Oakland A’s Seeking To Buy Coliseum

Oakland A’s Seeking To Buy Coliseum
The Oakland Coliseum during a game last year. Photos: Scott Morris/Hoodline
By Scott Morris - Published on March 26, 2018.

Thwarted in their efforts to build a stadium near Laney College last year, the Oakland Athletics announced their intent today to purchase the site of the Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum complex.

In a letter to Mayor Libby Schaaf and the Oakland City Council, team President Dave Kaval said the A's are interested in purchasing the facility in exchange in paying off $135 million in public debt owed by the city and county against the site.

“If consummated, our offer would end the long-standing cash drain from the city and county’s general funds caused by ownership of the Coliseum, and ensure the A’s possess one assured route to a new privately financed stadium in Oakland,” Kaval wrote.

The A's announced their desire to buy the Coliseum site via Twitter. (Larger version)

The A’s are looking at the Coliseum site as a fallback for now in their search for a new stadium. After Kaval was named team president in 2016, he announced a renewed intention to build a stadium in Oakland, rallying around a new “Rooted in Oakland” slogan.

At the time, the A’s were considering three potential sites: at the Peralta Community College District offices across the street from Laney College, Howard Terminal near Jack London Square, and at the Coliseum itself.

In September, the A’s announced their intent to build a ballpark at the Laney site, asking the college’s Board of Trustees to begin negotiations for use of the site. That never got very far, as the board decided in December not to pursue the matter.

In today's letter, Kaval said the A’s are still examining the Howard Terminal site, and have been in discussions with the Port of Oakland and other stakeholders about the possibility of building a ballpark there. But there are still concerns about infrastructure and transportation access.

The A's are still considering building a ballpark at Howard Terminal.

“Given our previous experience at Peralta, it has become clear that the A’s need to solidify control of the one site in Oakland that offers an assured path for the development of a new privately financed baseball venue—the existing Coliseum complex,” Kaval wrote.

The site includes not only the Coliseum but the surrounding parking lot and Oracle Arena, where the Golden State Warriors play. The A’s are expected to be the only remaining sports team in the complex soon, with the Oakland Raiders planning to move to Las Vegas and the Warriors in the process of moving to San Francisco.

City officials said they are open to the offer.

“I’m excited to work with the A’s in their commitment to stay in Oakland and build a privately financed ballpark,” said Mayor Libby Schaaf, who has said she is in favor of the Howard Terminal site. “We look forward to reviewing, analyzing, and considering the offer.”

City Councilmember Rebecca Kaplan, who has said she prefers the existing Coliseum site, said she is “very interested in exploring a sale.”

“With some additional steps it can truly be a compelling and welcoming site, such as by building an improved, more attractive, and larger walkway from BART into the site, and developing additional uses on the site to serve fans and provide additional functions along with ballpark development,” Kaplan said.