Prior to the presentation will be an open forum. Speakers should be expected after the presentation as well. One or more Raiders fan groups were asking for fans to show up to give support for Coliseum City. If the last one of these sessions at City Hall is any indication, there should be a smattering of A’s gear and plenty of folks wearing both “Oakland” teams’ colors. And maybe a Warriors fan or two.
When the feasibility study was green lighted last year, there were plenty of suggestions to include many different alternatives. This ran the gamut from the different open air/dome options we’ve discussed repeatedly to different sites and even an alternative in which no teams remained at the Coliseum. I’m curious to see what alternatives were explored, and how thoroughly the consultants considered each of them. As this is an initial presentation, there’s no expectation that any action would be taken regarding the direction of the Coliseum City project. Any kind of major decision involving scope would likely be part of the broader EIR process, and as we know, that document isn’t out yet (probably fall).
The feasibility study was written by AECOM, the huge architectural and design services firm that until last week was involved with the W’s and their Piers 30/32 arena. AECOM’s a large enough company that different groups will be working on these projects with very different scopes, though it’s possible that some of the principals shared notes. Studies like these will talk a lot about project costs, though it’s also normal for them to include rosy projections about economic impact and revenue. We’ll see how honest this one is. Naturally, I’m most interested in the costs of the different alternatives, especially the two-stadium and three-venue options.
Just as important is that this is the first large project of this type that’s being planned in the post-redevelopment era. The report should reflect that reality and identify other sources of funding for infrastructure and the like. There may also be a mention of other public funding sources, such as the $40 million lost when Measure B1 went down to defeat last November.
From a general public debate standpoint, a feasibility study is better than an EIR in some ways. EIRs are so thick and thorough that it’s easy to get bogged down in the details – and specific cost isn’t even a major consideration. With a feasibility study, we can finally start having that discussion about how much it will cost to retain the Coliseum’s tenants. The EIR has its place when it comes to identifying changes and mitigations that will need to be made to support the project. For now, this is at least a start of a real dialogue. Better late than never.