M&R: A’s to talk buying Coliseum this week

UPDATE: The A’s are offering $135 million for the whole shebang.


Matier and Ross are reporting this week that A’s brass are going to enter discussions about buying the Coliseum complex.

The 130-acre complex, which now includes peripheral lots to the south thanks to a swath of acquisitions, has the Coliseum and Arena currently residing there, both with sizable but dwindling debt (the city and county will pay both off over the next several years).

The new talks about the Coliseum come as the team discussed the Howard Terminal site with waterfront neighbor Schnitzer Steel. Schnitzer runs its recycling operation 24/7, and would likely create massive noise during night game. The logistics problem in terms of getting people to HT/Jack London Square from existing BART stations remains, and will probably remain a low priority when compared to larger regional transit problems.

The A’s are positioning this as a sort of defensive move to keep the Coliseum land away from encroaching developers, including the kinds that previously pitched a Raiders’ stadium. Now that’s gone by the wayside, some of those same devs could look at the Coliseum as a sort of land grab.

We don’t know yet what the A’s are offering, but it’s likely to be at best a slight premium above the remaining debt on the Coliseum/Arena. Oakland and Alameda County might have entertained such a deal 10 years ago, but it shouldn’t now. I worry that the A’s will run into a similar situation as San Jose, where they lowballed a land offer of the Diridon South land, only the be blown away when Google decided to buy the whole neighborhood including the ballpark site years later.

If anything, the A’s should focus on acquiring only the Coliseum South/Malibu site, which only comprises 20 of the 130 acres. Let the City/County figure out the rest.

29 thoughts on “M&R: A’s to talk buying Coliseum this week

  1. Great to have you back, ML! Maybe it doesn’t pencil out for the A’s if they can only control the 20 acres.

  2. If I was in charge of Alameda County or City of Oakland; I would sell it to the Athletics as soon as I could!! I know it cost both millions of dollars a year just in loan payments! It would solve numerous issues with the Athletics!

    BTW; welcome back Marine Layer!!

  3. Let’s see what kind of demands are made on the A’s as this plays out. Will Oakland again give MLB the very loud message that the A’s are not exactly beloved in town?

  4. Really great to see you back, ML!

  5. Can’t wait to see what the NIMBYs come up with for this one.

  6. @ML

    Why would the A’s only won’t the Coliseum South/Malibu site? (20 of the 130 acres)

    I thought the whole idea was to control as much of the site as they could, so they could manage control all ancillary development, as a way to recoup and build on their initial investment, as much as possible?

    As you know, even when the A’s wanted the Laney/Paralta site their request included negotiations for the coliseum site for future development, as a way for the city and county to help them, since that site had almost no land around it for development they could control.

    Am I incorrect? I believe even in the A’s video about building at the Laney/Paralta site, they had Bob Jackson (prominent minister in East Oakland), talking about the benefits of housing and development at the coliseum site, if the A’s were to build at Laney/Parelta?

    I was under the impression that wherever the A’s built in Oakland, that controlling the land at the coliseum site was part of the plan. Great to see you back, keep up the good work. (Both on the site and in your private life)

    • ML

      In conjunction with my above question regarding your assessment that the A’s only focus on

      “the Coliseum South/Malibu site, let the City/County figure out the rest”

      I do recall so many times people saying that the A’s needed all of the property to see if it pencils out?(Or not)

      I was wondering if it was your thought, that the A’s massive increase in team vale since the present ownership took over, is the reason why you believe they can only focus on those few acers and no more?

  7. Hey ML,

    Great to see you back. Hope your recovery is going well.

    I suspect a bidding war may break out between the A’s and other investment groups. Certainly sounds like Howard Terminal is really not a very good option at this point.

    Wonder if Peralta might reconsider it’s decision. Thought I heard they are not in the best of financial conditions, and the cost to clean up the site may be the very thing to bring them back to the table. The board may not like it, but how else do they propose funding any clean up?

  8. “This is a critical moment for the A’s and our community…”

    As we hear trucks starting up for the drive to Vegas with the Raiders.

    I’d bet almost anything that Oakland and Alameda find a way to mess this up.

  9. Hey ML: I, too, am glad you are back and hope the recovery is going well. We’ve missed you.

    I rarely disagree with you when it comes to the A’s but in this case I must. The A’s need to control the entire site either directly or indirectly. The ancillary development will be very important to the success of a new ballpark at Coliseum City. The A’s should not leave those decisions up to the City and County to make.

    For 4 years I have been saying the same thing about Coliseum City. The County should sale their interest to the City. The City should buy the County’s interest so there is one governmental entity with which to deal. The City is responsible for the economic development and for planning and permitting. Larry Reid is the person who has worked the hardest and knows the most about what should be done on this site. The City is the logical choice to be that responsible party.

    The City needs to work with the A’s to obtain a deal to build the new ballpark at Coliseum City. It is master planned with an EIR with minimum construction issues. This area needs a major mixed use economic development to benefit the area and the region.

    It Is really time everyone stops kicking the can down the road; save the A’s; develop Coliseum City in a way to economically benefit the people of District 7; and end the governmental gridlock that was the cause of losing the Raiders and stop the loss of more years of economic benefits being lost to District 7 and the region.

    • Thank you for chiming in Floyd; I appreciate your candor. It leaves the question open of how expansive such a plan would be, and whether Oakland would be able to stomach it. That’s why I would rather Oakland aim a bit lower and more feasible.

      • It’s great to have you back ML, I still check this site a couple times a week and always will. I wish you and your family the best in your recovery.

  10. I am very happy that you are well enough to post articles again, ML. I was worried about you and missed this blog.

    I agree with those who think the A’s should acquire the entire site. Of course the City needs to be closely involved, and coming up with a development plan and finding uses and businesses that will complement the ballpark while creating a vital and functional neighborhood, will not be easy. Fortunately, there is a plan and an EIR to start the ball rolling. Determine the ballpark location and build it first, along with some adjacent restaurants, bars, cafes, and sports shops. Then carefully plan and build out the rest of the site so that it works economically and is inviting to the public.

    Libby Schaaf and the city/county need to show some leadership here. While in theory I would prefer Howard Terminal, I see there are major obstacles with it, which is why the A’s need the assurance that the Coliseum site is available, since it is clearly the most practical option.

  11. Thinking optimistically, my guess is that Oakland/Alameda County will enter negotiations with the A’s with $135 million as the starting point. It’s a kickstart for the city to develop an area with a worthy investor. Will they take the $135 million deal? Nope. But they will eventually settle on a mutually beneficial price.

    And welcome back ML. Glad to see that you’re well enough to resume the blog.

  12. Welcome back ML! Great to see your postings on this site again.

    So is this the last salvo for the A’s in Oakland?

    If the A’s can’t purchase and have access to the entire property for future team revenue development, will the current ownership sell the team to investors in Las Vegas or Portland? Isn’t this what Lew Wolff wanted to do with this property anyway?….acquire it and develop it? (after San Jose failed).

    As a previous post indicated……this is a crucial time for the Oakland A’s. Since the college and the waterfront sites are turning into “non-sites,” this could very well be the last ditch attempt at getting the A’s a stadium in Oakland.

    I fear the City and County are going to screw this up and Oakland, California will become, if I’m not mistaken, the only city in modern US history to lose all of its major sports franchises. (what a joke).

    • Take it easy, Alex. This is *not* a “crucial” time for the A’s, because if the A’s fail on this plan, they just have to go back to the drawing board as they did after Peralta/Laney. The Forbes valuations will be out soon and the A’s could be worth upwards of $1 billion. For better or worse, the A’s are stuck in Oakland, and Oakland only has the A’s in due time. The A’s have no choice but to take a DIY attitude towards building a ballpark, even if it takes longer. The expense and political effort required to move the team (or two) is too great for even MLB to bear.

      • I wouldn’t say the A’s are “stuck” with Oakland. Nashville/Charlotte/San Antonio all have city/county governments that have been trying to find a MLB team for numerous years. What does worry me is if the JPA/County/City mess this deal up, they will have 120 acres of vacant property with $135M in debt still owed on it.

  13. ML, it’s great to see that you are getting better to the point so as to now be able to continue the blog. With both the Raiders and Warriors well on their way out of Oakland, the A’s should now have the leverage to work out a mutually agreeable deal for the Coliseum property. Hopefully, the A’s will be able to incorporate a sufficient amount of ancillary development, in addition to a new ballpark. I would think that the A’s will be able to take advantage of the accessibility of the Coliseum site to help them market the team throughout the entire Bay Area, and that includes Santa Clara County.

  14. Good to see you back at it man

  15. Been a few years since I checked in here, hello everybody. Glad to see the discussion is still going. The never-ending saga. lol

  16. I’ll join the chorus of those thrilled to see your posts again. We missed you and hope the recovery is going ok. I hope this deal gets done, but given everything over the last 20 years, I won’t hold my breath. Are the Giants going to try and get a NIMBY group going? Will activists force them to build only affordable housing there? Get the ENA signed please!

  17. Welcome back! I don’t know what happened, ML, but it sounds awful. Hope the recovery is going well. My Facebook memories suggest the Raiders announced their departure on 3/27/17. Coincidence to announce efforts to buy the Coliseum property on or about the anniversary date? I’ve always felt it makes so much sense to keep this team at the Coli site. The accessibility is terrific. There’s plenty of room to develop the rest of the site while utilizing the existing infrastructure.

    The A’s have smartly rebranded themselves as Oakland’s team. They’re going to fill the vacuum while the Raiders and Warriors both leave. Whether by design or by luck, there’s a path for the A’s to get a site, a ballpark and a market that works long term. I think it starts with the Coliseum property itself.

  18. Welcome home, dawg.

  19. It’s encouraging that the A’s are making an offer for the Coliseum, but its not the only available site in Oakland. City officials should develop that site for the greatest benefit of the citizens of Oakland. Is it a tech park with property taxes and well-paying jobs; i.e. added disposable income, or a ballpark with restaurants and bars and low-paying jobs. I would rather see a long-term masterplanned development at the Coliseum site with jobs, market-rate housing and some commercial; which adds much more to the city coffers. Other available sites??? Don’t forget Victory Court. It has a city skyline backdrop, transit accessibility (BART, 880, Amtrak), water, and is adjacent to a thriving district with luxury housing and retail at Jack London Square. More market rate housing and retail is being developed at Brooklyn Basin. Its in the heart of the city and will be a jewel among MLB ballparks.

    • But, for whatever reason they nor the city are considering that site. The A’s need to secure a possible site, there are other possibility’s but the A’s are here now.

      • They aren’t considering that site because there are too many property owners and the expense to assemble the land is astronomically high as a result.

        It would cost the A’s more to buy those sites (that’s what it is, multiple parcels owned by multiple entities) than the Coliseum AND funding construction of the stadium requires ancillary, or not so ancillary but in Oakland, development.

        The Coliseum offer is about securing 130ish acres which, after investment form the City for new infrastructure, can then be turned into a very large development. That development doesn’t have to include a ballpark… it just has to create enough $$$$ to fund the construction of a ballpark and include ongoing revenue streams for the team.

        No stadium is going up in Oakland without this sort of mechanism.

      • Exactly, very well put Jeffrey.

        The ballpark may be built at the coliseum site, or it may not (probably will), regardless of where its built the A’s need the coliseum site for future development, and continuing revenue streams weather they build on it or not.

        The A’s had the coliseum site as a component of their interest in the Laney/Paralta site, which of course means they would have developed the East Oakland site, even if they built their park down by the lake.

  20. ML, welcome back! Best wishes that all is/will be well for you.

  21. It’s hard to do a land swap for all of the Laney/Peralta W/O any land to swap. I still believe Laney is the ultimate destination.

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