Alameda County OKs Plan to Sell Its Share of Oakland Coliseum Complex to A's

Oracle Arena, left, and the Oakland Coliseum. The Alameda County Board of Supervisors has approved a plan to sell its ownership stake in the complex -- 50 percent -- to the Oakland A's.  (Dan Brekke/KQED)

Alameda County plans to sell its share of the Oakland Coliseum and Oracle Arena to one of the complex’s current tenants, the Oakland A's.

County supervisors voted unanimously on Tuesday to proceed with negotiating an $85 million agreement with the A's.

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In a memo to the board, Alameda County Administrator Susan Muranishi said the county could use that money to pay off its portion of the outstanding bond debt on the Coliseum renovations that brought the Raiders back to Oakland from Los Angeles in 1995. Muranishi said that would save the county $13 million annually.

Supervisor Nate Miley said in addition to the financial benefits to the county, the sale would let Alameda County get out of the sports business, and break a stalemate created in past years by the Coliseum's many stakeholders and tenants.

“It will remove the county from that equation, and it will allow for at least one sports team to negotiate effectively with one public entity instead of a three-headed monster — which is the county, the city and the joint powers authority” that oversees the complex, Miley said.

The A's still hope to build a new ballpark at Howard Terminal, near Jack London Square, and are currently in negotiations with the Port of Oakland, which owns that site. The A's say that once that stadium is open, the team would redevelop the Coliseum area with housing, a skills center and recreation areas. Their plan would keep Oracle Arena in place as an entertainment venue and preserve the footprint of the Coliseum’s field for community baseball.

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With the county preparing to sell its share of the Coliseum, the complex's other owner is the city of Oakland.

Mayor Libby Schaaf told the supervisors before their vote that they shouldn't approve the sale to the team without requiring the A's to commit to community benefits such as affordable housing, good union jobs and healthy environmental standards.

But Supervisor Scott Haggerty said the county can't do anything about those issues because it doesn’t have jurisdiction over the Coliseum property.

"That discussion would be better in the Oakland City Council's chambers," Haggerty said.

Oakland A's President Dave Kaval said after the board's vote that he hopes the A's can finalize the deal with the county soon.

"We're looking forward to working with the city" on ways to develop the Coliseum site, Kaval said, adding that the A's also would be interested in buying the city's share if it wants to sell it.

The A’s also made some progress in Sacramento this week on legislation to support the Howard Terminal ballpark. A bill that would allow the development along the Oakland Estuary passed one Assembly committee on Monday and is scheduled to be heard by a second committee next week.

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