Category Archives: Football
Two weeks after a potential investor group headed by Colony Capital and Rashid Al Malik’s HayaH Holdings was revealed, that same group was formally approved as part of the master developer team. With that approval comes a 12-month extension on the ENA (exclusive negotiating agreement) to figure out all most of the details, plus a 6-month administrative extension if needed.
That’s the news. Now let’s try to understand what has to happen next.
The City of Oakland has about $250,000 remaining in money it assigned towards Coliseum City studies. Bay Investment Group (BayIG), the Colony/HayaH partnership, will put in $500,000 towards a market study to determine the viability of Coliseum City. This is important since BayIG is expected to push that study to its own individual investors, who as a group will decide if/how to move forward. The forthcoming study is not to be confused with AECOM’s feasibility study, which was made available during the summer.
Over the next 12 months, the public and private sides have to make good on a set of deliverables. Some within the City, especially CM Larry Reid, wanted a shorter 6-month + 6 month extension instead of the 12 + 6 deal that was approved. Reid’s concerns, aired last week in a committee meetings, were that 12 + 6 was too long a period and didn’t show the necessary urgency to the NFL and the Raiders. Raiders owner Mark Davis has indicated that he wants a lease/stadium deal in place shortly after the NFL season ends.
Nevertheless, Coliseum City will move forward on its own timeline because BayIG asked for 12 + 6 in order to get everything in order. A short list of deliverables looks like this:
- November – Estimate on cost of remaining pre-development work
- February – Assessment of new infrastructure costs
- April – Letter(s) of intent from team(s) who choose to sign on with plan
- May – BayIG market analysis
- Summer/Fall – EIR and Specific Plan
These items, along with additional smaller ones, should lead up to preliminary project approval in whatever form it takes, plus a DDA (disposition and development agreement), the contract fine print on how Coliseum City is built, including costs, financing, and timelines. Zennie Abraham caught up with Oakland Asst. City Administrator Fred Blackwell at the meeting to summarize what’s next.
Simply put, BayIG just bought the City of Oakland and Alameda County some time. However, it’s easy to see how the list of deliverables doesn’t exactly line up with the timeframe that Davis is trying to dictate. Moving forward, the issue is whether the dev team can show significant enough progress to get Davis to sign on and sign a separate lease at the Coliseum that would keep the Raiders in Oakland throughout the transition. Then again, that part’s a little confusing too. When Raiders uber-fan Dr. Death asked JRDV’s Ed McFarlan when the earliest groundbreaking could be he received this rather optimistic response.
He said ground breaking for coliseum city would happen in September if all goes as planned
— Dr.Death (@26DrDeath) October 14, 2013
That seems unlikely given the scope of the project and all the little details that need to figured out. Is that groundbreaking for a new stadium alongside the existing Coliseum? Certainly it couldn’t be demolishing the current Coliseum and building on the same site, since the demo itself would take months and would displace both the Raiders and A’s. While BayIG indicated that it will reach out to the A’s and Warriors to gauge their interest in Coliseum City, it’s extremely unlikely that either team will commit. Despite recent setbacks, both teams are focused on their San Jose and San Francisco plans, respectively. Plus they’d have to commit without all deliverables in place, especially that market analysis. If you think that Lew Wolff would sign a short-term lease without knowing the development’s impact on the A’s, you’re crazy.
For the next 12 months, BayIG has control over most of the process. They could press the deal if they see encouraging signs, or they could kill it if the market analysis looks bad. They’re in great shape considering that they’ve only committed $500,000 towards the project – chump change for billionaires. Just as important, they don’t have to adhere to a specific vision of Coliseum City, though they’re positioning themselves to have at least the football stadium in place. Consider last night’s report on the agenda item:
The Coliseum City Master Plan is providing the basis upon which the City is currently under a separate contract with a specialized planning consultant firm to complete a Specific Plan and CEQA/EIR analysis. The Specific Plan will also identify alternatives to the Master Plan and will consider different development scenarios that will envision zero up to three sports facilifies at the site. Pursuant to CEQA, the separate planning contract will prepare an EIR to address the potential physical environmental effects of the Coliseum City project.
There’s nothing new there, but BayIG is positioned to take advantage of it. There could be a single football stadium, a football stadium and a ballpark, even an arena. At this early stage, it looks like it’ll just be the Raiders stadium, though even that is far from a given. BayIG could find that the best thing to do is to minimize its investment in the stadium, or seek out revenue streams from the stadium or team that could help pay back their investment. The infrastructure cost, which will be borne by City/County, could also prove prohibitively high on top of the remaining debt to be carried at the Coliseum. BayIG could even go with zero venues at the Coliseum. Such a plan would probably not get approval from City since it would represent a white flag. Yet it remains a distinct possibility – if not now, within a few years.
The upside, regardless of your optimism or skepticism of Coliseum City, is that things are coming to a head. Coliseum was introduced more than 21 months ago, and has shown only the most tentative progress until a few weeks ago. Now’s the time to put up, to see what results Coliseum City can yield. No more stalling, and for that we can all be glad.
Note: The only local mainstream media coverage of yesterday’s news came from CSNBA’s Scott Bair. Seems like everyone else was preoccupied with transit strikes and some other multibillion dollar development in the South Bay which is a lot more than vapor.
The Raiders and the NFL announced yesterday that the team will one of three franchises to host “home” games next season in London’s Wembley Stadium. Jacksonville, which has done this before, and Atlanta will also be “home” teams. It’s an expansion of the NFL’s exposure in Europe. Previous seasons often had only one London fixture, this season has two. Both of this season’s games are sellouts, which likely convinced NFL brass to expand the program.
CSNBA’s Scott Bair notes that the Radiers’ current lease, which ends this season, has a requirement that the Raiders play all home games at the Coliseum. A lease extension would have to be amended to reflect the new arrangement. Of course, the Raiders and the Coliseum Authority first have to agree to basic terms of a new lease, and there are no indicators that the two sides are close to completion of that yet. Owner Mark Davis has made it clear that he wants to tie a lease to a long-term deal that produces a new stadium for his franchise.
Enter today’s Matier & Ross item, which described the NFL as not impressed in Oakland and the JPA’s efforts regarding Coliseum City.
‘The NFL came in a couple of months back to see how the city and county were coming along with their plans and basically rolled their eyes,’ said a source close to the Davis camp, who asked not to be named because of ongoing negotiations in Oakland over a possible replacement for the Coliseum.
Surprised? You shouldn’t be. Davis has chided the JPA about an apparent lack of urgency on their part. Last week’s news that big-pocketed investors including Colony Capital helps their cause. The structure of the deal that pushes out the JPA’s study another 12-18 months doesn’t. That’s probably why the NFL isn’t impressed. They can see right through the public officials’ moves, which are mostly stalling tactics until something drops into their lap. The NFL has not shown patience with that in the past. They want results. Plus they’re fine with Davis talking to anyone who will listen, whether that’s in LA, Concord, wherever.
Moreover, Matier & Ross bring up the idea that if Colony is asked to help subsidize the stadium, they’ll want something out of it. Maybe that means a piece of a team or even a controlling share. That’s not likely to happen on Davis’s watch, as he’s been buying out smaller ownership stakes to further strengthen his hold over the franchise. Perhaps that’s for the purposes of flipping a small minority stake in exchange for a stadium, but no more than that. As we’ve seen with the NFL’s discussions with AEG over Farmers Field, no owner nor the league has any interest in swapping a major ownership stake for stadium rights. I wrote previously that Colony will want to pay as little as possible for a stadium since it’s money pit. This is the opposite of such an arrangement. Whatever the case, Colony didn’t grow to its current size and status by giving things away. The JPA can keep studying the issue until the cows come home. The NFL will remain unimpressed.
If you attended the game on Saturday, you probably noticed that the only thing faster than the A’s running onto the field after Stephen Vogt’s walkoff single was the Coliseum’s conversion crew, getting ready to do the big switch. As I hoped, someone captured the entire thing on time-lapse video. Claiming credit is SF media company Evolve Media.
The conversion was announced as complete around 3 PM Sunday, 5+ hours before the rescheduled Chargers-Raiders game. That means it took 18 hours to complete the change, a very impressive figure for sure. For now it looks like the crew has been granted a well-deserved break, as they didn’t tear down the seats immediately after the Raiders won. However, a decision will have to made soon on if/when to switch back to baseball, perhaps as soon as after Game 3 ends. The issue for the Coliseum Authority is that there isn’t a Raiders game at home until October 27, a good three weeks from now. If the A’s don’t advance and the Authority decides not to pull the trigger on the conversion, they could save themselves $500,000. If they wait until the last minute and the field ends up extra crappy because of it, the teams playing Game 5 and MLB will not be pleased. Here’s to hoping the A’s can force the issue.
Matier and Ross report that Raiders owner Mark Davis took a tour of the decommissioned Concord Naval Weapons Station last week, in search of a potential stadium site for the Silver and Black. Sure, Davis has stated publicly that his preference is to stay in Oakland, but he has been looking around the Bay Area and Los Angeles to see what kinds of deals he can dig up.
Last year Davis made the local political rounds in Dublin, as he had an eye on the Army’s Camp Parks facility. Like CNWS, it’s very large and is in the middle of a transition. At both Camp Parks and CNWS, there’s valuable land available remarkably close to freeway access and even public transit. In theory, it just needs to be cleaned up, planned accordingly, and redeveloped.
The military branches – in this case the Navy – are in control of the remediation (cleanup) process. They also control the price of land sales, and given the trend of military cutbacks, they’re not going to give away free land. Municipalities also have a say, because in the end they’ll need to properly integrate these massive tracts of land into their own long range plans (link worth reading if you want to understand the process).
In the map above, the gray area is devoted to different types of development. Closest to the North Concord/Martinez BART station is expected to be high-density, transit-oriented development: office and residential towers and the like. Further east and south may be office parks and lower density residential. Greenbelts wrap around the various districts. A golf course and open space preserve largely cover the area east of Mt. Diablo Creek. These 5,000 acres, dubbed the Inland Area, are the most ready to develop because they were decommissioned over a decade ago. The other part of CNWS, the 7,000-acre Tidal Area, is still in use. The Tidal Area is the portion north of Highway 4 along Suisun Bay.
Davis’s interest in CNWS seems to run counter to his stated desire for urgency at the Coliseum. It’s unlikely that anything substantial can be built at CNWS before the end of the decade, and no one’s going to make an exception just for a football stadium. That must be why Davis hired Don Perata as a consultant. Perata, the former State Senate President and Oakland mayoral candidate, who now works out of Orinda. Perata could grease the skids as a lobbyist in Sacramento, which could result in a CEQA-sidestep bill similar to the ones executed for the Sacramento and San Francisco arenas.
Besides the literal mess that needs to be cleaned up at CNWS, a stadium needs to be compatible with Concord and Contra Costa County’s growth initiatives. Preferably the stadium should be within walking distance of the BART station. That use – a big stadium with acres of parking around it – doesn’t fit with any TOD plans. The City of Concord will want some federal grant money to assist in building infrastructure for the TOD section, so they won’t allow a stadium to jeopardize that. The salmon-colored area in the map above is roughly 1/2 mile from the BART station, about as far as you’d want to walk from the station to attend a game. 100 acres of parking would have to be found somewhere in the vicinity. For environmental impact reasons, the stadium couldn’t be located adjacent to the planned preserve area. Freeway access is another matter. I can’t imagine how awful the traffic on CA-4 would be for a Monday Night game. CA-4 and I-680 are the main highways in, with CA-242 providing a shortcut from the south. Sunday afternoons shouldn’t be so bad, but if a lot of fans are coming in from eastern Contra Costa County and Stockton, it’s not going to be pretty.
Obviously, a lot of issues would need to be figured out before Davis even had a prayer of making CNWS a good relocation site. Like Coliseum City, it has a number of costs associated with it that have major funding question marks. Yet it’s also clear that Davis is not content to sit and wait for a deal to fall into his lap. If he wants to get something done somewhere, that’s the kind of proactive work ethic he’ll have to show. In that sense, the apple doesn’t fall too far from the tree.
It’s terrible timing to have a column about Oakland titled “Death of Sports Town” as the A’s jump into the postseason, yet here it is. Written by ESPN the Magazine writer and former Chronicle scribe Tim Keown, the piece tries to codify the meaning and value professional sports teams provide to their home communities.
Keown deftly explains the socioeconomic dichotomy that stratifies Oakland, the lack of outsider faith in The Town, the city government’s ongoing ineptitude, and the greed of owners who already have one foot out the door.
At the end of the column is a plea from Keown for the owners and overseers of these sports to, for once, forgo the extra $$$ and try to keep the community intact.
In the relentlessly monarchical world of professional sports, someone has to be able to forsake a digit or two in the bank account to create a legacy more meaningful than a trust fund that’ll cover a lifetime of BMWs and Botox treatments for the grandchildren of his grandchildren. Someone has to consider the void left behind.
Yet Keown can’t clearly answer the question he poses about gauging the impact of pro sports. I don’t know that anyone can. Yes, they are part of the fabric of any community fortunate to have them there. He drops the Raider-turned-San Leandro-cop Kenny Shedd anecdote. He interviewed Oakland native and NBA rising star Damian Lillard, who grew up near the Coliseum. These are all good, but anecdotes are the worst kind of gauge. There should be something between these feel-good stories and cold political calculation, as was exhibited in the Oakland Chamber’s poll yesterday.
In the poll, 50% felt that it was very or extremely important to keep the franchises in town. 55% of the 500 respondents said that they hadn’t attended an A’s game in the last 12 months. Another 20% only went 1-2 times. Obviously, part of the reason has to be the Coliseum’s dilapidated state. Some may be turned off by ownership. It shouldn’t be the team, since they’ve been meme-ing the sports world for the last 15 months. Someday someone – perhaps multiple people – will write an academic study on Oakland and its relationship with sports. Hopefully it’s not an eulogy.
Earlier in the year, Oakland Mayor Jean Quan talked up foreign investment in Coliseum City, which had the potential to fill in funding gaps for one or more venues planned for the project. The Trib’s Matthew Artz reports tonight, on the eve of a Tuesday City Council closed session, that those investors are a partnership between real estate powerhouse Colony Capital and Dubai financier Rashid Al Malik. The closed session would presumably lead to a public discussion item on October 8, which should include some basic terms for the price of the land, a development timeline, and other critical information.
Colony/Al Malik are no strangers to bidding on expensive properties. In the spring they jumped to the lead in bidding for arena/stadium giant AEG. Eventually they balked as AEG honcho Phil Anschutz refused to budge from his asking price, purportedly up to $10 billion. That led to the departure of Farmers Field champion Tim Leiweke, leaving the football stadium project in limbo.
Coliseum City, which could cost $2 billion just for a replacement arena and separate baseball and football stadia, is expected to have billions more in development costs associated with offices, retail, and additional infrastructure. It has the potential to be the biggest single redevelopment project in California history.
The main problem is that redevelopment is yesterday’s plan. Tax increment is off limits thanks to Governor Brown’s dismantling of redevelopment agencies all over the state. While TIF couldn’t finance a lion’s share of the project, it could’ve helped take care of the infrastructure work, which no developer wants to take on if he can help it. The closed session talks are centered around land sales, so Oakland (and Alameda County) could conceivably sell Coliseum land or other nearby properties to help raise the public share. It’s not much of a departure from Lew Wolff’s Pacific Commons plan, which involved a fairly simple purchase option of privately owned, not publicly owned, land. While the Bay Area’s real estate market is experiencing a rebound, chances are that Oakland would name a price favorable for Colony/Al Malik in order to get them to play ball.
If you’re Colony/Al Malik, you want to be able to get in with as little equity or borrowing as possible. At the same time, we’re hearing that the project could work with only one or two venues as opposed to three. That works in Colony/Al Malik’s favor, since there would presumably be less money going towards stadia that would otherwise go to their shareholders. Not having to build a new ballpark or arena would also free up 10-15 acres of “prime” development land near the Raiders stadium. Of course, that has to be balanced with the recognition that more venues equals more events and event days, which would make the project more attractive to prospective tenants. There’s the possibility that no teams remain, which would result in no new venues. There’s also a remaining disconnect regarding the different players’ respective visions. Raiders owner Mark Davis continues to focus on a smallish outdoor stadium with less than 60,000 seats. Planning consultant JRDV (and previously Mayor Quan) want something larger – and perhaps retractably domed – that could attract big events such as the Super Bowl.
There’s one other angle to play here. In 2010, Colony bought the construction firm Tutor-Saliba, the contractor responsible for rebuilding the Coliseum Arena, Mt. Davis (no, they weren’t the architects), and several transit projects including the planned California High Speed Rail and the BART-to-SFO extension. Colony could see some additional opportunities associated with having Tutor-Saliba control the construction process for much of the project. Not sure how that might conflict with an open bidding process often required when using public funds.
Besides the failed AEG bid, Colony and Al Malik have had their share of hits and misses. Colony invested heavily in Station Casinos just as the recession was starting, and Station eventually declared bankruptcy. Al Malik was head of Dubai Aerospace and launched an aggressive strategy to buy (and lease out) a bunch of jumbo jets in 2006. He quit the company in 2008 as DAE floundered. Colony once co-owned the French football club Paris St.-Germain, then flipped it to investors from Qatar two years ago.
There’s a great sense of irony in that much of the criticism of A’s managing partner Lew Wolff is that he’s a “greedy developer” who only wants to make money. Yet who is Oakland bringing in to give Coliseum City a whiff of viability? One of the richest developer/hedge fund groups in the world, Colony Capital. The master developer for Coliseum City appears to be Forest City, the company Brown favored for Uptown condos and apartments instead of a ballpark. When you need big money and expertise, there are only so many places to find it. What are the chances that this group isn’t “greedy”? Slim and none.
Update 12:25 PM – Got a copy of today’s agenda (thanks Matt Artz). The resolution calls for a 12-month extension of the ENA (Exclusive Negotiating Agreement) to figure out the terms of the deal. This comes on the heels of the the original ENA expiring October 21. In addition to the 12 months there would be another 6-month administrative extension option. No additional money would be needed to complete all of the project deliverables, a concern going back from the early summer.
What I have to wonder is what Mark Davis thinks of all of this. While it’s good to have the potential for additional investment to help defray the stadium cost, here’s another case of the JPA/Oakland/Alameda County pushing a deadline out. This time it could go into early 2015 before things are finalized. This doesn’t seem like the kind of urgency that Davis is looking for:
Whether there’s a sense of urgency or not? I know there is on our side. We have to find out how urgent on their side. The picture that’s been drawn is there. We know what needs to get done. It’s just whether it’s going to be able to be done.
It’s Davis, after all, who’s pushing for a long-term lease extension tied to a new stadium development deal. How does this news affect that? Another 2-3 year lease to stay in the game?