Oakland City Council has voted in favour of entering into exclusive talks with Oakland Athletics to sell its half of the Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum site, an encouraging development for the Major League Baseball (MLB) team in its ongoing effort to develop a new ballpark.
The news comes after the A’s last month made a new offer for the site in a bid to break the legal impasse that is putting their plan for a new stadium at risk. The A’s were said to have offered to either buy out the City’s half share in the site of its current home for $85m (£65.9m/€76.7m) 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.
The A’s were earlier 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 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 San Francisco Chronicle newspaper reports that yesterday’s (Tuesday’s) unanimous city council vote did not include an end to the lawsuit against the A’s. Councilman Larry Reid said there were still several “minor things that need to be resolved” before that happened.
Reid added: “There are a couple points of contention that need to be resolved. They are not real major issues, and hopefully, they will be able to get resolved within the next two days. If they get resolved, then we direct the city attorney to drop the lawsuit.” Council President Rebecca Kaplan said the council has given the city the green light to “enter into the direct negotiations with the A’s… resolving all the issues and furthering the ballpark.”
The A’s are hoping to transform the Coliseum site into a mixed-use development in order to help finance its 35,000-seat ballpark plan at Howard Terminal. Responding to the latest news, Kaval said: “We are encouraged to hear the City Council wants to begin conversations on a partnership to redevelop the Coliseum site. We hope these discussions will include them dropping this lawsuit before the next hearing on November 14.”