Bay Area/ Oakland/ Real Estate & Development
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Published on May 23, 2024
Oakland Sells 50% Stake in Coliseum to African American Sports Group Amidst Budget Crisis, Aiming for Massive Site RevampSource: Quintin Soloviev, CC BY 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

To relieve its financial strains, the City of Oakland has agreed to sell its 50% stake in the Oakland Coliseum to the African American Sports & Entertainment Group (AASEG) for a deal that starts at $105 million. The other half remains under the ownership of the Oakland A's, posing a potential snag in future redevelopment efforts. This transaction comes at a critical time as the city faces a projected $177 million budget deficit and is grappling with severe cuts to essential services.

The sale to AASEG could not just serve to buoy the city's accounts momentarily but also aim to kickstart the revitalization of the Coliseum site. Plans to potentially bring WNBA and Black-led NFL teams to the area have been mooted. According to a CBS News Bay Area report, the group is also entertaining a massive $5 billion site overhaul to infuse housing, retail, and park spaces into the current concrete expanse. However, despite the optimism, the local community remains cautiously speculative about the promised developments.

As the city prepares to divest from its stakes in the Coliseum, the Mayor's office highlighted that the proceeds would help Oakland avoid potentially painful cuts, explicitly sparing police services from the chopping block. As SFist reports, this development prevents the anticipated layoffs of city workers and the shutting down of four fire stations.

While the AASEG has expressed intentions to acquire the A's portion of the site, previous proposals, like a $115 million offer, have not successfully clenched a deal. The group's representative, Ray Bobbitt, indicated they are currently "in healthy negotiations" with the A's for their stake in the Coliseum. "I'm under an NDA with respect to our negotiations with the Athletics," Bobbitt told CBS News Bay Area, avoiding further detail about the ongoing talks. The situation is further tangled by a lawsuit that could potentially disrupt the completion of the A's purchase from Alameda County, slated to become official in 2026.

Local residents like Mike continue to question what the redevelopment would mean for them, especially in terms of job opportunities. "Yeah, I'd like to see that," Mike said in a statement obtained by CBS News Bay Area. "What about the jobs? Who's gonna get the jobs? Are they going to have jobs for people here or what?" The city, while having divested its share, is yet to completely pay off its part in the 1990s renovations of the complex, a financial obligation that must be fulfilled before the sale is fully realized.