Yesterday’s important takeaway is that City & County are on the same page

Update 1:05 PM – SF Business Times has more on the land deal aspect, including quotes from Floyd Kephart. 

Yes, Raiders and A’s fans alike can start dreaming up their new stadium(s), all shiny and new. A proper team store inside each. There will be chances to compare whatever’s proposed on each proposal’s merits. And there’s a great likelihood that whatever each team proposes pushes the other out of the Coliseum due to scarce land resources and financing difficulties. When those proposals are presented, we’ll have plenty of time to discuss them. It’s entirely speculation at this point, so I don’t want to focus on that yet.

Instead, I want to look at the one less exciting news item that came out of the last couple of days. As Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf reiterated during her interview with Damon Bruce yesterday, the City of Oakland and Alameda County are finally working together on plans for the Coliseum. Prior to this week, the City had been working on Coliseum City independently of the County, leaving the County to consider working on its own alternatives. They even got to the point of hiring a new general manager for the JPA along with a development consulting firm headed by former City Manager Robert Bobb before backing away. Eventually they decided that the best way forward was to work in concert with the City, since both parties will need to sign off on any future plans.

The biggest obstacle for the City and County is that blasted remaining Coliseum complex debt. At $200 million (split almost evenly between the stadium and arena), it is an albatross threatening the feasibility of any project at the Coliseum. Thankfully, that debt is being whittled away over time by annual payments, so in a few years it’ll be about 25% less. That’s still a heavy load on buildings that may well be demolished as part of any plan, so dealing with the debt in a responsible way is arguably the biggest responsibility for Oakland and Alameda County all told.

The Coliseum complex's location adjacent to BART makes it hugely valuable to developers

The Coliseum complex’s location adjacent to BART makes it hugely valuable to developers

The one major asset the City and County have available to them is 120 acres of land, comprised of the Coliseum complex, additionally required property out to Hegenberger, and a smattering of parcels near the BART station. Many are presuming that the land could be swapped for the remaining debt, however much that is when the time comes. That may be a bad presumption, considering the complex’s value as a potential Transit Oriented Development site. Even if you discard 30 acres for new venues, that’s 90 acres to play with, one of the largest TOD sites in the Bay Area (along with Bay Meadows and San Jose Berryessa).

How much is the Coliseum land worth? Located in East Oakland and surrounded by light industrial uses, no one’s going to ask for $7-10 million. What is the the fair market value, though? A listing on Loopnet for nearly 3 acres just north of the complex is asking for $6.75 million, or $2.36 million per acre.


At that rate, the publicly owned 120 acres would be worth $283 million, which would be double the value of the remaining Coliseum debt in a few years. Maybe the JPA uses land sale proceeds for infrastructure, maybe it gets split between the City and County – either way it’s worth more than simply giving away the land to the Raiders or A’s in exchange for paying the debt. One of the owners may even consider those proceeds as a worthy public contribution for a stadium. As the adult conversation continues in earnest, City and County will bring in an appraiser to figure out FMV for that land, find out its revenue generating potential as it gets rezoned, and plan for how to use future revenue streams. It’s a conversation that’s bigger than just keeping teams in town.

If a proposal lowballs land value, as Lew Wolff’s 66th/High (Coliseum North) plan did, selling the land may be considered a nonstarter. If land is the public’s biggest asset and leverage, it hold true to guarding it in the public’s interest. That may lead to discussions in which only parts of the land are sold. In any case, it should be a very lively conversation, one Oakland and Alameda County need to have whether there are two or zero teams in Oakland in a decade.

48 thoughts on “Yesterday’s important takeaway is that City & County are on the same page

  1. Yes, this is another big move forward. It’s amazing what happens when there is competent leadership in place. The Quan years were basically a long pause on real progress at the Coliseum.

    • I’d hold off on declaring anything a big move foward at this point. Jean Quan started Victory Court fanclub shortly after taking office. A few years later, she started the Coliseum City fanclub. At this point, Mayor Schaaf is just expanding/revising the scope of the discussion to get everyone on the same page. For all we know, it’ll be a fruitless as all the other attempts. We can hope for the best, but for now this is just a gesture.

      • Actually, I disagree a bit. Quan alienated everyone involved in the process to her detriment. The county and city working together is a big step forward and one that wouldn’t be happening with Quan involved.

        You’re right, the biggest obstacles to scale are still in front of them. They need one of the teams to buy in and financially, it’s going to be tough for that to be the Raiders and some would argue that philosophically it will be hard for that to be the A’s.

        I believe we are going to see a real effort from both teams to work with the City and County, but we won’t know for certain for a little while.

      • @jeffreyaugust
        I agree that we will now see the teams work more closely with the city/county. I don’t think we will see them work with each other though.

      • Yeah, I agree. This is going to be an either/or result.

      • Other big difference is that Schaaf is at least presenting a chance for the A’s to call their own shot. The other proposals required the A’s to sign-on to someone else’s idea.

      • Briggs: It’s all relative. Compared to anything Quan did, this is big. Sure, the actual work has to get done now, but this move will likely result in the city and county getting behind one reality-based proposal for one new venue moving forward.

        Nothing Quan did represented real progress like that or was ever based on anything within the realm of possibility. It was all grandiose dreams of three teams, new estuary inlets and massive redevelopment for miles around. That kind of nonsense is what kept developers and the county on the sidelines all this time. Only time will tell, but it looks like those days are over. To me, that’s big.

  2. If “hugely valuable to developers” is true, than why has anything happened yet? Two heavy hitting development groups down for the count on Coli City; is Kephart next?

    Lots of happy talk being bandied about re Schaaf lately; sounds almost like the beginnings of Dellums and Quan all over again. Hopefully something gets done for the Raiders, but the odds are highly stacked against it.

    Get er done Floyd and/or Mark!!

    • The land is clearly valuable to developers, especially without stadiums. The inclusion of 1 or 2 venues (up to 3 if you count not demolishing Oracle) on land that could otherwise be used for profitable development seems to be what has given developers pause so far.

      If the land were up for development without the virtual requirement by the city/county to include sports venues, I have no doubt that a torrent of developers would be jockeying to obtain the rights.

      • I’d further say that if the requirement was just a baseball stadium, this would already be done.

      • I would agree if Wolff were the primary developer. I’m not so sure a ballpark-only (i.e. ballpark and ancillary development) setup would be done or even under construction right now if it were being helmed by a 3rd party developer.

      • Of course you’d say that Jeffrey: you love the A’s and abhor the Raiders. Of course, nothing wrong with that: all of our opinions here are jaded by our bias’ and desires.

      • SMG,
        So without stadiums we’d have a city within a city by now at the Coli? Interesting..

      • I don’t abhor the Raiders. I’ve been to more of their games in the past 2 years than the 49ers (my team of choice).

        I was referring to simple math, $500M vs. $1B in stadium construction costs.

      • “I’ve been to more of their games in the past 2 years than the 49ers (my team of choice).”

        Out of curiosity, why?

        (Not second guessing; I personally think Raider games are more fun notwithstanding the lousy product on the field in recent years, just curious as to your reasons).

      • A few things:

        Available cheap tickets
        A really fun crowd
        Easy for me to get there from Pleasanton (Candlestick was a real bitch, though I went to at least 1 49ers game each year)
        My family is pretty evenly divided on the Raiders v 49ers front so I went with my cousin a time or two.
        Levi’s Stadium was crazy expensive and though I got invited to some corporate events, I hate those things.

    • I don’t ever bet, but I am willing to bet you a beer that the A’s will eventually have a stadium in the Coliseum Parking lot.

      How about, loser buys two seats and a beer for the winner and we go to the first A’s game in SJ/Oakland that works out for both of our schedules in 2020 (hopefully in a new stadium)?

      If this is still unclear by 2020, the bet is null and void 🙂

      • @ jeffreyaugust
        2020, mam sometimes I wonder if it will happen that soon. We have been at this for a long time. At this point I think I’m ready to purchase a beer for every regular commenter when the A’s get a new park (San Jose or Oakland), coke or Pepsi if they don’t drink beer.

      • Your on my friend! I’ll take my beer cold at Cisco Field (though it might be after 2020, in which case I’ll get the first round out of shear happiness)

      • obviously, if the stadium is built by 2019, we move it in a year 🙂

  3. Wonder how MLB feels about no new ballpark for the A’s until 2019, at the very earliest.

  4. Of course, none of these positive developments addresses the major problem with getting new stadiums built in Oakland: The lack of public funds.

    • Right. The one little positive we got is that the city and county are getting on the same page. Now we have to wait to see the competing plans and their financing (or lack thereof) mechanisms. Baby steps.

    • And, once again, a privately built A’s ballpark in Oakland has a much better chance of succeeding if developers don’t have to reserve a huge chunk of land for a gigtantic, non-revenue-generating $1 billion football stadium and parking for it. That space would be put to better use as commercial, office and residential development that could fund the ballpark…It occurs to me that the NFL could probably kill off a new Raiders stadium once for all and by declaring, “We just spent $200 million on a stadium you can use in your market. We will NOT be contributing to a new Oakland stadium. You’re on your own with that.”

  5. PJK, You want the Raiders, Forty Niners, Sharks, Earthquakes and A’s all in the South Bay? What will people in the North Bay, and East Bay do for sports?

    The Raiders will never go to Santa Clara. It’s a horrible fit and the already frustrated neighbors would have a cow with even more days of congestion, gridlock and drunk fans urinating on their landscaping.

    The Raiders and A’s will be both in Oakland. Five year from now both teams will still be in Oakland in separate venues. They both may not be at the Coliseum, but they will be in Oakland.

    Also, if the Coliseum land is more valuable without any sporting venues, then the same can be said about the site in San Jose. What’s the market rate for the San Jose land Marine Layer? I mean Wolff does have a 7 year option on the land.

    • “PJK, You want the Raiders, Forty Niners, Sharks, Earthquakes and A’s all in the South Bay? What will people in the North Bay, and East Bay do for sports?”

      They’ll go to the Giants and Warriors games that are in their back yard, just as they do now. Or they’ll make the trip south to see games just as South Bay fans have made the trip north all these years. Duh.

  6. Those 2.86 acres for $6,750,000 would be the perfect place for a multi story garage to service the parking needs for two stadiums on the 120 acres at the Coliseum Complex. Either Mark Davis or Lew Wolff should be jumping on that parcel just across 66th Avenue and right next to the freeway entrance.

  7. Did you people not see where I wrote that I didn’t want to speculate on what the teams are doing? If you want to write your own jerkoff developer fanatic, do it somewhere else. These comments will be deleted.

  8. @pjk
    Davis also said he may need two, one year lease extension’s (2015-2016) to hammer out a deal in Oakland. Not saying it’s going to happen, but if you’re going to through stuff out there, get it all.

  9. Marine Layer, Everything is speculation. We wouldn’t have any dialogue if there were no speculation. Join in and lighten up. Don’t take yourself so seriously. It’s all about ideas and discussing ideas. What are we suppose to discuss on this topic? Are we to speculate on the value of the land?

    • Yes, you should at least attempt to stay on topic instead of hijacking the thread for your own purposes. Want to write jerkoff developer fanfic? Start your own site.

      • Trying to squelch ideas is never a good thing. The Raiders do have other options in Oakland wether you want to disclose them or not. It might be more interesting to discuss some of those other options in order to free the Coliseum for the A’s. Don’t you think?

      • @Nav – Never a good thing? Have you ever tried to run a message board or a popular website with comments? Have you tried to guide the discussion with the content you create?

        If not, then you really don’t get it. I moderate the comments. I use the posts to help guide the discussion. That is not censorship, the flag you so frequently like to fly. Because you don’t really know what censorship really is. If you want to use the comments as your personal sounding board, you can attempt to do that. That’s not my purpose for the comments section. I want people to contribute real information so that people can get informed. You have repeatedly chosen to insert your own conspiracy theories, ill-researched fantasy plans, and other rants in a frequently off-topic manner. That may be fine on SFGate or other places where some poor guy has to read hundreds of threads a day and just looks for keywords to delete. I make on average one post every other day. That means the comments actually carry more weight than on big sites, and I’m cognizant of that. So it matters what the comments are, because in the end they reflect on me and my work. Can you respect that? If you can’t, then that’s your fault, your behavior that has caused this. This is not an open forum. Either respect that or leave. There’s always Facebook and Twitter for your rants.

  10. It only took 20 years, for the city and county to get on the same page. (Start) I seriously wonder if part of their motive , perhaps Wolff as well (lesser extent Davis) is to allow the taxpayers to pay off as much of the debt on the stadium/arena as possible, thereby leaving less of it for the city, county, team owner (or owners), and developers to deal with in negotiations .
    I realize the city and county are already dealing with it, but that’s an ongoing expense, and although a lot of people are upset about, it continues to get paid, and the longer real negations take to happen the lower those balances get.
    There is also the matter of the Golden State (San Francisco) Warriors and the remaining balance on the bonds for the arena, when they do leave for the other side of the Bay Bridge. Oakland usually isn’t in a good position legally with their host teams, but there is a good chance the Warriors will be on the hook for some or all of the remaining debt for the arena.

  11. Just as long as you hold everyone else to those same standards.

    And information should never be censored. Ideas can never be censored. You have people using profanity and attempting to intimidate others on this site on a regular basis. You allow that, but any ideas that may not fit with the preconceived narrative of “only one team stays in Oakland” are censored while the author is threatened with banishment.

    It’s your blog and you can run it anyway you see fit, but censorship will never work becuase ideas will always triumph over censorship.

    The truth is that I’m the only one here who speaks up for Oakland. Or at least the only one left.

    • Nav – Your persecution complex is tired. Lakeshore/Neil comments very passionately about Oakland, as do others. Your voice is the loudest, that’s why you don’t see them. The fact that you still don’t get what moderation means is very disappointing, yet totally predictable given your M.O. Always the victim. It’s sad.

    • There are numerous people on this site that want the A’s and/or Raiders to build in Oakland. Lakeshore/Neil immediately springs to mind.

  12. No speculation here on what the teams are doing, just my take on the SF Biz Times piece:

    It appears to me that this is not really a competition between the Raiders and A’s, but (for now) more of a way to contribute their ideas to Kephart’s plan. Kephart also stated that “Schaaf’s idea” to have the teams compete/contribute has always been part of the ENA; thus he welcomes “her idea” with open arms.

    The real sticking point appears to be the land itself. Reading between the lines, Oak/JPA appear hesitant to want to give up complete control of the 200 acres. Completely donating the land free of charge to anyone appears to be a no go IMHO. Perhaps that is what drove the past two development teams away (?). At the least, this development won’t be easy to put together like many here are suggesting.

    2019? Bodes well for A’s in that it gives San Jose (and Wolff) time to iron out any issues within our city government and within MLB. As I’ve stated before; a marathon, not a sprint. Cisco Field in San Jose WILL happen. Patience is a virtue my friend…

    • Tony – You’re nearly as bad as Nav at looking at things through a San Jose lens. You were in good shape until you just had to stick that SJ comment in there.

      No one should assume that the Raiders and A’s are there to “contribute” to Kephart’s plan. Kephart and New City can be removed at any time. The City/County will still have to deal with the teams. New City is supposed to facilitate the teams’ solutions, not the other way around.

  13. Confucius say…Give the owner the mine…taxpayer get the Schaaf.

  14. LA Raiders. {{-_-}}

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