer and leaseholder, and we work with them to come to an agreement.
“But if they are not going to build a ballpark there, then why should the A’s get special consideration for the Coliseum site? Shouldn’t they just submit proposals like everyone else after seeing what the city wants there?”
The latest Coliseum news comes after the team’s Howard Terminal plans were boosted by Governor of California Gavin Newsom, who recently signed two vital bills into law.
Image: Visit Oakland