Mayor hopes to keep A's and Raiders in Oakland

Developer working with Raiders wants to tear down shared Coliseum next year

Oakland Mayor Jean Quan said Wednesday that she still hopes the Raiders football team and the A's baseball team will stay in Oakland even though a developer working with the Raiders wants to tear down the stadium where both teams play next year.

Speaking at a news conference at City Hall, Quan said, "It is unfortunate that some people think we can't keep both teams in Oakland. There is no reason to pit the teams against each other."

Quan's remarks come in the wake of a 6-2 vote last Thursday by the board that oversees the Oakland Coliseum complex to approve a 10-year lease agreement for the A's that would keep them at the Coliseum through 2024.

The vote came shortly after A's owner Lew Wolff said he had received permission from Major League Baseball to move the team out of Oakland immediately if the agreement isn't finalized soon.

However, the agreement must be approved by the Alameda County Board of Supervisors and the Oakland City Council.

The Board of Supervisors is expected to approve the agreement later this month but the City Council hasn't yet set a date to vote on the matter because some city officials want the A's to make more concessions before a deal is completed.

Oakland attorney Zachary Wasserman, who represents the development team that wants to build a new football-only stadium at the Coliseum complex as well as hotel, retail and office buildings, said in a recent letter to Quan that the A's lease would interfere with plans to tear down the Coliseum next year and build a new football stadium by 2018.

Wasserman said, "We believe that we will have an agreed-upon term sheet with the Raiders making the Raiders the anchor of a new multi-use football stadium at the Coliseum site by the end of the summer."

He said, "As you know, it is the Raiders' desire and plan to play in a new facility for the 2018 football stadium" and "it will be critical to demolish the existing stadium in 2015."

Wasserman said the Raiders plan to play somewhere else in the 2016 and 2017 football seasons but haven't yet made arrangements.

He said approving the A's lease as it is currently proposed "would frustrate these negotiations with the Raiders" and prevent the development of the entire development project at the site.

Wasserman said the development team "wants the A's to remain in the city of Oakland and at the Coliseum site" but the A's have refused to work with the team so far.

Quan said, "The A's lease agreement is not in conflict with what the Raiders want. We have plenty of room for all of our teams."

But City Councilwoman Rebecca Kaplan, who is one of many candidates running against Quan in the mayoral election in November, said Quan and her administration have been negotiating for the right to evict the A's from the Coliseum if the Raiders' project goes forward.

Kaplan said Oakland shouldn't defer to the development team's request because the team has failed to meet the city's deadlines for submitting a development plan and a financing plan.

Kaplan said she believes that there is sufficient land at the Coliseum site to build new stadiums for both the A's and the Raiders.

When Quan was informed of Kaplan's comments, she said, "People are going to talk smack" and said they are "really unfortunate" and are coming in the midst of "campaign season."

But Oakland City Councilman Larry Reid, who is the vice chair of the board that oversees the Coliseum, said he shares Kaplan's concerns about the development team's hopes of tearing down the Coliseum next year.

The city entered into an exclusive negotiating agreement with the team two years ago to develop the Coliseum site but Reid said the team "has done nothing" in that time.

Reid said a majority of city council members want to terminate the agreement with the development team but "this is an election year and the Mayor wants to keep the agreement in place."

Quan admitted that the development team "started late" but she said it includes the third largest real estate firm in the world and has enough capital that it has "one of the best chances" to develop the Coliseum site.

Quan said she wants the City Council to approve the A's lease but she said City Administrator Henry Gardner has "clarifications to make" to the agreement before it is finalized.

Reid said while some city officials have downplayed the threat that the A's might move out of Oakland if the lease isn't approved soon, he thinks there's a serious possibility that they might move to San Antonio, Texas, or Montreal because both cities have stadiums that can be used immediately for baseball.

— Bay City News Service


Like this comment
Posted by Westerner
a resident of San Ramon
on Jul 10, 2014 at 9:22 am

Meanwhile, Oakland might be losing the Warriors to San Francisco. That would be a disaster.

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