EAST BAY CITIZEN. EVERYWHERE SINCE 2009

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Oakland City Council moves the ball forward; approves Coliseum City EIR

Oakland Councilmember Rebecca Kaplan last
week with caps representing the two of the city's
sports franchises PHOTO/Kaplan
OAKLAND CITY COUNCIL | The land at the current Coliseum complex just became fertile ground for possible news homes somewhere down the line, not just for the Oakland Raiders and Athletics, but also thousands of Bay Area residents.

The Oakland City Council unanimously approved the Coliseum Area Specific Plan and Environmental Impact Report, which one day may house two new stadiums, more than 5,750 new dwellings and a host of dining and retail options.

To make it happen, though, depends on whether both sports franchises, local officials and developer Floyd Kephart can hammer out a deal for stadiums to anchor the massive project, described as one of the most ambitious developments in the country.

However, in the nearly four years since the Coliseum City plan was conceived, no other period has shown more legislative movement than the last few months.

In February, Oakland city leaders and the Alameda County supervisors approved a one-year lease extension with the Raiders. Although, the specter of the Raiders teaming up with the San Diego Chargers for a jointly-financed stadium in Carson, Calif. surrounded the extension talks, officials say it lit a fire under a local government.

In addition, a new six-month extension of the Exclusive Negotiating Agreement with Kephart’s New City Development, LLC added the county to existing talks to build the first phase of the project, a new stadium for the Raiders on the south end of the current Coliseum complex.

The Raiders and Athletics should stay in Oakland, said Councilmember Dan Kalb. “That’s where they belong and that’s where they should stay.” He noted, however, a consensus exists from constituents that significant public dollars may not be used to build the stadiums. A majority of the Alameda County Board of Supervisors, last week, said they concur.

Some housing advocates voiced similar opposition Tuesday night to funding the construction of sports stadiums for wealthy franchise owners. However, they also pushed for the inclusion of affordable housing and job creation at the proposed multi-billion dollar project.

Councilmember Larry Reid reiterated opposition in recent weeks to more additional housing units in his district, which includes the Coliseum. Following a brief disagreement with Kalb over two parcels of land on San Leandro Street, near the existing foot bridge connecting the Coliseum to BART, Reid offered to take his colleague on a tour of his district. Last week, Reid asserted the lion’s share of affordable housing in Oakland exists in his East Oakland district and urged it be spread around to other council member’s districts.

The next round of Coliseum City news could be expected in the next few months. As part of the new ENA, Kephart and his development group, are contractually bound to a list of deliverables, including detailed financing for the project, due near the end of June.

And while the Athletics, who hold a 10-year lease to play at O.co Coliseum, have been relatively quiet recently on the stadium front, numerous East Bay officials consistently rebut the notion that the Golden State Warriors sojourn to San Francisco is a done deal.

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