Oakland Coliseum site could be transformed into city’s second downtown

Officials say the property is primed for a significant makeover

Oakland Coliseum Could Be Made Into Second Downtown Area
Oakland Vice Mayor Rebecca Kaplan and the Oakland Coliseum (Getty)

Unlike its current tenants — the A’s — the Oakland Coliseum site could be a real winner, officials say.

Oakland and Alameda County officials say the Coliseum could undergo a huge makeover and become a second downtown area in the city, the San Francisco Chronicle reported.

The proposal comes after the A’s, who currently own Major League Baseball’s worst record at a dismal 46-102, rejected an offer from local investors for their share of the property, signaling a shift in the site’s potential development as well as further attempts at a comeback for the city.

During a meeting of the Oakland-Alameda Coliseum Authority, Oakland Vice Mayor Rebecca Kaplan and Alameda County Supervisor Nate Miley highlighted the site’s strategic location, emphasizing its accessibility by both transit and roadways.

Negotiations are underway between the city, financier Jim Reynolds and the African American Sports and Entertainment Group, which has proposed a $5 billion megaproject — including housing, restaurants and a new convention center — for the 155-acre site. 

The Coliseum was co-owned by the city and Alameda County until 2019 when the county sold its share to the A’s.

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The A’s, who are primarily focused on building a new stadium in Las Vegas, recently declined AASEG’s offer to buy their share of the Coliseum site. 

However, as part of an exclusive negotiating agreement with the city, both the A’s and AASEG are required to enter into a cooperation agreement for any development to proceed. The city’s options for compelling the A’s to work with AASEG remain unclear.

At the meeting, Kaplan and Miley also discussed potential “public uses” for the site, including the creation of a “City Hall East” where residents could access essential city services. Miley further emphasized the potential of the area to become a significant downtown hub for Oakland. He suggested that any redevelopment could also serve as a form of reparations for Black residents and descendants of slaves.

To facilitate development at the Coliseum, Miley proposed the establishment of an enhanced infrastructure financing district, which could be a crucial element in financing the project. Kaplan instructed staff to prepare an informational report on the feasibility of such a tax structure for consideration at a future meeting. 

Both the city and county governments would need to separately vote to establish this enhanced infrastructure financing district, a mechanism previously considered for the A’s proposed Howard Terminal development, though with some county reservations.

The project would be a massive boost to the city, which has a downtown vacancy rate hovering near 30 percent, according to CBRE data.

— Ted Glanzer

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