Plans to bring $5 billion megaproject with housing, restaurants and a convention center to Oakland Coliseum move forward

Plans to bring  billion megaproject with housing, restaurants and a convention center to Oakland Coliseum move forward

Plans to bring housing, a new convention center and possibly a WNBA team to the Oakland Coliseum moved forward last week after a developer signed an agreement to negotiate exclusively with the city to build on the site. large scope.

The African American Sports and Entertainment Group also hopes to build a hotel, restaurants and an outdoor amphitheater for youth sports and educational programs at the site. According to their vision, the renovated Colosseum could host a WNBA team, music concerts and Disney on Ice events. Earlier estimates by AASEG put the cost of the development at more than $5 billion.

The city, which owns half of the Colosseum site, has agreed to enter negotiations with AASEG in November 2021. Signing the exclusive negotiation agreement requires the developer to pay the city a fee of $200,000 per year and $2.5 million in one-time funds. to cover staff time. Half of the site is owned by the A’s, who have their own plans for the land they own.

AASEG is a black-owned development team led by an East Oakland native, former city manager and developer.

“Awarding the agreement to develop this vital site to an Oakland-based, African American-led business entity will go a long way to addressing the glaring racial disparities within the City of Oakland’s contracting practices,” said Ray Bobbitt, an East Oakland native who leads AASEG. “This project will promote economic parity, entrepreneurial opportunities and local small businesses.”

City leaders said East Oakland, where the Coliseum is located, has long suffered from divestment and that future projects should boost economic opportunity for residents. The Coliseum, one of Oakland’s largest development sites, could create desperately needed tax revenue. But experts say developing the site could be difficult due to sky-high construction costs and massive infrastructure needs. Any project there would take years to get approved and years to fund and build.

Mayor Sheng Thao, council members Rebecca Kaplan, Treva Reid, Kevin Jenkins and Noel Gallo are expected to attend a press conference on Thursday to formally announce the deal.

Council member Rebecca Kaplan said in a statement that she is thrilled AASEG is moving forward and the city has the opportunity “to provide jobs, housing at all income levels, sports, entertainment and more to this vital Oakland site in a way that builds equity and vibrancy for the community in this transit-accessible location.

Bobbitt said his team wants to build housing – 35% of which will be affordable – but said the group is still determining the total number of units. They want to create a hotel and “restaurant row” that features black-owned businesses in Oakland. He also wants to open a black business district, a black-owned bank, and a museum focused on African-American arts, culture, and sports, and another to honor Native American and Latino culture.

The group, which is offering the city $115 million to buy the site, also includes former Oakland City Manager Robert Bobb, Oakland developer Alan Dones, the former president of the Afro Chamber of Commerce -American from Oakland Shonda Scott, former NBA player and sports agent Bill Duffy. , and Loop Capital, an African-American-owned investment firm.

It is unclear whether the group will ultimately buy or lease the site – that will be determined during negotiations.

Any plans to redevelop the site require approval from the A’s, who are co-owners and have a lease there until 2024 to play their games. In 2019, the A’s purchased half of the Colosseum site from Alameda County and said at the time that they wanted to build housing, offices, retail and parks there.

In 2021, the state opened an investigation into the county’s sale of the Colosseum to the A’s and demanded proof that the county was following state law called the Surplus Land Act. Nur Kausar, spokesperson for the state’s Department of Housing and Community Development, told The Chronicle that the county had provided “substantial information” and that the state had decided not to pursue action against the county.

The A’s are currently negotiating with the city to build a new ballpark and surrounding development at the Howard Terminal.

Sarah Ravani is a staff writer for the San Francisco Chronicle. Email: [email protected] Twitter: @SarRavani

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