Oakland will sell its half of Coliseum to Black-led group looking to redevelop complex

ByRyan Curry and Gloria Rodríguez KGO logo
Thursday, May 23, 2024
Oakland will sell its half of Coliseum to group looking to redevelop
The City of Oakland will sell its half of the Coliseum complex to the African American Sports and Entertainment Group with a new vision for the site.

OAKLAND, Calif. (KGO) -- The City of Oakland announced Wednesday it will sell its half of the Coliseum complex to the African American Sports and Entertainment Group with a new vision for the site.

It's an influential group that has plans for a massive entertainment, retail and residential development that could revitalize the Coliseum area and the city. Oakland has been in an exclusive relationship with AASEG since last year.

"This is a moment where East Oakland is going to change," said Ray Bobbitt, the founder of AASEG. "This is a moment where East Oakland is going to flourish."

The A's own the other half of the Coliseum and it's believed they are also in negotiations to sell their half. They just completed their final payment for the County's half of the Coliseum site last week.

ABC7 News has been told the sale price is at least $105 million. A City Hall source tells ABC7 News this is an incredible development opportunity for East Oakland.

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While the proceeds will help cover Oakland's budget deficit, the Mayor Sheng Thao's office says that's not the reason for the sale of the Coliseum and that it's been years in the making.

"It is good timing, but I would also say not good timing in terms of this should have happened decades ago," Mayor Thao said. "We are talking about a parcel of space that has the highest amount people who are on public assistance."

AASEG's plan could bring a $5 billion megaproject to the 200-acre site with sports, entertainment, a hotel, and new housing. Bobbitt says the first plan is to focus on housing.

"The Coliseum site really represents an incredible opportunity to revitalize this community without displacing and without gentrification," he said.

The 50% sale includes the arena that was formerly home to the Golden State Warriors, along with the parking lots on the site.

MORE: Here's how empty the Coliseum is for A's last season in Oakland

2024 will be the Athletics' final season playing in Oakland before temporarily heading to Sacramento and then to Las Vegas. This leaves the Coliseum without a major tenant come October.

Andy Dolich co-wrote the book "Goodbye Oakland," which talks about teams leaving the city. For those die-hard A's fans, he says don't lose hope, since they're still playing at the Coliseum.

"You've got to keep the faith in your sports team, and what's being lost in this is sports fans are not just about the money, that they pay for tickets and hats and everything else. It's about the heart, mind, and soul that sports fans of all generations have put into these teams in Oakland, and that's being ripped away from their grasp. To me, as a fan-centric business marketer over the years, that's what I think the greatest loss is," Dolich said.

Dolich says things can still change, and others agree with him. Chris Dobbins, who used to serve on the Coliseum Authority Board, now runs Save Oakland Sports. He hopes AASEG looks to bring a major sports franchise to Oakland. The Oakland Roots and Soul soccer teams, as well as the Oakland Ballers baseball team, have looked into playing at the coliseum, but those teams are in minor league divisions.

"After having professional football, professional baseball, championships in Oakland to now only having minor league teams? No," he said. "If the NFL looks to expand, or the MLB or Major League Soccer, Oakland should be a perfect place for that."

The City Council needs to pass an ordinance that would allow the City Administrator to move forward with the sale.

And the Mayor's office says Mayor Thao will submit a midcycle budget adjustment on Friday taking this sale into account.

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