The Oakland Athletics finalized the purchase of Alameda County’s half of the Coliseum property Monday for $85 million. The deal is another step toward the franchise’s plans to build a privately financed ballpark at Howard Terminal, along with a future development at the Coliseum.
The team is currently in negotiations with Oakland to buy the other half of the 155-acre property. Discussions for approval of a new ballpark could come to the City Council sometime next spring.
The county Board of Supervisors approved the sale of its half of the Coliseum last December. Monday’s action ended a 190-day due diligence period prior to the transaction being finalized.
The Board of Supervisors—stymied by $10 million a year debt service payments on a prior remodel of the Oakland Coliseum, and perhaps soured by its interactions with the departed Oakland Raiders and the National Football League—has advocated for several years to rid itself of interest in what it calls the “sports business.”
“Over recent years, this board has been clear about its goal to leave the sports business. County staff have worked diligently to vet opportunities to transition the Coliseum property,” county Supervisor Richard Valle said in a statement at Tuesday’s meeting.
“I want to report the county’s sale of its interests in the Coliseum property continues to move forward. Yesterday, after completing a lengthy due diligence period, Coliseum Way Partners confirmed its commitment to the deal and deposited funds required to proceed.”
Housing and community advocates in East Oakland have opposed the sale of the Coliseum to John Fisher, the wealthy owner of the A’s, fearing any future development will fuel gentrification, along with no commitments for community benefits. Some of the same groups have opposed the team building a new ballpark at Howard Terminal, and they have instead pushed for the team to build at the existing Coliseum complex.
“We are deeply troubled by the county’s sale of the Coliseum to the Fisher family and the utter lack of public input throughout the process,” said Liana Molina, a representative for the East Bay Alliance for a Sustainable Economy. “I assure you the Fisher family does not have the best interests of black and brown, working class communities in East Oakland at heart.”
Valle laid the issue of development and community benefits in the lap of the Oakland City Council.
“The land-use and future development of the Coliseum property, at the proper time, will be reviewed and approved by the City of Oakland and its residents,” he said in a statement.