Investment Group Aims to Move Oakland Coliseum Project Forward

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By Robert Carlsen

Promoting the merits and need for both public and private investment participation in the creation of the ambitious Coliseum City redevelopment project in Oakland, participants in the project negotiations sat down at the invitation of Oakland’s Airport Area Business Association last week at Jack London Square to discuss the details they will need to finalize to meet approaching deadlines.

The ambitious redevelopment plan for 800 acres surrounding Oakland’s three professional sports teams’ facilities will be “a model of urban development” and “a generational investment,” said panelist Floyd Kephart, board chairman of the San Diego-based Renaissance Cos. investment advisory firm and lead negotiator for the project’s investor group New City Development LLC. It will change the face of an entire city, and the challenge is finding the right way to finance it without gouging the taxpayers, Kephart said at the event, entitled “Coliseum City: A Vision Whose Time Has Come.”

[contextly_sidebar id=”nUEByDdWn70A9EMZL71lJhIDdX8qSrf6″]A new Exclusive Negotiating Agreement was signed by the city, Alameda County and New City Development in March and is set for six months. It will allow the development group to conduct further market analysis and propose a series of equity public/private finance deal structures, as well as continue ongoing negotiations over possible development of the Coliseum complex and the city property with a new Oakland Raiders stadium and new Oakland Athletics ballpark, along with related parking facilities. The agreement requires certain deliverables and project tasks from the developer during the six-month period.

New City Development said it would supply a preliminary financing plan for the stadium and ballpark, the status of negotiations between New City and the sports teams, site plan details, infrastructure cost estimates and other details by June 21, with an update scheduled for Aug. 21.

Although the Coliseum Area Specific Plan, which was approved along with the project’s environmental impact report by the Oakland Planning Commission and City Council last month, may change depending whether an Oakland professional sports team moves away, the plan essentially is adaptable if only two or one—or no team—remains.

The basic plan includes up to three new sports venues for the Raiders, A’s and Golden State Warriors (which has indicated its intent to move to San Francisco’s Mission Bay neighborhood); just over 14 million square feet of science and technology, office, light industrial, logistics and retail space; and more than 5,000 residential units, 15 percent of which will be designated affordable. Total build-out is expected to take 20 to 25 years to complete.

The specific plan build-out also includes 39 acres of new, publicly accessible open space, creek and wetlands improvements and restored open space on the bay waterfront.

The specific plan’s boundaries are 66th Avenue to the north, San Leandro Street on the east, Hegenberger Road to the south and San Leandro Bay and the Oakland International Airport to the west.

The panelists agreed that the transportation element—the nearby airport, BART’s Coliseum station and the BART airport connector—are keys to selling the project. Pat Cashman, a contract management consultant for the City of Oakland, indicated that the site should be considered a “transit hub,” especially in light of its connection with the Capitol Corridor Amtrak intercity passenger train system and future possibilities in relation to the state’s high-speed rail plan.

Responding to an audience member question regarding his take on the City Council of Carson’s vote on April 21 approving the construction of a $1-billion-plus stadium in the Los Angeles area to house the Raiders and San Diego Chargers, Kephart said the vote was a “ploy” to force Oakland and San Diego to make decisions on their stadium rebuild projects and that a Carson stadium “is not gonna happen.” (At an Associated Press sports editors news conference April 24, however, National Football League Commissioner Roger Goodell said the two stadium projects in the Los Angeles area, including Carson and the St. Louis Rams’ foray in Inglewood, “look promising” enough to lead to the return of the NFL to the nation’s second-largest city, which lost the Rams in 1994. According to NFL rules, teams’ plans applying to move to another city must be completed by early January.)

The Raiders signed a one-year lease in January of this year, the Golden State Warriors are in a year-to-year arrangement while its San Francisco arena plans move ahead, and the A’s signed a 10-year lease in 2014.
The Raiders and A’s are the only NFL and MLB teams that share a stadium.

Also on the event’s panel was Ed McFarlan, principal at JRDV Urban International, which produced the master plan for Coliseum City.

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