Friday, December 9, 2011

Updated: Quan Pushing Plan for Sports Village for A’s, Warriors, and Raiders

By Robert Gammon
Fri, Dec 9, 2011 at 11:53 AM

Oakland Mayor Jean Quan said today that her administration has been talking to Major League Baseball about a potential sports village at the Oakland Coliseum complex that would include a new ballpark for the A’s. The mayor told the Express that the city is also examining the possibility of new facilities for the Warriors and the Raiders amid a larger development at the Coliseum that would include a hotel and retail. “We’re thinking of completely redoing the Coliseum,” she said.

Update 2:30 p.m.: Here's an artist's rendering of the proposed Coliseum sports village:

Coliseum_Village.jpg

The mayor, however, said she has not given up on the idea of a new ballpark for the A’s near the Oakland waterfront at the so-called Victory Court site not far from downtown. “That’s still my favorite site,” she said.

The mayor’s announcement follows news that the owners of the Warriors talked this week with San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee about a possible new basketball arena near AT&T Park. The Chronicle reported that the Warriors also talked to Quan about a new arena in Oakland.

In addition, there has been widespread speculation that Major League Baseball will soon green-light the A’s planned move to San Jose. However, it remains unclear how that would happen, considering the fact that the San Francisco Giants own the territorial rights to the South Bay, which prohibit any other major league club from moving there — unless three-fourths of the league’s owners agree to it.

At the same time, it remains to be seen whether the City of Oakland’s efforts to keep the A’s will be successful, because the team’s ownership desperately wants to leave. Moreover, it’s uncertain how Oakland could pull off a major new development like a sports village, especially if the state Supreme Court sides with Governor Jerry Brown’s plan to kill redevelopment in California. A sports village in Oakland almost certainly would depend on some redevelopment financing to pencil out.

Update 3:30 p.m.: Oakland City Councilwoman Rebecca Kaplan, who has been working on the Coliseum sports village project for a while with council President Larry Reid, says she's jazzed that the city and the mayor are on board with the proposal. "It could really be a transformative project," she said in a phone interview. "I'm really excited."

The city has already received interest from six development teams to develop and manage the project and plans to interview the teams next month, Reid said. Kaplan also is working on scoring $40 million in funds from the Alameda County transportation plan. Because of its proximity to BART, rail, and Intertate 880, the site is what is known as transit-oriented development and is eligible for such funding.

Kaplan also said that the Coliseum sports village, also called Coliseum City, potentially could be built without redevelopment funds because the city and county already own all of the land. Cities typically need to purchase land using redevelopment funds to build sports facilities.

Kaplan also noted that the city has been buying up property around the Coliseum so that there is now plenty of land for an A's ballpark, a new football stadium for the Raiders, and new arena for the Warriors, plus a hotel, convention center, and a shopping district.

Reid, whose council district includes the Coliseum, is equally excited. "It would just be incredible if we were able to do something bigger and better than AT&T Park or LA Live" in Los Angeles, he said.

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