Artist's rendering of the proposed Coliseum City project

Artist’s rendering of the proposed Coliseum City project

October 2013

Prospects for building the Coliseum City complex and possibly keeping at least two of Oakland’s professional sports teams in Oakland looked a little brighter earlier this month with the announcement that new investors had come forward to help finance the project. The Oakland Tribune reported October 1 that, “A well-connected Dubai financier and the world’s third-largest privately held real estate firm are teaming up to invest in Coliseum City, providing a significant shot-in-the-arm to Oakland’s effort to redevelop the sprawling Coliseum complex into a sports and entertainment center.” The newspaper reported that a partnership formed by Colony Capital LLC and Rashid Al Malik of Dubai would help to fund a feasibility study for a new stadium.

The City entered into an Exclusive Negotiating Agreement in March 2012 with Forest City Real Estate Services, Oakland-based JRDV Architects and HKS Sports and Entertainment to develop Coliseum City—a mixed-use housing, retail, and office complex near the Oakland Coliseum. At that time, the Council also approved spending $3.5 million on planning for a new stadium, hotels, conference center, shopping, entertainment and other amenities in the 750-acre area around the Coliseum and along Hegenberger Road.

The actual development and construction of the project would be funded through a combination of private investment, rents and leases, parking fees, possible bonds, and other sources.

The development could generate up to 32,000 jobs, and it become a major economic catalyst that could reshape the city’s future, according to Oakland officials. Along with new sports venues and a retail component, the development could also expand to include biotech, life sciences, research and development, multimedia, green tech, and other industries. The City is hoping that Coliseum City’s proximity to the Oakland International Airport will attract businesses to the area, and touted its proximity to the Airport, BART and the BART-Airport Connector, and freeways as good reasons for the teams to stay in Oakland.

On October 8, the Oakland City Council Community and Economic Development Committee approved a 12-month extension of the Exclusive Negotiating Agreement with the development team. Council President Pat Kernighan, said, “We’ve  been looking for this kind of investment  in Oakland  for a long, long time. We need to seize the moment.”

The online news site Oakland Local reported that the developers hope to have letters of interest from the Raiders, Athletics and Warriors by next April. Oakland Local also noted that the Raiders have had direct discussions with the project’s new investors. It is still to be determined whether the Oakland A’s can be persuaded to stay in Oakland as the team owners have expressed a desire to move to San Jose.

The Warriors are moving ahead with plans to build a new arena on Piers 30-32 just south of the Bay Bridge in San Francisco in time for the 2017 season. The Warriors’ SF project took a step forward in September with passage of a bill by SF Assemblymember Phil Ting that puts the final decision about whether that project meets state requirements for waterfront development in the hands of the State Lands Commission; the project was recently changed to include more maritime uses in compliance with state coastal development laws.