Two groups of black developers are competing to redevelop the Oakland Coliseum. Here are their projects

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Two groups of black developers are competing to buy Oakland’s stake in the Coliseum site and have come up with ambitious plans that include housing, offices and hotels as well as spaces to celebrate sports, music, the arts and Culture.

The city has six months to negotiate with the two groups before recommending one to city council for exclusive negotiations for the 155-acre Coliseum site. The selected group will have to work with the A’s, who own half of the site.

In July, Oakland City Council asked staff to continue two-track negotiations with two groups – the African American Sports and Entertainment Group and a second group led by former A pitcher Dave Stewart and Lonnie Murray, the first and only black woman to be certified. as a players agent by MLB.

City leaders have said East Oakland, where the Coliseum is located, has long suffered from divestment and future projects must boost economic opportunities for residents. The Coliseum is one of Oakland’s largest development sites and a unique opportunity to create much-needed tax revenue and jobs. But developing it is a challenge, with experts wondering how to cover the exorbitant costs needed to build infrastructure on the site.

The vote ordered city staff to prioritize negotiations with the African American Sports and Entertainment Group, in part because of the group’s strong community engagement.

Negotiations are key to determining the future of the property, which houses the Oakland A’s until at least 2024, when their lease expires. The team ultimately hopes to move to the Howard Terminal waterfront site, where they are negotiating with the city to build a stadium and accompanying development.

The As bought half of the Colosseum site in Alameda County in 2019 and previously said they wanted to build housing, offices, businesses and parks there.

Larry Gallegos, the program manager for the city’s Department of Economic Development and Workforce, said that when the city sells its half of the site, it will take into account not only the price but also the specifics of the site. proposal, community involvement and financial partners. In addition, A’s must agree to future plans.

An A spokesperson declined to comment on the negotiations.

Board member Treva Reid, whose district includes the Coliseum, said she wanted to see community engagement from both groups and that plans should reflect community feedback.

“It’s the voice of the community that should really help us drive and shape what we create,” said Reid.

Reid said any future development should include deeply affordable housing, new businesses, hotels and more.

Council member Loren Taylor, who represents part of East Oakland, noted that the site’s proximity to BART, Amtrak, the I-880 freeway and Oakland International Airport may help draw future crowds.

“When we have real estate located along a great transportation corridor, we have to build and create these things that get people off the freeway to spend their money and time in East Oakland,” Taylor said. .

He said the site is large enough for a “big picture” that prioritizes job creation, arts and culture, restaurants, housing and shopping centers.

The last time Oakland tried to transform the Colosseum, the plans never materialized. That was before the Raiders eventual departure for Las Vegas in 2019. But now that the Raiders are gone and the A’s are saying it’s Howard Terminal or going bankrupt, Gallegos has said the city has the opportunity. to shape the development of the Colosseum over the coming decades.

Jeff Bellisario, executive director of the Bay Area Council Economic Institute, said any future development must focus on housing at all income levels and must create jobs for people with different levels of education.

“The area lacks easily convertible space,” Bellisario said. “Given its geography, here we have a flat place and next to public transport, not necessarily easy to develop, but which can offer an opportunity for housing and employment.

The challenge will be the cost of building a massive development at the site, Bellisario said.

But he said the cost of installing infrastructure – such as utilities, water, sewers, roads, etc. – “would be extraordinarily high to get it started”.

But the two groups competing for the Colosseum do not seem discouraged by the enormous challenges. Both groups say they expect their developments to cost at least $ 5 billion. Here is what they offer:

African American Sports and Entertainment Group: The group, led by East Oakland native Ray Bobbitt, is offering to buy the town’s share for $ 92.5 million. Bobbitt said the group is open to leasing the property. The group also includes former Oakland City manager Robert Bobb, Oakland developer Alan Dones, former Oakland African American Chamber of Commerce chairman Shonda Scott, former NBA player and sports agent Bill Duffy; and Loop Capital, an African-American-owned investment firm.

Bobbitt said the group had met with 43 community groups to develop a proposal that would reflect the needs of residents.

“We’ve been very strong in community engagement and outreach,” said Bobbitt.

The group wants to redevelop the Colosseum into a space for a WNBA team, but also continue to host Disney on Ice and concerts. The proposal also includes a new convention center with an outdoor amphitheater for youth sports and educational programs.

Bobbitt said he was in talks with two historically black colleges interested in building a satellite school on the site and opening trade schools for nearby residents. They also want to generate jobs in technology, agriculture and artificial intelligence.

The group also plans to include housing – 35% of which will be affordable – although the exact number of units has yet to be determined.

Bobbitt wants to create a hotel and “restaurant row” that house businesses owned by Oakland Black. A black business district with different African-American businesses under one roof and a black-owned bank would be part of the mix.

Additionally, Bobbitt and his team want to build a museum focused on African American arts, culture and sports, and one to honor Native American and Latin culture.

Dave Stewart and Lonnie Murray: The duo are offering the city $ 115 million to buy the Coliseum site into a thriving center focused on youth and amateur sports, Oakland culture. and job creation.

Stewart highlighted his legacy on A’s and the work he has done to give back to the community in times of crisis, including organizing relief efforts after the Loma Prieta earthquake in 1989. He and Murray said that their experience in Oakland informed their proposition.

“I have my mark in the community,” said Stewart.

Murray said their group would remove the walls around the Coliseum and turn it into a youth development and recreation facility retaining the current name Rickey Henderson Field, after the former A left fielder.

She said they would have baseball, football and soccer in high school, as well as tennis and basketball.

They plan to use Oakland Arena for concerts and production studios, Murray said.

The two also want to build housing and hotels – although details on the number of units and rooms have not yet been released – and grocery stores.

An Oakland Hall of Fame that celebrates the city’s sporting, cultural and social justice legacy would also be a feature, as would Liberty Square, showcasing Oakland’s different cultures through festivals, farmers’ markets and ephemeral shops.

Murray said they would use two black-owned banks to serve residents of East Oakland.

Stewart and Murray said they also hope to build a “data center” that could potentially generate thousands of tech jobs and offices for start-ups, nonprofits, and skills training programs.

Gallegos said the city meets with the two groups every two weeks.

“We just have to go through every piece and make sure the city is comfortable with what they are offering… and hopefully… pick the best group,” he added.

Sarah Ravani is a writer for the San Francisco Chronicle. Email: sravani@sfchronicle.com Twitter: @SarRavani



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